It is almost impossible to put into words the experience of going to a movie with my Dad, but I wanted to try. The Vereds bleed popcorn (we have even been known to go to the movie theatre just to pick up movie theatre popcorn), and that is all because Arnie Vered loved movies.
Just like each of my siblings, I learned to love going to the movies from my Dad. My Dad would go to any movie. He would see movies multiple times because he just loved the act of going to see a movie; also, because he never stayed awake for an entire movie so there was always something new to see. When we go to Florida in December, we see a movie almost every night. The movie theatre was my Dad’s happy place.
Going to the movies with my Dad was a special experience, and there are a billion stories to share. Here are just a few.
In 1996, my Dad took me to see Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. At some point in the movie, my dad fell asleep, as he invariably did in every film-going excursion. The most famous love story unfolded in all of its made-for-MTV glitz and pathos, and as the movie ended with star-crossed lovers Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes realizing too late that they probably should have discussed their plan ahead of time, my dad awoke from his nap and turned to me.
“So what happened?”
“Daddy, are you serious? Didn’t you read the play in high school?”
“Sure, but maybe they changed the ending.”
My Dad could fall asleep in any type of movie. It didn’t matter the volume or soundtrack, the mood or genre, or his level of excitement for the movie. He would eat his popcorn while the trailers played, and then, when the lights went down, he would just drift off into a snooze from which he might occasionally awake, only to fall back asleep again.
I remember the first time that I realized that having one’s parent fall asleep at a movie was not a normal thing. My father had taken me and my friend Catherine to see The Sixth Sense. Catherine and I were relatively new friends, so you can imagine my embarrassment when, partway through this eerily silent and on-first-viewing thrilling and suspenseful movie, my Dad started snoring.
“Daddy… Ssshhhh!” I hissed at him, praying that, just like when your stomach rumbles with hunger and it seems like everyone must be able to hear it but no one actually does, his snores just seemed louder to me because I was uniquely attuned to hearing them.
“Ok, ok,” he said, before promptly nodding off again.
When it was time to declare my Program of Study in university, I remember sitting on my front steps with my friend Julie, looking through the courses of study and not being interested in anything I saw. But when I saw Cinema Studies as an option, I thought, “Huh. I like movies. I would love to learn more about them.” I don’t think I would have chosen Cinema Studies if it had not been for my Dad’s influence. But I can’t even imagine what I might have majored in.
In my Cinema Studies major, I had three film screenings a week. Some were scheduled first thing in the morning, others mid-afternoon, or at night. And you know what? I fell asleep in every single film screening I had throughout four years of university. Didn’t matter the movie, the time of day, the comfortableness of the seats. I fell asleep in every single screening, even ones that I was interesting in seeing. In those film screenings, I was my father’s daughter.
My Dad had a laugh that was infectious. It was full-bodied and gleeful and you simply couldn’t resist laughing yourself. There was no point in trying.
There is one scene that made him laugh more than anything else in the world. Simply referring to it was enough to make him dissolve into giggles. One time, driving to Montreal, he almost drove us off the road because someone mentioned it. I can’t even count the number of times that we would try to lure him to the TV or computer so that we could watch his reaction to watching that scene.
“Hey, Daddy. Remember that scene in Bridesmaids….”
Somewhere, Daddy is laughing SO HARD.