Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This Song is Going to Be Stuck In Your Head

Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang,
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.
And, in
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
What we'll do.
Near, far, in our motor car Oh what a happy time we'll spend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.....

That's right. A classic to most, utterly despised at first by me.

It stems back to the second grade. The elementary school I went to offered a "year round" program, that took more breaks and had a school year that went past the traditional year. It was a great program, I had some awesome teachers and we did a lot of cool stuff.

As a result of going to school in the summer, it was sometimes deemed to hot to run around outside at recess and the lunch room would be closed as well (it could get toasty in Michigan and our school didn't have air conditioning because most classes didn't need it). So we'd eat lunch in our classroom and occasionally watch a movie.

On one of those days, it came down to a vote between something awesome (possibly The Lion King or Aladdin) and what Megan brought in. Megan brought in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. And just about everyone voted for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

I had never seen the movie or heard of it before that day. Being cranky from the heat and losing the chance to watch The Lion King or Aladdin (in school! That's awesome!), I was already slightly predisposed to not wanting to like it.

I don't remember much of the beginning of the movie, but nearly the nano-second the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang song started, I snapped. I didn't act out or anything, but I could just barely suppress how annoying I found the movie and the song. I remember nothing else from the viewing, let alone if we finished it, and I was happy about it. Screw that movie, I thought in my tiny brain. Screw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Rarely has a movie ever put so much rage in me.

Nearly twenty years later, I moved across the country to work in Hollywood. Luckily, I have family that lives out here and I was able to crash with them for free for a bit. That family includes a young cousin, who at the time I initially moved out there, happened to love a certain movie that had been the bane of a single day in my childhood: Chitty Chitty freakin' Bang Bang.

But I'm an adult. I'm not going to deny my sweet little cousin one of her favorites, and I barely remembered a thing about the movie anyway, so I decided to watch it with her one time.

Either we didn't finish the movie that week in class, or I blocked the entire thing from my memory because the movie I watched was almost nothing like what I remembered.

Sure I remembered the beginning (sort of):

At this point in the movie, I'm neutral, it's about as innocuous as I expected. But then things get weeeeeeird.

Like, Child Catcher Weird:
What the hell?

Yeah, I definitely would have remembered that if I had seen it. But it gets weirder from there:

Now you're just screwing with me movie!

After a few more viewings, I came around to the movie because it was more bizarre than I could have ever expected and I loved how freaking weird it is. It came as no surprise when I learned that Roald Dahl had written the script, since he specializes in terrorizing kids with awesomely weird stories (I love his work).

So while it's not my favorite, the rage I felt as a seven year old has subsided significantly to mere befuddlement at how strange the movie actually is. Apart from a slight dislike of Dick Van Dyke (no specific reason, I just never liked him much as a kid or now), I quite enjoy the movie actually.

The song's still in your head, isn't it?

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