By Tony Russell

During our courtship, my wife-to-be and I set a U.S. record for walking out of movie theaters during the show. I'd ask her out--say to see the latest Ingmar Bergman film. We'd seat ourselves, and before too long she would begin to radiate boredom, alienation, or disgust. Out we'd go.

Our teenage daughter laughs at the two of us, struggling futilely to find a movie we can both enjoy. My wife likes uplifting films, where a widow/orphan/plucky nun wins respect/love/dignity or just suffers on behalf of others. I, on the other hand, am deeply suspicious of any film labeled "heartwarming." The only thing worse is a "two thumbs up" rating from Siskel and Ebert. "Thumbs up what?" I ask.

No, my taste runs to what my daughter calls "guy films." "What I'm looking for," I tell her, "is one where people get thrown through plate glass windows, where cars smash into each other, where buildings explode..."

"I know," she says. "A 'guy film'."

That may say something about innate differences between the sexes. But my daughter has the true moviegoer's perspective. She can enjoy Enemy of the State or Mission Impossible II for what it is--a genre picture, heavy on the technology, but a superior specimen of its kind, even if you're not crazy about the kind. Like meeting a lovable Rottweiler.

So I'll drag home on Friday night, depleted from the workweek, and find my jangled nerves soothed by the crack of gunshots, the whoomp of explosions, the din of colliding cars. And while I sit in the living room watching Dustin Hoffman in Hero or Charlie Sheen in Hot Shots or Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes in White Men Can't Jump, my wife reads a book in the bedroom, no doubt brooding over what possessed her to marry someone with such a suspect sensibility. Everytime she hears me burst into laughter, it must be like being thrown through a plate glass window. Like being smashed into by an automobile. Like having a building detonate behind you.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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