On October 12, 2023

The Movie Diary: Exorcising your demons

My nephew came over this past weekend to visit. He’s a great kid with a solid head on his shoulders who’s trying to figure out his next steps in life. With football playing on my TV in the background, the two of us had an engaging hour-long talk that touched on a variety of subjects.   

My nephew is currently a college student at an out-of-state university, and like all college students, he’s learning to fend for himself (and given our conversation, he’s also learning how to tap a keg, cure a hangover, and pick up girls). However, it hasn’t been the easiest road since his mother and father previously took care of most of his needs. 

He admits that he loves being on his own, but he also freely admits that the intricacies of life were a lot easier when his parents were around. He said that the little things that his mom and dad always took care of tend to pile up while he’s distracted by his studies and other extracurricular activities. 

I had this same experience when I went off to college. I learned quickly that if someone didn’t do the dishes, they would eventually become unusable due to mold. I also learned that fresh-smelling clothing and bedding can go sour quickly if the laundry isn’t utilized on occasion. 

But what really got me rattled was the little things like making an appointment and getting there on time or going to the grocery store before I ran out of toilet paper or paper towels. Those basic acts of adulthood seemed to be beyond my reach at 19 years old and the same seems to be ringing true for my nephew. 

I think it took me a good decade before I finally started making comprehensive lists of grocery items and home products before I went to the store. To this day, if I go shopping and forget one thing, it grinds on me. Thirty years ago, it happened every time I walked out the door.

But I guess that’s how we humans learn.

I tell my son all the time that some of the best lessons come from making mistakes. Those screw-ups tend to burn in, while life advice from your dad during a casual conversation often drifts in one ear and out the other.

For instance, I’ve told my son a thousand times not to text and drive. And he swore he never did (even though he’d answer my texts when I knew he was driving).

Well, a few weeks ago, I got a call from my son at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night. He had been at work and had just left to come home. I could tell by his voice that something was wrong, and when I inquired, he sheepishly admitted that he was on the side of the road with a flat tire. Given that I had just purchased four new tires for his car only months early, I replied with a pointed, “What happened?”

It turns out that my son was indeed texting while driving, and while it may have been late at night with no traffic (which was his argument for why he ‘looked at his phone just once’), he conveniently hit the median and blew out his right front tire. And to add insult to injury, the back tire had a bubble in it, which meant that it had to be replaced as well. 

I was beside myself in anger, but I held it in. I asked him if he was okay then proceeded to drive to his location. Once there, I surveyed the scene, took a deep breath, and announced that he was about to learn how to change a tire.

Thankfully, it was nighttime, because had this happened during drivetime hours, changing the tire would have been incredibly dangerous given how thin the road was. 

I took him through the step-by-step process and made him do all the heavy lifting. Occasionally, we would have to stop when a car drove by, but other than that, things went smoothly. 

Eventually, we succeeded in getting the tire changed and got the car back to our home, at which point I made my son schedule a service appointment at a local garage. I told him I’d pay for the two new tires, but that he was mine for the next two weekends. 

I promise you, after all the ensuing yardwork he faced, he will definitely be thinking twice about texting and driving again.

For me, I’ll certainly be thinking twice about watching another installment in the Exorcist franchise. In this week’s feature, “The Exorcist: Believer,” we confront a sequel to the original Exorcist film. And while that may sound enticing (especially around Halloween), the results were less than frightening.

“The Exorcist: Believer” was nothing less than a money-grab for fans of the original film. This movie lacked substance and a cohesive story, but more than anything, it was boring and devoid of suspense — two requirements for a good horror film. 

A hellish “D” for “The Exorcist: Believer,” now playing in theaters everywhere. 

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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