By Jason Offutt
The movie theater parking lot was more full than I’d ever seen it, and this was just for a Sunday matinee. The lot at our local theater was never this crowded, even on Middle Age Date Night for a movie starring Paul Rudd, or Jennifer Aniston, or Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston (God, help me).
I parked and my family piled out of the minivan to trek to the theater through frigid temperatures all the way from the back of the lot.
That’s funny because it’s a complete lie. As any father has probably guessed, I let my family out at the front door and went to park 14 miles away, trudging through the snow, ice, and wolves by myself as my family stood in the warm comfort of the theater lobby asking each other what was taking Daddy so long.
It was cold. The kind of cold that froze breath in your mustache (at least if you were a man, or a yeti, or had a glandular problem, or something). There’s a kind of family hierarchical structure that assumes all fathers were sherpas in a past life and everyone else was a Disney princess.
Possibly not true.
But we got there. The important part wasn’t that we arrived at the theater in time for the movie, but we got there in time to buy slushies and popcorn, and I had a moment to go to the bathroom before the show started. I once missed Darth Vader cutting off Luke’s hand due to an extra-large Coke, and vowed missing a minute of a movie would never happen to me again.
Even for “The Lego Movie,” which we were there to see.
The concept of “The Lego Movie” both impressed and concerned me. Impressed because this was commercialism at its finest. After purchasing toy rights for Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Simpsons, DC Comics, Indiana Jones, and quite possibly me, why not take these franchises, smoosh them together and make a quadraziillion dollars? And not just from the movie, from all the Legos toys they’d sell later.
It was perfect. Kids love Legos, parents of today’s kids grew up loving Legos, the Billund, Denmark, company The Lego Group, is still selling Legos. Why not?
I was concerned because this was simply a 100-minute advertisement for something my kids would want me to buy for them. If you don’t have children you probably have no idea that the entire Lego Star Wars set alone costs more than my house.
Turns out, the movie was funny, thoughtful, and not only made the Boy and the Girl laugh and enjoy each other’s company on the drive home (usually 10 minutes in the car is like a UFC match), it gave Mom and Dad a present.
Ever since we watched the movie, the Boy’s played with all the Legos he’s ignored since roughly the moment he opened them as a present.
Thank you ,“The Lego Movie.”
Jason Offutt’s latest book, “Across a Corn-Swept Land: An epic beer run through the Upper Midwest,” is available at amazon.com.