"What...what kind of childhood did you HAVE?!" I asked him, "How is it you have not heard of `Pigs in Space?' "
He shrugged a bit sheepishly and I mentioned that I had had a friend in art school that had never seen Wizard of Oz. This boggled me. How did one grow up without ever seeing Wizard of Oz? I mean...it was on every single year!
Of course, then I reflect on how most of my peers react when I tell them I had never seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory until I was 28. I got the same reaction from them as I had given my friend who had never seen Wizard of Oz. I don't know how I missed seeing it. Was it on television every year?
They would talk about how the boat ride scared them as well as the Oompa Loopas and then they would shrill "I want an Ooompa Loompa NOOOOW!!!!" and laugh as their childhood came flooding back.
It wasn't as if I was altogether unfamiliar with the story. My family had the book CHARLIE and the Chocolate Factory and I had, point in fact, read it several dozen times.
When I finally SAW the movie though I was dumbfounded. THIS is it? Um...this movie is crap! It's badly paced, it's weird for no reason and it's not nearly, nearly as good as the book. The songs are unmemorable and I have no idea how the Ooompa Loopas of the book turned into these strange orange and green little men and their rhymes weren't nearly as clever.
Charlie is cute and so is Grandpa Joe...but that was about it. And like the boat ride... Gene Wilder is just strange...for no real reason except to be strange. I mean...the heck?!
When I tell this to my friends they are outraged at me.
Which makes me wonder if Wizard of Oz really is a terrific film or if I'm just biased. I mean...some of my earliest, earliest memories are sitting on my dads lap as he read to us The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and boy THAT book is sure different than the movie. Plus...the Wicked Witch of the West locking Dorothy up with that hour glass is waaaaay more terrifying than anything Gene Wilder's boat ride or Oompa Loompa's served up.