The Movies — More Than Just Entertainment

Oscar night nibbles

When was the last time you really listened to someone’s story?

In a previous post I mentioned the snack tray I put together to accompany the glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards — nothin’ fancy, just a few “made-with-love” goodies to enhance Mom’s escalating excitement surrounding that event. (And please bear with the photo above scanned from one she sent me — hover, people, hover… I’ll be rectifying that soon.) Anyway, Mom loves parties.

She loves movies even more.

I heard her story often while I was growing up — no electricity, no running water, a mild-mannered Mother and a domineering Dad. Nothin’ against my grandparents — life was tough in the post-Depression era and apparently they came to an amicable compromise before I was born. (I honestly don’t remember their relationship being so “volatile.”) But, recall is subjective, and for my Mom (a sensitive — and may I add sensational — human being despite the odds), it meant bearing the brunt of hard times and folks trying to cope. I’m so glad I listened to Mom’s story again, and that she felt compelled to tell it once more.

Enter Hollywood…

Saturday nights during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, my Grandpa favored visiting the local pool hall after a hard week of tilling the soil. For whatever reason — I’m certain Grandma had a hand in it (she wasn’t as meek as she made out to be) — she and my Mom (from age 5 onward) rode into town with him to be deposited under the marquee of the local theatre. While Grandpa enjoyed his libations around the corner, they watched movies. And, depending on how long he fancied to stay, they gladly sat through the second show.

Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman, Katherine Hepburn, Greer Garson, Vivien Leigh, Celeste Holmes, Judy Garland, and countless others (not to mention their handsome leading men) appeared larger than life and yet somehow “real.” Whether they realized it or not, their performances sparked a young girl’s imagination and made an indelible impact on her ability to reconcile life as she knew it. Movies weren’t just entertainment, they were a means of survival. And possibilities…

The big screen provided more.

Movies filled Mom’s heart with hope. (Still do!) Bonus points for costume designers — Edith Head was her favorite. I suspect she was the inspiration for the many, many home-sewn garments Mom later expertly designed and constructed for my sister ‘n me. Side note: A few years ago I was honored to view Edith’s creations (and Oscars) in Bartlesville, OK… breathtaking! I thought of Mom the whole time…

For those of you who snored through the “technical” and other obligatory categories during this year’s Academy Awards, I wish you could have seen the look on my Mom’s face. Rapt attention. Respect. Darn near reverence. She appreciates each and every facet of movie-making — and no wonder why.

We should all be so mindful.

A brief word to aspiring (and veteran) actors… please know that your performances contribute more to life than just momentary amusement. Somewhere “out there” a young lady (or gentleman) may be desperately yearning to be transported from “reality” into a world they can only imagine in the dim lights of a movie theatre. They’re dreaming of the future — their own! Follow your heart, and Lord willing, they’ll follow theirs.

My Mom’s life (and mine) have been inexorably altered by “the movies.”

After my last visit home, I don’t think I’ll ever feel the same about watching them. “I’d like to thank The Academy… and my mother. Her life story (and yours ‘n mine) are etched in history — forever.

My advice? Listen to stories even if you’ve heard them before. (Tell your own, too!) Who knows? One day a Best Picture nomination or a better life (the stuff dreams and movies are made of) may result.

Enjoying real-life screenplays,

~ Kim

What’s your favorite movie — and why?

© Kim Bultman and a little lunch

28 thoughts on “The Movies — More Than Just Entertainment

  1. I regret not really listening to my Grandma’s stories more than I did. The ones I remember are so colorful, but as a kid I didn’t really care to hear about her past – I just wanted to play. There’s a lot I don’t know about my own parents and I still have time to hear their stories so you’ve inspired me to prompt them to tell them. Thank you for sharing this about your mother, I loved reading it. And how is it possible to pick ONE favorite movie? Not possible! A few that come to mind are The Princess Bride (so funny, so romantic), Forrest Gump (because hello, Forrest Gump), and A Knight’s Tale (the humor and the overcoming and the triumph).

  2. Dear Kim,

    Sometimes, I wish I could just experience life for a week during my grandparents’ and parents’ time where there were no laptops, mobile phones, iPads, cable news, Facebook, social media and all the modern conveniences that we take for granted and complicate our lives with these days. Difficult as it might have been with daily chores ala the Norge, I think life then might have been more wholesome.

  3. I love movies (thank goodness for Netflix!) and I’m with your mother. I wait all year for the Academy Awards and I watch with rapt attention. Everything. (With snacks of course.) Thank you for sharing this slice of your life and, your beautiful mother.

