Celia Rivenbark

From the Belle Tower | ‘Inside Out’ more than an escape from the heat

Sadness, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Joy are characters in the mind of a child in the film “Inside Out.”
Sadness, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Joy are characters in the mind of a child in the film “Inside Out.” Disney/Pixar

I loved the movie “Inside Out” and not just because it provided a two-hour respite from the 100-degree temps outside.

There’s nowhere colder than a movie theater. Just ask Aunt Verlie, who refuses to go inside one without her official “movie theater sweater,” a well-worn oatmeal-colored cardigan which she keeps in the trunk of my car.

She also has a special “movie theater purse” which could, in theory, provide ample room for a 2-liter soda and a Ziploc bag of microwaved popcorn.

“Taking food inside is against the law,” she snapped when I pointed out that her tiny frame was leaning hard left, the purse side, as we headed into the multiplex from the steaming parking lot. Aunt Verlie’s not usually a rule-breaker, it should be pointed out. I know this because she refuses to remove a tag from any pillow, mattress or upholstered furniture until at least 20 years past purchase when she deems “the Statue of Limitations” has expired.

Aunt Verlie marveled at the changes since the last time we went to the movie theater together. For one thing, the concession stand now sells beer and wine.

“Who needs to be drunk to sit through a movie?” Verlie huffed. I wanted to tell her anyone who saw “The Expendables 3” or “Any Adam Sandler Movie” but that wouldn’t have been Christian.

“Next thing you know they’ll be selling molly and roofies in here,” she said narrowing her eyes suspiciously at the teenage boy restocking the candy counter. “I saw those on ‘Law & Order.’” But of course.

Movie theaters have decided that if you’re going to sell somebody popcorn by the bucket, you better install bigger seats. The theater now has actual La-Z-boy style oversized recliners for patrons who don’t want to give up all the comforts of home.

I embrace the recliners-in-theaters movement because, while it is said to reduce actual seating by up to 70 percent, it is the only chance hipster Darrell will ever get to enjoy the Papa Bear chair he really wants to sink into at the end of the day instead of that tortured mid-century barrel chair that hits him on the exact wrong part of his back that his vegan girlfriend insisted on buying.

“Inside Out” is a cartoon movie that works on many levels. The 6-year-old behind us howled and sniffled in all the right places as did her grandparents. Many thumbs up.

While I tried to ignore the felonious consumption of Orville Redenbacher beside me, I marveled at the movie’s clever take on memories: Good and bad ones were sorted and stored as multicolored balls in an overflowing warehouse. Core memories, the most special of all, were threatened by Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger inside the brain of an 11-year-old girl.

The bad memories have purpose, too, the movie reminds us. They compel us to do everything we can to get it right the next time around. That’s good advice on this miserable day in the South.

CELIA RIVENBARK is the New York Times best-selling author of “Rude B****** Make Me Tired.” Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

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