I took my two kids to see the new Ghostbusters movie this week.
My brother and my niece and nephew also came along. I'll be the first to admit that my initial feelings about the movie weren't great. Why mess with a classic?
It didn't need a reboot. The original remains one of the best movies made ever. (Says me, and I'm right, so there).
But I decided to give it a go - and I'm glad I did. It was just good fun. Just a fun, funny, little bit scary, girl power-y kind of a movie and I loved it . I genuinely took a fit of the giggles at one scene and laughed out loud many times throughout. (And not the fake kind of a laugh you do when watching kids' movies with the childer and trying to let them know 'That bit there - that bit - that was funny...Look!')
My brother had first suggested bringing the kids along as Ghostbusters was one of the first movies he remembers going to see in "the pictures" (the old Strand Cinema in Derry).
It was such a magical experience as a child and he wanted to share some of that magic with his nieces and nephews.
As we stood outside waiting to go in, my brother and I became that sad pair of old relatives who begin a "in my day" conversation.
Oh yes, we told them how the old cinema had just two screens. Their eyes widened when we told them you didn't even get popcorn. You brought your own sweet, a packet of chewits or, if your parents were feeling particularly flush, you got a packet of poppets from the concession booth.
In the interval (the interval, for the love of God.... a blessed thing which allowed over excited children and pelvic floor challenged mothers the chance to go for a wee without missing a key scene of the movie) - we might have got a Rocket Ice Lolly - if we were very lucky.
To get in to the Strand in Derry you often had to queue in the street. I remember on one gut wrenching occasion queuing for half an hour only to get near the top and find out chosen movie - The Care Bears Movie - was sold out.
I was distraught.
But there was little like the lowering of the lights, the frankly naff ads for local shops and then the start of the music to signal a movie was about to start.
You knew you were seeing something out of the ordinary and God love my parents they made sure we saw all the classics - the Star Wars movies, Superman, Ghostbusters - the classics that made a childhood magical.
Today's children won't ever really understand that. They can switch their widescreen TVs on and watch a movie almost whenever they want. Kids movies are churned out at a rate of knots and believe me, from my experience they usually err on the very sucky side. (Tips for the uninitiated, avoid in particular Marmaduke or anything with a Wimpy Kid in the title).
So when you get a movie that just makes you (as in me) feel like that excited child again then it's a rare and brilliant thing.
And when my seven year old nephew turned to me and said "This movie is so good, it's giving me the shakes" - I knew exactly what he meant.
So - my recommendation is, go and see Ghostbusters. Enjoy the innocent fun it brings. Enjoy the nostalgia. If you can find a pocket of Poppets slip them in your bag and bring them too.
Why Skirting the Issue?
For 14 years I wrote my Skirting the Issue column for the Derry Journal each Friday - I may have moved on, but I still have opinions!