Kids often times have one single moment, perhaps more, of complete and utter stupidity that they’ll never forget for the rest of their lives. I have one such moment, a moment that has stayed with me for the past 17 or so years. And the sad thing is, it was a moment that last about 17 seconds, yet, it still resides within my memory; haunting me, teasing me.
It was September of 1988 and I was seven years-old. I travelled with my mom from Jersey to Zephyrhills (yes, that Zephyrhills), Florida to visit my grandparents and their new home. Seeing how Zephyrhills is as exciting as you can imagine, we decided to head to the movie theater and watch movie.
The theater in this amazing town only held two films at a time. Our choices were Lethal Weapon 2 and Gorillas in the Mist. Being that I was only 7, my mom opted not for the Rated R action spectacular. She instead chose the safe PG-13 movie about the life and times of Dian Fossey. I wanted fire, explosions, gun fights, etc. My mom wanted Sigourney Weaver and a couple of monkeys.
I remember the film being longer than one could care for. By the end, when some unknown person stabs Weaver and kills her, I was happy to see the screen fade to black.
As we walked out of the theater, my mom says, “That’s sad. Did you know that was a true story?”
My ignorant mind at the time couldn’t quite comprehend what my mom meant by that. My brain spun that as meaning that the actual Sigourney Weaver went to Africa, fought for some gorillas, then got stabbed. My 7 year-old mind thought that meant that when Ghostbusters 2 finally came out, it would be Weaver-less.
“So, that lady really died?” I asked.
“Yes, yes she did.”
Check out how dumb I was…
“So, Sigourney Weaver is really dead?”
My mom looked at me like I was the dumbest kid on the planet. She had a look on her face like, “This kid came out of my womb?”
She then explained to me what a film “based on a true story” meant. It was a film, fiction, fake… like The Da Vinci Code. Sigourney Weaver wasn’t dead. The person she was playing was dead.
That was the dumbest 17 seconds of my life. And a moment I will never forget, although my mother has no recollection of this story, which is for the best.
Sigourney Weaver was nominated for an Academy Award for this film. Perhaps there was a member of the Academy who thought she was dead too. But she wasn’t and because of this, we were able to see a few more Alien sequels, that second Ghostbusters movie I was so amped about then, and lest we forget 1492: Conquest of Paradise.
Actually, maybe we lest.