Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

TMT: “What’s wrong with your eyes?”

This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. This post also serves as a shout-out to my friend and author John Kenneth Muir. His series, the Cameron Curriculum, on filmmaker John Cameron (who, like me, recently turned 57) has been a distinct pleasure to follow this summer. As well, it provided a wonderful impetus for re-watching each of his films in the canon, which concludes today on JKM’s blog with this film.

“It’s in your nature to destroy yourselves.”


Century City 14



July 7, 1991: Sometimes, I recall the strangest of things doing this series. This one has my mother-in-law’s prints all over it. There are some husbands that get along with their spouse’s mother right off the bat. Through the years, I even have known a couple of them. The others, like me, didn’t. At least, not at first. And it’s not that she was an awful person, either. Just formidable.

She and I simply didn’t know how to communicate with each other from the start. My wife believed we were too much alike (we won’t go there with that thought, BTW). Still, I like to think her longstanding fondness of watching film (along with a deep love for her second daughter) were the common traits she and I shared — even if we warily circled each other like old adversaries.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day was the summer action blockbuster film of ’91. So much so, I couldn’t help but notice you-know-who’s excitement when critics/reviewers talked it up or showed clips on television that week. Given she didn’t go to movies like she once did, someone [wife: “Don’t look at me.”]  came up with the idea to invite her mother to this one (my attendance for this film event was already a given).

My wife says she only went “…to prevent you two from killing each other.”

When the three of us showed up at the Century City Shopping Center that weekend, at the now gone Century City 14, I didn’t expect anything memorable. So when my mother-in-law and I excitedly chatted the film up afterward on the way home, nobody was more surprised. I now like to think this movie-going experience started the bridge building. I actually miss the old battle-axe.

“Watching John with the machine, it was suddenly so clear. The terminator would never stop. It would never leave him, and it would never hurt him, never shout at him, or get drunk and hit him, or say it was too busy to spend time with him. It would always be there. And it would die to protect him. Of all the would-be fathers who came and went over the years, this thing, this machine, was the only one who measured up. In an insane world, it was the sanest choice.”

The entire TMT series can be found here. If you’re interested how it’s put together, click here.


13 Responses to “TMT: “What’s wrong with your eyes?””

  1. Pop Culture Nerd

    You do come up with some great memories for this series. This is no exception. Love how this movie, of all things, helped you bond. Doesn’t surprise me, though, because T2 is amazing, easily the best in the series.


    • le0pard13

      You are very kind. T2 is an amazing work. Supreme action flick paired with the intimate themes and strong characters James Cameron is known for. It doesn’t get any better. It had to be something exceptional for my mother-in-law and me to begin the thaw. Thanks, Elyse.


  2. John Kenneth Muir

    Hi Michael,

    Thank you for your excellent post about the Cameron Curriculum, today. You have been a vital and insightful contributor to the discussion of J.C.’s canon, and I’m kind of sad to see the series end. I’ve had a lot of fun, and I’m glad to see you have too. It’s not like we need an excuse to re-watch Cameron’s films or anything, but it was nice to have one! 🙂

    So you and your mother-in-law bonded over T2? I knew Arnold could work miracles. 🙂 Just kidding, that was a great story that took me all the way back to 1991. I remember, I took my wife (then girlfriend) and parents to see the film to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

    All my thanks, and all my best,
    John K. Muir


    • le0pard13

      John, your series has been a great experience, to read and to comment on. Your articles on each of JC’s film were insightful and a blast to pore over. Sad to see the series end, but at least we’ll have The Matrix Trilogy to tide us over ;-).

      And thanks for sharing your memory of T2, here. That sounds like a great group of folk to add to that movie-going experience. Take care, my friend.


  3. rtm

    I always enjoy this series from you, Michael. Interesting tidbit there about your mother in-law. I’m one of the fortunate people who get along with the in-law (mother side) really well, she’s just a super nice & delightful person so I guess that helps. But I feel the same way like you about my father in-law. I just didn’t know how to communicate w/ him.

    But wow, so she loved a Terminator movie! That’s cool, yeah that’s gotta be quite a surprise for you that you ended up having something to talk about with a passion. Great story!


    • le0pard13

      Very kind of you to say, Ruth. You bring up a good point, too. In-laws aren’t limited to one, usually. I got along with my father-in-law well. And all spouses are going to have to find a way to communicate and get along with their partner’s parents. It’s just not easy.

      I love this film by James Cameron (along with a whole bunch of his others). Thanks, Ruth.


    • le0pard13

      Glad to hear of another fan of this film, Rachel.

      “I love this movie with the power of a thousand belly busting Care Bears.”

      Great quote! I gotta use that somewhere in the future. Thanks, Rachel.


  4. Novroz

    I love love love terminator, I once made a post of how I rated all four of them, T2 is my number and T3 is the last. The quote said by Sarah is one of my favorite. It does sound fun to have a machine as a parent 😉

    It’e interesting how a movie can make you have better relationship with you in law. It’s quite funny that a terminator is the one that make you two connect.


    • le0pard13

      Great to hear, Novroz. And that is my favorite quote from the film, too. I think another highlight from T2 is Linda Hamilton’s voiceover in the film. She is so great in the film, and I can’t give her enough credit for what she accomplished in it. I’d only add that my mother-in-law had some ‘Terminator’-like qualities herself (on the good side, though) :-). Thanks for adding to this!



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