    • Sue Ann, thank you for your affirming comment, xo. I’m not a huge fan of award shows, but this year’s Oscars seemed so important to my Mom… and ultimately me. Thanks again!

  4. That’s a wonderful post, my dear! I love to listen to my parent’s stories too, but mostly on war time….. like how they’d suffered during the Japanese occupation. It’s really awesome listening to their real-life encounters.

    • Shirley, isn’t amazing what our parents lived through? I have such respect for “older generations” — we’re privileged to hear their stories. And thanks for sharing yours! xo

  5. I love this post & all of the memories it brings back. It doesn’t seem that the movies are quite the same these days. As a matter of fact I rarely go nowadays and if I do, I try to go in as close to the actual movie time as possible because I can’t stand getting blasted out of my seat by the noise level of the previews. Is that silly? Or is it too much to ask for a reasonable decibel level. Even the feature movie is usually so loud that the dialogue is all garbled. I think the theaters are too small for the sound levels.
    I still remember going to see GiGi with my mother. She loved the music but especially the costumes. It seems that there were fewer movies made back then but they were grand productions.

    • Diane, the last time I went to a movie I ended up stuffing Kleenex in my ears… ouch! I agree with you on the decibel level… no need to blast it… in fact, I pay more attention when I “have” to listen carefully. (Hollywood, please note…) Your Mom sounded like a lovely lady. xo

      • One of the things I loved most about those old movies – do you remember the big full skirts, petticoats? they made everyone look like they had a very tiny waist. I don’t think it was until my mother was in her 70’s that she started wearing slacks. I just remember those June Cleaver dresses.

  6. Kim, I love learning aspects about someone’s personality, their passions, what transports them—and this is such a loving, tender portrait of your mother. I love movies, too, and books of course, for their magical way of taking me somewhere else for a time. And it’s Friday—movie night with my daughter, so I can only hope that she’ll share in the love of movies. I have so many favorites, but some are: Manon of the Spring, Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, Like Water for Chocolate, Babette’s Feast and so many others.

    • Oh, Tracey — Friday night at the movies with Miss S — what a wonderful tradition you’ve started! Thanks for your movie favorites, too. I’ll have to check some of those out… xo

  7. What a wonderful post. Made me cry…cry in a good way of course. Wish I had made more time to listen to my grandma telling me more stories. How I miss her. I have so many movies that I love it is difficult to pick just one. I will say that; An Officer and A Gentleman, Angel Heart, True Romance, The Billie Holiday Story….oh my I could go on and on. I love movies. <3

    • Isabelle, I didn’t mean for you to break out the box of Kleenex, but I’m so touched that it meant something to you! Every day I realize how much more precious life is than the preceding day. xo Loved your favorite movie list! It’s hard for me to narrow it down to one, too, LOL!

  8. Kim…yes, yes, listen listen to those stories over and over…there’s always a nuance that adds more flavor…and the movies impacted me big time…I remember getting a quarter from Dad/Mom…that would get me into the movies and buy a nickel bag of popcorn and a cherry coke…thank you for reminding me…I’m reminiscing about my mom, too xoxox

    • Ally, I loved your thought on “more flavor” being added to a story each time you hear it. Yes! Loved your reminiscences on movies of yore (and your Mom), too… the stuff your future was made of! xo

  9. What a beautiful story, Kim. Thank you for sharing. My Mom is gone and I miss her everyday. She and I shared the love of cooking and serving good food to those we love. I always remember the big family holiday dinners of homemade ravioli dressed in my grandmothers sumptuous red sauce. Take care. BTW it is snowing here, the day before official Spring.

    • Jeanne, thank you. What a legacy your Mom left you — the art of entertaining and the love of cooking — meant to be shared. (Your Grandma’s red sauce sounds wonderful, too!) By the way, I made your pulled pork for dinner last night… sooooo tasty!

      • So glad you liked it. Tasty and easy, a perfect combo. Someone mentioned the movie “Babette’s Feast” If you haven’t seen it, it is a must! One of my favorites. It is looking like Spring today. Celebrate!!!

  10. Movies have become part of her life, such beautiful memories my friend. Thank you for sharing them! It feels like movies gave her hope, to dream of a reality in the big screen is a wonderful past time :)
    You are right – movies are much more than entertainment – thanks for sharing a post which describes that so well!

    Choc Chip Uru

    • Uru, this experience taught me the importance of stepping outside of my “story factory” (aka brain… ha!) and honor and pay attention to the “real life” stories so abundant around me. I always enjoy your stories, too — family, friends, & FOOD! :) xo

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