Writer asks, “What movie title describes your family?”

Categorized as 03/08/10 Goshen News column

Some years ago at a marriage retreat, the speaker challenged us to name a movie that described our relationships. It was an interesting exercise that made you stop and think.

Someone piped up (a gentleman, of course) and offered “Romancing the Stone” to general laughter from the crowd. Another one suggested “Throw Mama From the Train,” which earned him an elbow in the ribs from his wife and the offer of counseling. With men in white coats.

Watching movies together is one of our favorite pastimes. On vacation in Branson last summer, it felt like the height of luxury to flop down after a busy day and watch movies late into the night. As I drifted off to sleep, Mr. Schrock and his sons would still be awake, making sure the villains got what they had coming.

In looking over our library of movie titles, I can’t help but imagine how some of these would have turned out if I had been the producer. For example, we would never film a “Robin Hood, Men in Tights” over here. Nuh-uh. No way.

While I’m sure the boys would love the notion of being the quick-witted, agile defenders of the poor who get the lovely Maid Marian, there’s not a snowball’s chance in the Sahara that they’d ever hop into a pair of green tights. Not even for Mr. Spielberg.

Our version would be called “Robin Hood:  Little Men in Dirty Blue Jeans With Holes in the Knees.” Replace the bows and arrows with Air Soft guns, and you’ve got Robin Hood, circa 2010.

“While You Were Sleeping” is a romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock. In it, she discovers her true love while the man she thought she loved lies sleeping in a coma. That’s the Hollywood version.

At our house, the plot would go like this: “While you were sleeping, one of us was on Facebook while someone else was up playing PS2 into the wee hours until our eyeballs fell into our laps. Then we raided the pantry and polished off the rest of the granola bars. After slugging each other a few times for hogging the covers, we finally went to sleep.”

The discovery of such clandestine tomfoolery would trigger spontaneous filming of two more actual titles, “Catch Me If You Can” and “Flight Plan.”

So our adaptation of the latter title doesn’t have Jodie Foster, an airplane, or a disappearing child. Ours includes things like a bright orange mower, a boy in a red fishing hat with his foot on the gas, and a big brother in hot pursuit. This flight plan (unfiled, of course) takes them across the yard and around the barn with numerous circles through the garden.

After several loop-de-loops around the rhubarb, the vehicle finally comes to a stop, and a hearty pounding commences with shouts and bellows, prompting a swift neighborhood evacuation.

O. J. Simpson’s flight from justice wasn’t half as exciting.

This is exactly why the title “Enemy at the Gates” resonates with me. In fact, my plot summary would sound more like this, “The enemy is now within the gates. They have stormed the castle and breached the walls, all because I didn’t pull that drawbridge up quick enough.” To paraphrase, “I have seen the enemy, and he is us.”

As you might guess, “S.W.A.T.” is another cop movie. Here, it’s the team I call in when the enemy combatants get out of hand and, say, break the glass on my favorite picture. Or cuff a younger brother to the door knob when they should be working. Or freeze vinegar into ice cubes and drop them into my Diet Coke. Needless to say, I keep my SWAT guy busy.

Often it feels like “Mission Impossible,” raising four kids, or “Rebels Without a Cause Who Actually Think They Have One Some Days,” to be responsible, law-abiding citizens who chew with their mouths closed. (Note to their future wives: I’m sorry. I tried. I really did.)

Other days, I feel like I’m living out the entire three-movie “Transporter” series. The first one’s a wrap as son number one is, thankfully, transporting himself. The second one isn’t quite in the can, but close. That leaves numbers three and four yet to go. This explains why our local gas station owner and insurance guy love us.

It won’t be until the fall of 2012 that “The Last of the Mohicans” will be hopping onto a big, yellow bus. Meanwhile, we know what it’s like to be “Sleepless in Wakarusa” while the offspring know how it feels to be the recipients of “Amazing Grace.” In other words, they’ve not yet been evicted or dropped into the alligator-filled moat.

I’m still extending last summer’s offer, “Trading Places,” to Mr. Schrock. You know, where we swap offices so he can know the delights of working from home with the aforementioned Mohicans underfoot and I can know the boredom and monotony of working in utter quiet and solitude.

I’m waiting for his people to get back to mine. I have a hunch I’ll be waiting until the next “Ice Age.”

Rhonda would love to know what movie title describes your family or your marriage.  Leave your title below (just click the ‘comment’ link), and she’ll compile a list for the enjoyment of her blog readers.  Is it “Beauty and the Beast?”  “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?”  “Cheaper by the Dozen?”  Write it down.

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