I just returned from five days in Honduras, most of them spent fending off grasshoppers the size of toasters and buying watermelon from bus vendors (Dear CTA, something to consider?). I also discovered that the orphans I was hanging out with, Honduran boys ages five through 15, were strangely current when it came to movies they'd seen. I learned quickly that this is due to Central America's profitable bootleg DVD trade, where you can buy a copy for a movie that hasn't even been made yet for the price of the previously mentioned watermelon. So the upside is that you end up seeing movies before even the actors themselves see them. And the downside is that you don't really see the movie at all. Instead what you see is a second-hand movie theater experience, shaky camcorder held so that half the screen is missing, scenes interrupted by people getting up to go to the bathroom, the ever-present crunch of popcorn eating in the background, the hum of an air conditioner. In the end, you hear more chewing and mouth breathing than dialog. And ultimately, you wonder if you just should've opted for the watermelon instead.
On one rainy night, sitting on folding chairs in an open-air mess hall, the boys were given a choice between the newest Harry Potter movie, Up and G-Force, a movie centered around the adventures of talking gerbils. Not one to outwardly influence the vote, I secretly hoped they'd choose Up, but to no avail. What followed was 90 minutes of gerbils in goggles and space gear talking in rapid-fire, badly dubbed Spanish. I got up and left a quarter of the way through, when walking back to our house through the darkness and the wet grass and a fine layer of toaster-sized grasshoppers seemed more enjoyable than the movie. And I don't even know why I'm telling you this except to to say that bootlegged movies are fascinating, and Spanish-speaking gerbils are funny, and together they are intolerable, but that is only my opinion. Nine of out of 10 Honduran orphans would probably think otherwise.