lion-king
Image via Wikipedia

“In the jungle, the mighty jungle”

by Jason Benoit, Esq.

I abhor The Lion King like a constipated man abhors cheap toilet paper.

I know, I know, for those of you who are Disney freaks out there this is tantamount to pissing on Walt’s grave . . . or something. (Stop lying to yourselves, we all know he’s cryogenically frozen.)

You know how there are those people who hate horror movies because when they were five-years-old, Mom and Dad went out for date night leaving your big brother to babysit you and he puts on Texas Chainsaw Massacre and now you’re scarred for life?

Yeah, my Lion King experience is something sorta like this!! Two exclamation points, just pointing it out so you know I’m being serial reals right now.

Okay, all of my pent up emotions are making me get ahead of myself here. I should probably start from the beginning.

Deep breath.

Recently, a few friends of mine had gotten into an argument about what is the greatest Disney film of all-time. I’m quite certain they are both lifelong virgins. Now, assuming that you (the reader) have a rather satiated pallet of Disney movie-watching experience, I’m sure you (like I) have a pretty strong opinion on this.

As apparently so did many other people I know. Anyhow, these two virgins decided to build out a March Madness-style bracket to answer this seemingly unanswered dire questions: which is truly the best? They broke the entire field down into four groups: Disney Experiments and Returns Era, Disney/Pixar Era, Disney Classic Era, and, of course, the Disney Affirmative Action Era (hello, Mulan anyone)?

Then, they created a Facebook group and invited a couple of their closest 800 friends, asking them to each vote until the field narrowed down single-elimination-style all the way to an eventual winner because . . . “There can only be one!”

Sorry, nerdery intermissions aside . . . I did not vote for The Lion King. Many out there will say it’s Disney’s finest work. The most seminal film of their childhood. Blah blah blah get out more. But I would not vote for it. I was staunch in this resolution. Unwavering.

Yet, week after week, it kept advancing in the bracket. It could not be defeated. It was the train barreling down the tracks just gaining momentum as it moved along mowing down innocent children left and right! Me? I wanted Peter Pan to win. A movie about flying and boys never growing up, shirking responsibility? Um, yes, that speaks pretty awesomely to my 29-year-old self who enjoys eating Doritos and playing XBox on the weekends without wearing pants.

*It’s been proven that wearing pants is the direct moment that correlates to being an adult. I’ll conveniently not source this scientific research later in this post.

So, we’re finally down to the final week of voting. It’s The Lion King (groan) vs. Peter Pan! This is it . . . Simba is finally going to get to suck it!

I voted, vigorously, and then waited . . .

. . . and waited . . .

. . . and waited . . .

These guys weren’t really good with timely deadlines.

But, finally, the results arrived. I clicked on my little Facebook notification, eager to finally rip victory and justice from the clutches of evil, and what do I find:

“By a final round score of 48-30, The Lion King defeated Peter Pan.”

Are you fucking kidding me!?!?!

Okay, you’re probably saying to yourself right about now that my hatred of The Lion King is unjustified. That you’re certain my basis for such venom is rooted in some petty self-masturbatory bullshit moment of nothingness.

And you’re right. It totally is . . . Or is it?

So, a couple weeks ago was Mother’s Day. I had written a lovely little post for the site talking about my first experience watching an R-rated movie on my birthday (White Men Can’t Jump). How my parents made us take pictures with underwear on our heads (Mom then went about digging up said photo and texting it to me).

jason-benoit-hollywood-journal

(I was told they were clean underwear . . . then again, I don’t trust my Dad most times.)

My mother reads the post and calls me up and tells me how worried she was that I was going to write about another movie experience we shared . . . The Lion King.

I had tried to suppress these memories, but now that she was basically wagging her finger in my face, taunting and daring me, I thought, “You know what, this is what you get.”

So, I have a sister who is only two years older than me. On Sundays, we’d wake up long before Mom and Dad because all kids are little shitty bastards who are selfish and hate to let parents sleep in. It’s burned into their DNA. There we were, first sliver of sunlight, popping up out of bed tramping into the living room, making all sorts of loud noises. Now, to fully grasp this story you need to understand that in our house the living room is right outside my parent’s master bedroom, and thus shared a wall.

As usual Sunday practice, my sister (a big Disney cartoon fan herself) would pull out a VHS from her collection and pop one in. This particular Sunday it was The Lion King.

We’re sitting there, watching the movie, minding our own business. Bopping our heads along to the catchy tunes, when . . . something odd happens. There’s a weird noise.

We pause the movie, and the noise stops.

Odd.

Thinking nothing of it, we put the movie back on . . . and sure enough, within a couple minutes, there’s that noise again.

My sister and I look at one another, flummoxed: What ever could that noise be?

Curious minds and whatnot.

So, we both stand, eyeing my parent’s bedroom door. Peeling ourselves from our bowls of Kix and arise, tiptoeing towards the closed door . . .

Leaning closer . . .

Tiny virgin ears pressed against the door, only to hear . . .

The most terrifying, heinous, soul-shattering sound a young child could ever possibly hear!

Yes, my parents were doing it.

Doing . . . it! Doing all of it! Whatever all of it is.

That sound, a squeaking box spring and muffled moans. (Sorry for the graphic details).

They were having sex and trying to mask it by the sound of The Lion King playing on the TV!

I mean . . . How could they . . . I just . . . We were kids . . . I just . . . I just can’t.

. . .

To this day, my sister does not let a holiday pass without reminding my mother of the fact that she forever scarred into our psyches that The Lion King is tied to catching Mom and Dad getting their freak on. I don’t think of hakuna matata. I don’t think about “no worries for the rest of our days”. Oh no. No siree.

Now, two decades later, a more mature person might write this memory off and be proud of his parents for still making time for whoopee to foster their healthy relationship . . . but that person is not me.

So, yes, I did want The Lion King to lose. I wanted it to lose long and I wanted it to lose hard.

. . .

I’m already regretting my choice of words here.

Needless to say, if I ever have a kid (girlfriend, if you are reading this right now, that means never), then I will make sure to do my best to also traumatize said rugrat with the magic of Walt Disney.

Hi, Mom! (Revenge is a dish best served cold . . . and twenty years later.)

Jason Benoit, Esq.

About Jason Benoit, Esq.

Jason Benoit is a young screenwriter based in Los Angeles, California. He has developed projects in both film and television with producers around town. He was reared on Cheetos and nightly doses of Tylenol PM and is adamant about attaching the suffix Esquire to his name. We've agreed to humor his request. Follow him on Twitter @jbenoitfilm

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