La Guerre des Etoiles (et des Enfants)

A Chronicle columnist recently asked readers which movie they had watched the most. An overwhelming majority picked Star Wars, a movie I have only seen once*.

It was the summer of 1977**. We were in Maine, and my father had volunteered me without my knowledge to baby-sit (or as he more accurately put it, “brat-bash”) two little French kids, Olivier and Thierry, the terrors of the Riviera.

Both parents were marine biologists, and were working at the same lab as Dad that summer. They needed someone to take care of the boys while they were at work. Unbeknownst to me, they had already gone through countless sitters. Part of the problem was their parents’ method of bribing them to behave and being thoroughly inconsistent; part of the problem was the fact that they didn’t speak English. It was a lethal combo, let me tell you.

Unfortunately for me, I had taken French instead of Home Ec when I was in 7th grade. My point was that I already knew how to cook, but I didn’t know how to speak French. Mom and Dad had to persuade the school powers that were to let me, since you weren’t supposed to take a second language until 9th grade. My parents said that if I failed the first semester, I’d go and make Jell-O with everyone else. I got a 97. But I also got Olivier and Thierry.

I was about as enamored with kids then as I am now, so I was less than thrilled with this new assignment, especially when the brattiness became apparent. However, I was mean Mary Poppins with them, and their parents pretty much considered me a miracle worker. They also paid my way to stay with them in Nice the following summer for a return engagement. Score!

Anyway, to reward Olivier and Thierry for breaking most of their bad habits, I took them to see “Star Wars” at the historic Criterion Theater in Bar Harbor. It soon became clear that this was not one of my better ideas, since the afore-mentioned lack of English became an immediate problem. I spent the whole movie explaining what was going on in whispers as they asked “Mais qui est-il?” in their piercing little voices (for some reason, French kids seem to have particularly piercing voices). I still don’t really know what happened in that movie.

I’d have to say my most frequently watched movie is Repo Man. From the Iggy Pop theme to the witty dialogue to the awesome soundtrack and just the craziness of it all, it never fails to charm me, even after 25 years.

What’s yours?

*Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person in the entire US of A who hates driving and cell phones and would only watch “American Idol” or “Dancing with the Stars” if there was a gun to my head. Also I never text anyone, ever.

**A memorable summer for me for many other reasons and other blog posts.

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5 comments on “La Guerre des Etoiles (et des Enfants)

  1. Amber

    I’ve seen Stars Wars a couple of times. Maybe 3? The movie I’ve seen the most times is probably Hope Floats. I don’t know why. I watch it every time its on TV like an addiction. I also watch Anne of Green Gables every time it’s on TV too, I’ve probably seen it 25 times – I should buy that dvd though, it’s delightful!

    I don’t watch either American Idol or Dancing with the Stars (I don’t get it, to be honest) nor do I own a cell phone! Never texted! Will very happily hand over the driving to someone else if I can, but don’t really hate driving specifically, just city driving… of course I’m not American, but we should coffee ;).

  2. Jennifer

    I have a couple of favourites…Harold and Maude (great Cat Stevens soundtrack); Mrs Miniver; Rebecca; Local Hero and Waking Ned Devine.

  3. Joy F

    I endorse Local Hero & Waking Ned Devine….also Gregory’s Girl ( another Bill Forsyth film…) Actually, I really love So You Think You Can Dance……it is wonderful to see youngsters being given a chance to be recognized by the experts.
    Sorry to disappoint you, Suzy, but I love to watch dancing.
    BTW also I think The Italian Job ( the original one ) was marvellous…oh! Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines……bretter get out before I think of any others….


  4. Aimée

    I’ve probably watched Totoro or Twister the most!

  5. Guy

    Well, I cannot say I watch very many movies, nor do I endorse American Idol and such, and as far as cell phones are concerned, now that I have retired, I use for emergencies or information I might require.

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