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.”
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.”