Late night TV movies have an endearing enigma about them. They’re usually not the greatest movies, but that’s the fun of it. It’s the whole experience of sitting in your uncle’s slightly chilly kitchen, staring glassy-eyed at the flat screen in all its glory, wondering how it got to be so late and why you’re still up.
Then you remember that it’s all your uncle’s fault. He had said to you, “Did you ever see Dragnet? It’s based off this old TV show with the same name.” And so you all sat down to watch the last two-thirds of it, waiting for tomorrow, when you’re going to a family reunion. You haven’t seen most of these people since last July, so you’re really excited.
You break out the boxes of portion-sized cereal and talk over the sound of the commercials and the rustling of the translucent plastic. You laugh at Tom Hanks putting on some random goatskin leggings and jumping into a snake pit.
Your uncle always shows you movies impossibly late at night and falls asleep every time. But that’s the fun of it. Your parents are back in your hometown, so for one night you can basically do anything you want. And that suits you just fine, even if you do end up seeing the bad parts of Air Force One at 2 AM, because that’s the whole point.
When the movie is, at some length, over, it’s just you and your sister in the kitchen, drawing portions of faces on squares of white paper.
Your sister turns to you and says tiredly, “You know we really should be getting to bed now…”
You roll your eyes and yawn. “I know…” but you just can’t seem to tear yourself away. The screen has you mesmerized.
Finally, after watching a particularly bad commercial about a product that is apparently a miracle at cleaning cars but looks like a rip-off, you force yourselves to turn off the TV and get up. Then you have to tiptoe upstairs as quietly as possible, because that’s the other important thing about late night movies- sneaking upstairs afterwards. And not getting caught.