Thursday, March 30, 2017

Like You Were There: Movie Night at Patrick's House

by Mike Pomaro
Erika and I went to high school together, and post-high school would attend some of the same parties. At one such party, Erika took me over to talk to Patrick because we both loved movies. We quickly hit it off discussing our shared love of The Evil Dead, only to end the night disagreeing about Saving Private Ryan. Some things never change. Almost 20 years later, I'm lucky enough to call Patrick one of my best friends, and thanks to him, I get to enjoy the occasional movie night in his lovely home.

Watching a movie at Patrick's house is on the list of my favorite things in the world to do, somewhere between snuggling on the couch with my daughters and studying Targaryen bloodlines. This is how it usually goes down: It starts with a text message from Patrick asking if I'm available to come over for a movie. In no time at all I'm out the door.

On the way I always stop at a McDonald's near Patrick's house to pick up a large Dr. Pepper, easy ice. It's not that Patrick doesn't offer me a drink when I get there, it's just that I picked up a Dr. Pepper on the way there once and I'm a creature of habit, so McDonald's it is.

I park my car in front of the Bromley household and start to walk up. It's usually about halfway up the driveway that I remember I'm wearing a Game of Thrones shirt, and I quietly curse myself. Maybe this time Patrick won't mention it. Patrick answers the door and immediately mentions the shirt. Luckily, his two adorable children, Charlie and Rosie, come running up to greet me, temporarily stopping their father from making fun of me.

I say hello to Charlie and Rosie and follow them into the house. Now this is where things get tricky. My wife and I lovingly refer to what happens next as the Erika Vortex. Anyone who has spent any time on this site knows that Erika is a wonderfully kind person, but to experience Erika in person is something else entirely. She's the most welcoming person I've ever met and she makes it impossible to simply say hello to her. Before I know it, an hour has passed and Erika and I are giggling like the 12 year old girl I am deep inside. It takes Patrick dragging me away to break me free of the Vortex.

Into the basement we go.
Surrounded by thousands of DVDs and framed movie posters, the Bromley basement is a magical place. I immediately put my Dr. Pepper next to one of the two big comfy chairs in front of the big screen. I ask Patrick what's on the agenda and he pulls out three movies, two of them I've probably never heard of, only one of which Patrick has never seen. I choose that one, because it's more fun to discover a movie with someone else who also hasn't seen it. Before the movie starts, Patrick points out the Pizza Hut pizza that's waiting for us. You know how Coke tastes better at McDonald's or how your moms Macaroni & Cheese rules compared to anyone else's? Well, Pizza Hut tastes better in Patrick's basement. I don't know why, it just does.

With pizza in hand, and my butt in the seat, Patrick starts the movie.

Rarely have Patrick and I discovered a masterpiece having these movie nights. Most times, about five minutes in, Patrick will sigh and say something like, "We may have made a mistake." That's how I know I'm in for a fun night.

Early on one of us, usually Patrick, will make a joke that then becomes a running joke throughout the movie. This will be something like a voice we've assigned to an actor, one that'll we'll do for the next 90 or so minutes.

At one point I'll bust out an impression in the hopes that it'll make Patrick laugh. The thing is, I'm not very good at impressions. My trick is to sound just enough like the person I'm impersonating, and to hit you with the impression when you're not expecting it. The element of surprise makes it sound much more impressive than it actually is.

At various points throughout the movie, Patrick will hit me with all sorts of trivia. "See that guy playing the mailman? He went on to direct Air Bud 3." IMDB goes to Patrick to look stuff up. He's amazing.
While I don't normally like talking during movies, it's on these movie nights that Patrick and I catch up with one another. We still text and email regularly, and hang out on nights like this or at birthday parties, but the truth is our lives are much busier now than they were when we were younger, hanging out on the weekends or talking about the upcoming Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer on the phone for an hour. These movie nights have turned into the time when we can fill each other in on what's going on with our families, our jobs, whatever. This makes these evenings even more special to me as we get older.

When the movie is over, we tend to put on another one and sometimes a third. If it weren't for a need to eventually sleep, I'd watch movies in that basement until the morning.

After cleaning up after ourselves and heading upstairs, I turn to say goodbye to Erika. She's usually grading papers on the couch. I say that I must be leaving right away, but I just wanted to quickly say so long to her. An hour or so later, I finally leave.

I can't possibly put into words how much fun these nights are for me and how much I cherish them. At the end of the day, it's simple math: movies + pizza + Dr. Pepper + popcorn + Patrick = my favorite tradition.

Thank you for these movie nights and thank you for being a wonderful friend.

Happy birthday, Patrick.



  1. This series of P. Broms (hope i'm not overstepping the mark using such a term for this true gent #alwaysbetonbromley?) articles are truly heartwarming!!

  2. Aw, all the feels in the world right now. I love it. It really reads as if I was there.

  3. Awesome! I think it's safe to say that Mr. Bromley is amazing and that all of us who aren't in direct contact with him are missing out on something special. Love the 143 at the end as well. To this day I still use that pager code...and my personal pager code which was 432 has been part of my online user name for as long as I can remember. Ahhh...memories.

  4. Awww, it really is like I was there. Instead of just peering in through the basement window.

    I love your guyses friendship - glad we get to share in it - definitely one of the things that makes the site and podcast so great.

    Mike, I hesitate to say this because I think you and everyone should visit Canada sometime - hell, maybe just move here all together by Trump's 3rd or 4th term - but...our McDonaldses don't serve Dr. Pepper. When I read that I was really taken aback by your decadent American ways. But, hey, at least we call it "pop"!

    1. sorry, no need to reply..that was just so scary.

    2. lol very much joking...I hope?

    3. The day McDonalds started serving Dr. Pepper in our area was the greatest day of my life (neither my wife nor my kids will ever read this, so it's safe for me to be honest). I guess I'll still visit Canada one day, but ONLY because you guys aren't monsters and call it "pop".

    4. They may have Dr Pepper at McDonalds but they don't have ketchup chips Sol... They don't have ketchup chips...

  5. Ahhhh the feels. I love this article. I hope to have a 'movie night house' like Patrick one day.