Solomon Jones: Solomon Jones: His wife and daughter are hooked on old movies

Posted: November 28, 2012

I'M NO Mitt Romney fan. He reminds me of Don Draper - the tough-talking, chain-smoking, woman-chasing ad executive from the hit AMC series "Mad Men." You can't tell me Mitt doesn't use Brylcreem on his hair and wear clothes from the '60s. I bet when he's at home, he dons his Rat Pack getup - complete with black suit, durable shoes, and skinny tie - the same outfit Don Draper wears when he's chasing his secretary around the desk.

Which brings me to my point. Mitt's views on women are a bit old-fashioned, and unfortunately for him, he paid for it at the polls. But while I'm still trying to imagine what Mitt's binder full of women actually looks like, I think we were too hard on him where women's issues were concerned. Frankly, when some said Mitt's views on women were old-fashioned, I was offended, because I kinda like old-fashioned women. I'm married to one.

It's not like she's wearing poodle skirts, twirling hula hoops and doing the Twist. But this isn't about her public persona. It's about what goes on behind closed doors. Before I reveal the true extent of the problem, however, I need you to know that I've tried almost everything. I've cajoled, teased and confronted. I've begged, pleaded and sought counsel.

Nothing has worked. So now, at great risk to my marriage, I'm revealing it for the world to see. LaVeta is addicted to old movies and TV shows, and it's tearing our family apart.

It wasn't a problem, at first. Though I prefer modern thrillers, I'd willingly sit on the couch with my wife and watch an old Joan Crawford flick. But about four years ago, when our daughter Eve began to follow in LaVeta's footsteps, old movies began to take over my house. I'd come home from work and they'd be watching some old Bette Davis movie . . . again. I attempted to ignore it, but ironically, as technology advanced, my wife retreated further back in time.

She bought the Alfred Hitchcock collection on DVD. She bought every Bette Davis movie from "A Stolen Life" to "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" The Turner Classic Movie network became a staple in our home, along with METV and the Antenna Network. Then disaster struck. We switched cable carriers and got a free Digital Video Recorder (DVR). LaVeta not only started archiving the classics, she recorded old B movies like "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."

I tried to deal with it. I really did. But when Eve started floating down the staircase quoting lines from "Sunset Boulevard" like, "Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up," I knew I had to do something. Not just for my own sake, but for the sake of my children.

One afternoon, after falling asleep on one of their old movies, I awakened and pulled Little Solomon aside. Like me, he hadn't yet been sucked into the old movie time warp. At 8 years old, his TV preferences consisted of World Wrestling Entertainment and cartoons with plenty of fart jokes.

"We have to get the TV remote from your mother," I said earnestly. "If we don't, everything in our house is going to be in black and white. You don't want that, do you son?"

He said no.

"Good," I said with a whisper. "Let's get our equipment."

As LaVeta and Eve watched "Vertigo" yet again, my son and I dressed in camouflage gear. Then we raided his toy box for supplies. We'd communicate with Power Rangers walkie-talkies, and though we hoped we wouldn't have to use force, we armed ourselves with a Nerf crossbow and rifle.

The plan was simple. Little Solomon would approach from the dining room while I'd circle around from the stairs. We'd outflank them, confiscate the remote control, and restore sanity in our household.

We hoped we could pull it off without collateral damage, but if we had to, we were willing to spill popcorn to bring our loved ones back from the brink.

"Big Papa to Little Man," I said into the Power Rangers walkie-talkie. "Move out."

"Roger that," Little Solomon said as he began crawling toward them from the dining room.

The plan seemed to be working, but as I sneaked around the steps, everything around me started to fade until it was completely black and white. A doorbell rang, and then she spoke the lines I'd heard so many times before in "Vertigo."

"I had the dream," Kim Novak told Jimmy Stewart. "The dream came back again."

That's when my eyes snapped open. LaVeta and Eve were still watching the movie. Little Solomon was upstairs watching WWE, and I was still there, dreaming of a time when I wouldn't be stuck in the past.

I felt just like Mitt Romney.

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