Mario Stories

My Mom at the Movies

THE REQUEST: Write about something funny that happened to you in a movie theater

One of the most distinct things about my childhood was the fact that my mom was always late for everything. And I mean EVERYTHING! Like, if I had three words to describe my mom, Gloria Lanza, it would be "forty minutes late." She was SO bad with being on time for anything that when I was in high school, I would literally tell her that school was over at 2:00, just so she'd be pulling in at 2:45 to pick me up when school ACTUALLY ended. I literally had to play mind games with her if I ever wanted a ride home from school.

And my mom's lateness was why I only saw the second half of Cloak and Dagger the first time I saw it at the drive-in.

This story would have happened sometime during the summer of 1984. I remember Cloak and Dagger (which I was very excited to see) was supposed to start at the drive-in at sundown. And for some reason my mom assumed that sundown was 10:00 P.M. But I believe sundown in Seattle in July is actually at 9:00. So at like 8:45, it's starting to get dark, and my mom's like oh crap we better drive out there since I promised you guys I'd take you to the movie. So we get in the car and... well... Gloria Lanza.

Yada yada yada, we arrived at the drive-in just when the bad guys were trying to stab Davey on the boat in San Antonio. We literally missed the ENTIRE FIRST HOUR OF THE MOVIE. And that's why I had to see Cloak and Dagger a second time to know what actually happens in it.

And this wasn't the only time I missed the first part of a movie, either. My mom was NOTORIOUS for that. We also missed the first forty-five minutes of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. I believe we arrived at the theater right in the middle of the water park scene.

Oh, and here's another fun movie with my mom. In 1994, I took her to see Pulp Fiction for the first time.

Side note: I had already seen Pulp Fiction twice, when I was down in California for college. So when I came back up home to Seattle for the summer, I decided to take my mom and dad to see it too. Just because I wanted to see what they thought of it.

Well first off, my mom's lateness ruined the entire first part of Pulp Fiction. Because my mom had a rule whenever we went to a movie theater. She had to have Dots and popcorn. And the Dots had to go IN the popcorn, because that's just how Gloria Lanza rolled. She wouldn't watch a movie until she had her goddamn Dots and her popcorn.

We get to the movie just barely before it starts. Because, obviously, my mom had underestimated how long it would take us to get to the theater. So we're rushing in at like 7:25 for a 7:30 showing of Pulp Fiction.

So I run into the theater, and I grab us three seats towards the front. And my mom's like, hey before it starts, let me go buy some Dots and popcorn. And I'm like, um, could you not? I mean the first scene of Pulp Fiction (Pumpkin and Honey Bunny) is actually kind of important. The entire wraparound story only works if you see how it starts at the beginning. But no. My mom wouldn't sit down until she waited in the concession line, and she bought her dumb snacks. And anyway... that's why my parents missed the entire first third of Pulp Fiction. They sat down next to me right around the time that Jules was quoting Ezekiel 25:17. And my mom actually had the nerve to ask me, "Okay who are these guys? And why's he shooting him?"

Yeah thanks, mom.

"Okay, who are these guys? Why are they mad?"

Postscript: Although I will always love the one thing my mom took away from Pulp Fiction. That one takeaway was "Ha ha, John Travolta got fat just like the rest of us." She seemed very amused by that.

Postscript #2: My parents never really did understand the whole wraparound story in Pulp Fiction. Because, you know, it would have helped if they had actually been there and had actually seen the start of the movie. In fact, even to my mom's dying day, she always said she didn't really "get" Pulp Fiction. And I'd always be like well yeah there's a reason you didn't get it. It's because you had to buy YOUR STUPID DOTS AND POPCORN!

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