Father’s Day UK – 1 AM Sunday – 16th June 2012 – Nunhead Heights
I saw Men in Black 3 at the Peckham Cineplex Saturday afternoon with my eleven-year-old son, Mini-Lew. His brother, the Wild One, was on a play date.
They had to show the New York Mets winning the World Series in 1969.
Imagine Manchester City football team winning the league this year but without Arab money and without doing well the year before. And you’re a City supporter. That is how I felt.
I was twelve. The greatest day of my life. Men always say stuff like that but it was great day. They showed outfielder Cleon Jones catching the last ball of the last game clinching it for us and the view from the Upper Deck at Shea Stadium. Upper Deck. Did they need to show that much detail? That got to me.
And America taking off for the moon that July – they showed that, too.
Sure the movie fudged a bit. I don’t remember any foreign flags at Cape Canaveral that day and I don’t remember any other countries putting their tax dollars into NASA. And it wasn’t known as Cape Canaveral back then. Cape Kennedy. Maybe they were appealing to the foreign markets. But still. The flags got to me.
It had the optimism. The American sunshine. Newsman Walter Cronkite’s voice reporting. That was the high point for America and I was there – well at Camp Wahnee in Torrington, Connecticut, watching it on TV with all the other summer campers – but I was in America. That got to me.
You know the roof in the MiB HQ? See if the film’s production designers didn’t get the idea of mushroom pillars from Frank Lloyd Wright. That got to me.
And that they filmed so much of it New York – Brooklyn Battery Tunnel ventilation building. Damn. That got to me.
And seeing Jermaine Clement playing the evil “Boris the Animal”. He’s the not-as-handsome-guy from tv’s Flight of the Conchords. [He’s still good-looking just not as handsome as the other one, for my money.]
How does a comic-musician from New Zealand land a huge part in Men in Black 3, “A Major Motion Picture?” I never met him but I worked with his fellow Kiwi Rhys Darby somewhere in the UK. One degree of separation. I saw it as pure America, the Land of Opportunity, and all that. That got to me.
And the dead-black-hero-dad business. And I don’t want to give the movie away – as if you’ll see this movie – you probably won’t.
But Will Smith goes back into time to save the world, learns something about his dad, and how his dad dies. I read that knowing how a movie ends can actually make you appreciate the movie more – there is the young Tommy Lee Jones, the loving father-substitute of the youngish black man… an absent loving dad sending a message from beyond the grave. That got to me.
It’s awkward having your kid asking if you’re okay as you’re running into the loo to get your act together. You don’t want your eleven-year-old to see you crying.
You don’t want your child to see how much you love him. You don’t want him to see how much your love your team and your city, your country and even love your own American black people. You even love the success of a New Zealand comic-musician you’ve never met.
That is too much love for him to see. It all got to me. That’s why I’m not going to any more movies with my kids.
NB: Okay, there WERE flags of many nations at Cape Kennedy that day. I googled it. But I don’t remember it.
Other posts about fathers: How to see your children after a relationship breakdown.
Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio
See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday at the Source Below. Free admission. Reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow