There is required cultural education that goes on in the Underground household.  Recently, we had the Shortlings watch all of the Star Wars films from our childhood - the original cuts, just as God and George Lucas intended (though we all know George Lucas is a little bit wishy-washy).  I have forced encouraged my children to watch everything from Charlie Chaplin silents and Abbot and Costello movies, to contrasting versions of Miracle on 34th Street, Annie, and Karate Kid, to E.T., to Les Miserables, (which, at nearly three hours running time, takes a really long time to watch when you have to stop every fifteen minutes to explain French history and philosophical dilemmas to a six and ten year old).  We have also watched an obscene amount of movie musicals.

Currently, the following are on my DVR-recorded-yet-still-to-watch list:
  • Annie Get Your Gun
  • Amadeus
  • Easter Parade
  • In the Good Old Summertime
  • Love Actually
  • Columbo episodes
  • Selected episodes of The Twilight Zone (there are just too many to watch them all and The Children claim they "creep them out" [*cough, wussies, cough*] so I just pick the best ones)
  • Finishing up the last few episodes of Route 66 (though that's more for me due to the fact that I have this recurring fantasy of buying a '56 'Vette and taking off to leave all my problems behind and drive around the country a la Martin Milner)

I'd add to this a list of musicals The KoH dubbed "the most annoying and repetitive thing ever," but I don't think an entire list of things can be "THE most annoying" thing ever and so I reject his premise outright.

I forced encouraged The Shortlings to watch Meet Me in St. Louis on New Year's Day morning.  They've seen the Wonderful Wizard of Oz before, but I guess I've been remiss in my Judy Garland training because they did not know who she was nor recognize her as Dorothy when they saw her.


After having to stop explain what a World's Fair was during the first number, why everyone was so excited about it (I told them to think of it as a big renaissance fair with modern stuff and that seemed to do it), and why they no longer hold them (answer: well, we do, kind of, we also don't, but we do) the Shortlings settled in and watched intently.  During Judy Garland's first solo number in the film, "The Boy Next Door," she got to the second or third note and The Dormouse, apparently new to the idea that Garland had a voice, exclaimed, "Woah!"

Love that kid.

Note to self: Add Andy Hardy movies to the list.

When we got to the scene where Mr. Smith told the family they were going to have to leave Saint Louis and move to New York after Esther had only just made friends with the Boy Next Door, I heard a sniff next to me and looked over to see The Caterpillar wiping away a tear.  In that moment, I had two conflicting thoughts:

I love that my seven year old is moved to tears by sad scenes in movies.  I do not understand it, but I love it.


Oh crap, we're never going to make it through the snow people scene are we?

But we did make it through Margaret O'Brien's tears (you know that Vincent Minelli didn't really tell her her dog died to get that scene, right?) and to the climax where the gut-wrenched Mr. Smith decides they're not moving after all and they get to stay in Saint Louis with their boyfriends and will go to the World's Fair.  Hooray!

A bumper slide appears on the screen that shows the house and says, "Spring."

Suddenly, The Caterpillar registers her discontent and we have to stop the film.

"But what happened?' she whines.

"Keep watching."

"But, I don't understand.  What happened?"

"What do you mean? It's not over yet."

"But they didn't finish telling the story!"

"Well, like I said, it's not over yet.  There's more, so just watch."

"But did she get married?  What is the sister gonna do? Is she gonna get married?"

"Well, not yet," I said, still paused on the "Spring" bumper slide, "but they're staying in Saint Louis and look, it's Spring.  Do you remember what was coming in the Spring?"

She looked up at me and smiled, "Cicadas?"

Yes. And that's when the whole town of Saint Louis was overrun by the 1904 swarm of bugs and everyone perished in a horrible slow death.  It was the feel-good movie of the decade.