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March 26th, 2006

It was a movie watching weekend in the land of cheese. And I do mean cheese.

I started out with standards. I finally got a copy of the new Pride and Prejudice, and was settling down to some happy sniffling at Lizzie and Darcy, when the living room filled with teenage boys which ruined everything, and I had to cut it short. Still meaning to get back to it. The boys won’t be in the living room forever.

Eventually, they’ll go to college and I can finish my movie.

Round two: I rented Lord of War off Pay-per-view. Fun for the whole family, right? Dark humor. A message. And guns, which will keep the teenage boys quiet.

A good movie. But it was dark. No. Darker than that. Really, really dark. “Deer Hunter” dark. Made “Three Kings” look like a cartoon. After two hours I was depressed, and both kids had lost a little bit more of their innocence.

But then: a miracle. As we were getting ready to shut the TV off, we discovered “Godzilla: Final Wars.”

Craptastic. Craptacular. The best thing that happened to me since I realized that “The Brain That Could Not Die” and “Attack of the Giant Leeches” are available as free (and possibly even legal) downloads from

Veoh.com

But enough leeches. What about Godzilla? you ask.

Actually, you’re probably asking “Why?” instead of “What about…”

When number one son was little and having one of the many vomit-filled late nights that little kids have, where you doze with them on the couch while holding the bucket and passing the flat soda, we found a Japanese monster marathon on TV.

That night, Godzilla became a permanent member of the family.

It’s hard not to love something so stupid, but with such a good heart. Rubber monsters stomp Tokyo. And stomp again. You may be sick on the couch, and you think your life is crummy, but at least you’re not Japan.

And Godzilla introduced us to an incredible cast of characters. Biolante, the mutant rose bush, with the spirit of a scientist’s daughter, but the DNA of Godzilla. I stand, in slack-jawed amazement, before that movie. A 60 foot tall, killer rose bush.

Eborah, the giant, killer shrimp. Not accompanied by the cocktail sauce monster. Not even a volcano of garlic butter. Just a menacing shrimp. A jumbo shrimp, but still a shrimp.

And mothra. Rainbow winged, and fuzzy. And a moth. Accompanied by singing pixies. And hedora, from Godzilla vs. the Smog monster, which also had psychedelic go-go dancing scenes.

There are a couple dozen movies, and each of them has some element that makes me go “What the Hell…” Our collection is not complete, but we’re working on it. And I have children who turn off the subtitles and watch in Japanese.

Should we ever go to Japan, they are prepared. They can say “hello”, “goodbye” and “Kaiju! Dai Kaiju! Gojira! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” (Monster! Big Monster! Godzilla! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”) This will be really handy, if anything tries to step on us.

And thanks to Eborah, when dining, we’ll be having the shrimp.

Of course, in the latest movie, turning off the subtitles would spoil the perfection of the film. I intended to walk away from that movie and get some work done. The fact that one of the main characters was a gruff-talking American with a Samarai sword was not particularly interesting. Of course, he would be speaking fluent English.

But how could he be hearing fluent Japanese? Everyone else was talking Japanese. But he was answering them in English. Was he reading the subtitle backwards? What the hell…

And then the strangely androgynous alien arrived, looking kind of like someone crossed “The Matrix”, with “An Evening at La Cage.”

and there was the hot biologist, whose working uniform was a red leather jacket and mini-skirt. And the reporter, who for some reason was carrying around the world’s ugliest dog. And the mutant ninjas wearing the clear plastic body armour.

And the monsters. This was the final Godzilla movie, and 50 years worth of monsters arrived to do a star turn and curtain call, knocking over a couple of world landmarks before being dispatched by Big G.

Even the American Godzilla (known in our house as GINO for Godzilla in name only) had a scene or two. And a battle with the real Godzilla. A very brief battle. I guess they showed us who’s boss when it comes to giant monsters.

And in the end, when the world was in smoking ruins, Godzilla walked off into the sunset. Literally.

And yet, it was passed over at Oscar time. Life is so unfair.