The movie had been by our television for three weeks.
"Let's just put it on for an hour, and if we don't like it, we'll send it back," Rob said.
In a bout of connective zeal, I had put "The Seven Samurai" in our Neflix queue. It was supposed to have something for every one of us. It was a movie that influenced George Lucas (Star Wars, for Rob and Nate), was the blueprint for many Westerns (me), and it was Japanese (Madelyn).
It was also over three hours long, made in 1954, and in subtitles. So it sat.
Then Rob made his suggestion. We put it on at 8 PM. The kids had the choice to either watch it or read in bed. Reluctantly, Nate took up a blanket, crossed his arms, and "harumphed" onto his seat. An hour, later, Madelyn had drifted off (which she does regardless of the movie, once it's past 8:30), and Nate was groggy, but we were still watching. I didn't want to stop. It was obviously the influence for all those "get the gang together" movies, like Sneakers and Ocean's Eleven and, oh, that Bruce Willis/Ben Affleck one about saving the world from a meteor. The A-Team, my favorite show as an eight year old, was modeled after it.
Rather than a quick, rock music-themed montage or opening voice over, the samurai meet one another in scene after scene, and we get to know each character. The story unfolds rather than rushing. It gives time for the personalities to be established well before any action. It's got some swearing (not too bad, but words like "bastard" and "hell" and "ass"--enough to get Nate tittering). At least he had to keep reading to keep up. It's got a gentle love story. It has sequence after sequence of non-computer generated action. The blueprints for Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi are in this movie.
We put it in the next day and finished it, damp and drizzly day that it was. What a find!
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