Class trip to Coraline

Yesterday I had a couple of firsts. It was my first time watching a movie from the very back row of the theater. It was also my first time watching a movie with a dozen 6th graders. Apparently, the movie theater is just like the bus: the last row is clearly the coolest.

I, apparently, also have a bit of a coolness factor (who knew?!) because while the parents were ordered to sit elsewhere, there was a bit of a fuss about who would get to sit next to me. And since both sides and the two seats in front of me were quickly commandeered, my poor husband had to sit three seats down with other the boys.

My class read Coraline together this fall, and I had offered to see the movie with them yesterday. Twelve current and former students, a handful of parents, and a few younger siblings showed up. “We’ll discuss the differences between the book and movie in class on Monday,” I said.

In sixth grade speak that roughly translates to: “We’ll discuss the differences and anything else that comes to mind, during the movie.” And they did.

A recap:

  • We missed our favorite scene: when Coraline calls the policeman
  • We love that the Jones are gardening writers who hate dirt
  • We wished the ending had been kept the same
  • We’re glad they didn’t include the part about the Other Father in the basement – it would have been too scary.
  • We’re not quite sold on Wybie. Coraline doesn’t need a sidekick.
  • That doll is as creepy as the buttons
  • That is not what we expected Miss Forcible to look like -yikes!
  • The cat’s voice was not as we pictured – he should sound snobbier
  • Mrs. Schmidt does a better job of singing the ‘twitchy, witchy song’ (although, I believe this comment was meant mockingly – hurumph!)

Their consensus: it was scary, but the book was scarier. Still…

The poor first grade sibling of one of my kiddos was scared straight out of her teensy, pink Ugg boots (or maybe they were just adhered to the spilt-soda-sticky floor), and had to be carried out of the theater by one of the moms.

The student to my right kept up a steady refrain of: “I’m so glad this isn’t 3-D,” “Imagine that in 3-D” and “OMG, I couldn’t handle this in 3-D.”

Another female student whispered down the row toward me: “Mrs. Schmidt, how are the boys? Are they scared too?”

I peeked down the row. They were sitting in a clump: leaned forward, chins in tense hands, eyes wide. Clearly terrified. (Disclaimer: husband was fine). I turned back to my questioner and saved their pre-teen egos: “They’re fine. Very brave.”

Three minutes later I reached over the seatbacks and squeezed the shoulders of the two students sitting in front of me – making them jump and squeal. Good times!

In the lobby (after we took our class photo) they recapped and decided that the movie was great, but the book was greater. Then again, when isn’t this the case?

On the way out the door I caught a wisp their conversation: “Man, I’ve got to get started on The Graveyard Book. I need to finish it before they make it into a movie. Do you think Mrs. Schmidt’ll come to that, too?”

Lessons learned: Back row = cool. Mrs. Schmidt = cool. Movies = less cool than books.

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