I have to be honest, and say I don’t remember watching many movies with my family as a child – with my mom, sure, but with her AND my two brothers – not really. The one that stands out is a story I’ve told countless times over the years, but I go back to watching JFK on a bus. We were coming back from my brother’s hockey game – some three and half hours away – and everyone was pissed off. After all that travel, my brother’s team played horribly. Parents had taken the afternoon off work (it was a Friday) and taken younger children – like me, who was 10 – out of school to go to the game, and they played awful. The coach came onto the bus and said to put on a long movie and shut-up – and so someone put on JFK.
I sat next to my brother on the bus, and the experience stands out to me because for once my childhood memory of him doesn’t involve him tormenting me in anyway. We both sat there in rapt attention for the entire length of the movie – I don’t remember either one of us saying a word, although we probably did. He has never been much of a movie fan, so this is perhaps the only time I remember bonding with him over a movie (I have never brought it up with him to see if he remembers it at all – and there’s little danger of him reading this).
The experience also taught me a lesson about how different people see movies differently. My mother, who sat across the aisle from us with another hockey mom, was bored by the movie and ended up talking to her friend the entire way home (strangely, I don’t remember hearing her). A few years later, when I bought JFK on VHS my other brother – the hockey player – asked why I would buy such a terrible movie. As I made clear in last week’s answer about culture gifts to your loved ones, me and my family don’t share much in the way of common interests in this area – something that JFK taught me.