First things first: Mission Impossible, uh, 4, is that what we’re on? The new one. It’s GREAT. Brad Bird, who directed two of my favorite animated films of the last decade, The Incredibles and Iron Giant (Ratatouille not so much, but I’ll give him a pass because he won an Oscar for it), did a bang-up job, even with the limitations of an all-human cast. There were some fantastic gadgets, the cast was both funny-creative (Simon Pegg) and muscley-smart-sensitive (Jeremy Renner), there were several not-implausible plot twists, crazy good stunts, and several super sexy BMWs, if you’re into that sort of thing (we are).
Unpredictably, our entire post-movie conversation was me trying to explain Scientology to my son.
Me: Too bad Daddy doesn’t like Tom Cruise, he would have loved that.
Jackson: Why doesn’t he like Tom Cruise?
Me: Uh, well . . .
My husband suffered some significant personal and professional difficulties when he was working for some Scientologists in L.A. more than a decade ago, and I can’t say much more about it but the wound is still raw enough that Tom Cruise movies = no. My main problem with Mr. Cruise is that toward the end his hair suddenly seemed too dark for his complexion. The guy is turning 50 next year and he was secure enough to flaunt his wonderfully fit midlife torso throughout the film, so I don’t know why a few sparkles of gray hair would make it any less believable that he’s climbing up the side of a skyscraper fueled by sticky gloves and an angry expression.
Me: The Church of Scientology is not a religion, even though it’s a church.
Jackson: . . . ?
Me: The whole thing was started by a science fiction writer in the 1950s. It’s all about having rules and sets of guidelines for living your life, and there are a lot of charts where you track your progress, which is useful, but maybe a little controlling, and it costs a lot of money to belong to the church because you have to pay for classes to learn about it and get to higher levels.
Jackson: . . . !
Me: And, you know, I realize it’s not cool not to like a guy because of his religion, and you know your dad’s not a racist, he’s like one of the least racist people I’ve ever known.
Jackson: Don’t you mean “religionist”?
Me: I don’t even know if that’s a word. So, yeah. Maybe ask your dad about all this when we get home.
Jackson: I have another question.
Jackson: What’s STD stand for?
Me: Sexually transmitted disease.
And that’s what we learned* from MI4: Ghost Protocol, now playing at a theater near you.
*That’s not true. We also learned that there’s a new G.I. Joe movie coming out, and a movie where Sasha Baron Cohen seems eerily indistinguishable from Adam Sandler (racist!), and Men In Black 3 where Will Smith goes back in time to find Agent K, and young Tommy Lee Jones is played by JOSH BROLIN! *jazz hands*