The Washington Times-Herald

January 4, 2014

The secret life of Mr. Banks and Saving Walter Mitty

BY Lindsay Owens
Times Herald

---- — Most everyone has a New Year’s Eve tradition. It’s probably a safe bet to say that most of those traditions include a nice dinner followed up with a movie or a trip to the local bar.

Rather than braving the crowds anxiously waiting in the movie theater lines Tuesday evening, the darling boyfriend and I headed to the theater for a Sunday afternoon double feature, “The Secret Life of Walter” and “Saving Mr. Banks.”

Lucky for us, I have an AMC Stubs card and we were only four matinee tickets and two large drinks away from earning that coveted $10 reward. I must say, both movies were well worth the money even though many critics said Walter Mitty failed to live up to the hype.

Walter Mitty was of course nothing like the original, filmed in 1947 and starring Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo and one of my all-time favorites, Boris Karloff. The story was modernized. There was no little black book containing the whereabouts of the WWII Dutch crown jewels and mysterious lady. Both those things that I found so intriguing in the original had been replaced by a single mom with a three-legged dog Walter is in love with and an important missing photo frame for the final print copy of Life Magazine.

The plot involves multiple conversations between Walter and an account executive from an online dating site who tries to help Walter build a better profile while Walter flies around the world in search of frame number 25 for the magazine cover.

In the end, of course, he finds himself, the missing frame and gets the girl.

While I had read the short story of Walter Mitty when in school, the darling boyfriend had not and probably thought I was crazy for constantly saying the modern version was definitely not like the old movie or book. Naturally, I reminded him that this movie was still much better than the last one we saw (one that he picked) and it was also much shorter.

We had a whole 15 minutes between movies. While I stood in line to refill my large drink, the darling one jumped back in a long line to get our tickets for “Saving Mr. Banks.” Once he navigated the line, and met me at the concession counter, I informed him I was ready for my free popcorn now that we had earned that $10 reward.

With much reluctance he gave in, my free popcorn was being buttered and I was on the way to a movie I had patiently been waiting to see since I first saw the previews months ago.

I’m not sure why or how he really thought I could be around all that popcorn for over five hours and not actually eat any.

Nothing like I had imagined, “Saving Mr. Banks” proved to be good but maybe just not quite as good as I had anticipated.

I did however find the author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers, quite fascinating and spent some time after the movie researching her life.

All in all it was a great day.

I saw two great movies, had a big bag popcorn and didn’t have to brave the crowds and cold and the darling boyfriend, well, he got to spend all afternoon with me and didn’t have to pay for that $10 popcorn.

Lindsay is busy planning her next trip to the theater. She’s only $100 away from her next $10 reward.