By Travis Mullis
I have to admit feeling trepidation when I considered going to the Saturday morning cartoons that the Independent Picture House shows on the second Saturday of every month. The prospect of taking my 2-year-old son into a large theater crammed full of toddlers and youngsters hopped up on sugary cookies and chocolate milk gave me pause. It turns out I had no reason to worry. As the saying goes, the kids are alright.
The cartoons are free; you just go to the IPH website to reserve your seats. But be sure to do so in advance. Our showing was sold out. We got there early and were able to watch other families make their way in, parents clutching coffee cups for dear life as their kids jumped up and down in giddy anticipation. A good selection of cookies and milks were on offer. My son opted for Oreos and chocolate milk, great choices in my opinion.
My son’s mouth was hanging open as we entered the auditorium and he caught sight of the screen. This was his first trip to the cinema, and I hope to do everything in my power to make him a cinephile. I say ‘hope’ because my wife and I try to keep his screen time to a minimum, and all he watches is Sesame Street and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. He has only seen two movies, Moana and The Super Mario Bros. Movie. But as he gets older and more inquisitive, I look forward to showing him my favorite films and giving him an education in cinema history.
We settled into the plush, rocking theater seat together, and the auditorium filled around us. The lights dimmed, and the screen flickered to life. It was almost eerily quiet as the hundreds of little eyes stared in wonder at the screen. My son was no different as he kept looking between my face and the screen and holding his mouth open in disbelief. He finally settled in and sank his little body into my chest. As any parent knows, nothing in the world is as heartwarming as snuggling with your child. My brother and niece showed up about 10 minutes in and settled into the seats next to us.
Most of the cartoons were unknown to me, which was a relief. I was expecting the mind-numbing dullness of CoComelon or the simple-mindedness of Peppa Pig. The cartoons were mainly European. My favorite was the story of a mole who comes across several cans of paint and decides to paint his forest home and its inhabitants. He paints everything with diligence and turns the forest into a riot of psychedelic color. It can’t last though. Rain eventually comes and washes all the paint away.
The other cartoons left less of an impression, but they aren’t for the parents. I don’t believe my son or niece took their eyes off the screen for a second. You know your child is entranced when you have to remind him to take bites of his cookies and sips of his chocolate milk.
If you need further convincing that these Saturday cartoons are a must-attend event for Charlotte families, every day or so my son will ask me when we’re going back to watch more cartoons. The answer is: as often as possible. We hope to see you there.