One Movie, One Kid and 295 Questions

TOWER GROVE — Since he grew as weary as his parents of the Little Einstein videos, the boy wonder has been a movie nut. It was “Happy Feet” that sparked his love, “Star Wars” that strengthened it and, recently, a summer loaded with superhero movies that cemented it. Perhaps this fondness for movies was most obvious when on our way home from school one day he outlined his plan to make “Spider-Man 4” and told me that he was readying other movies he planned to make.

“They’re in development,” he said as if he knew what he was talking about.

That said, watching a movie for the first time with Ian, age 5, is a rigorous experience. This is when it’s clear that as much as he loves movies he is still the son of two journalism majors. The questions start before you can press play, and they don’t end until the movie does. He recently woke up while I was watching “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” and decided to watch it with me.

“Is this real, Daddy?” he asked.

“No, it’s just a story.”

“Well, then why are they using real days of the week, like Wednesday? Why did they say Wednesday if this isn’t real?”

And that’s an easy one.

In the past couple weeks, the boy wonder has showed an increasing curiosity about “Star Trek” — especially how all the movies and television shows and the remake fit together to make the space opera. To meet his interest and prep for our visit to “Star Trek: The Experience” at the St. Louis Science Center today, we agreed to watch “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.” Knowing that I was in for a press conference as much as a movie night, I decided to take notes and write down every question he asked so that I could count them as much as anything.

The move is 118 minutes long.

Ian did not ask 118 questions.

He asked 295.

I am not making that number up. I have proof. Submitting as evidence, here are the 295 questions the little guys asked during the 118-minute movie. If you know the plot — Captain Kirk gets into trouble; Spock helps him get out of it; there are Klingons — you will see the clear references to what is going on the movie, and you will see how Ian often spirals away from the plot to ask another question. But he does not stray far from “Star Trek,” and as I read through these questions again you can see how he’s trying to figure out the story. Warning: spoilers ahead. Trust me, you’ll at least want to read his summation question, which he decides to answer himself.

Scene: I press play. And we’re off. Welcome to the Ian experience  …

Are there whales in No. 6?

How many discs is this movie?

Will we have time to watch it all?

Do they talk the same when they’re old?

Is it OK for me to see this movie?

What is this rated?

Is this when he was a baby? Do they show when he was a baby?

Have you ever see the new (reboot) one?

How many times?


When you didn’t see in the theater, where were you?

Do we have them all on DVD?

Is this old school?

How long are these words (the opening credits) going to go on?

If somebody is on the cover of the movie, they have to be in the movie right?

Did a ship blow up?

When did a ship blow up?

How did (the moon Praxis) blow up?

Where is Captain Clark? I mean Kirk …

Is he in the beginning of No. 2?

What kind of planet blew up?

Did they ever go to that planet?


Where is an alien guy?

Who is Praxis?

Does he die (the Klingon on the screen)?

Is that one of the aliens?

Is he a bad guy or a good guy?

Why is he in No. 6?

Did the guy with the fire all around him — did he die?

How do they know his name?

Is that Captain Kirk?

Who is speaking?

How come Captain Kirk isn’t sitting by Spock? I thought they were friends.

How does he know about Praxis?

How do you know all about Star Trek, and I don’t, daddy?

Who is the bad guy in No. 1?

Why isn’t there a bad guy?

What do they do?

How come Captain Clark isn’t talking?

That’s him right? That’s Captain Kirk?

How do they defeat the bad guys?

Do they blow up their ship?

Is there bugs in this or not?

Is Captain Kirk leaving?

What’s his real name?

Is that a space station?

What planet are they going to?

Do they rescue them at the end?

Why don’t they go to Earth?

Has Spock been on Earth before?

Where’s his chair (on the bridge)?

What’s he doing? What’s Spock doing (in prayer robes)?

Why is he lighting candles?

Daddy, is she the one that Spock holds onto by the cheek?

Does he get mad at her?

What does she do?

Why are you wearing a sweatshirt?

Are those bad guys?

Is he the bad guy?

Is he a good guy or bad guy?

How does he know him?

How come the guy who is trying to be good knows he’s a captain?

Does everybody know he’s a captain?

Why does he become bad?

Where is the guy with the eye patch?

Why does he become a bad guy?

He’s not a human is he?

What’s a Klingon?

Why is he wearing an eye patch?

How did he lose his eye?

Why are there lines on their faces, on their foreheads like that?

Why are they having dinner together?

How come they have hair?

What is he eating?

Did you see Spock?

Why are they done with dinner? What went wrong?

Does he turn into a bad guy now?

Why doesn’t he believe him?

Does he get a sword or not?

Do they sword or not?

Who is that a picture of on Captain Kirk’s desk? Oh, don’t get me started on his son …

Which one (movie) is scary for me?

Why is No. 2 scary for me?

Did they do that or not?

Who did it? Another bad guy?

Can humans float?

Who is hitting them?

Are they doing it by accident?

Why are they shooting them?

Why is shooting them taking their blood?

Does he get defeated right now?

Does anybody else get defeated?

Why are they killing them?

Why are they still floating there?

Is the other bad guy dead?

Where is he then?

Did he think Captain Kirk did it?

What is the white thing in their suits?

Why did they kill them?

Are they good or bad?

Why do they still think he did it?

Don’t you see he got shot?

Does he come back alive?

How come he’s moving?

Is that Captain Kirk?

Is he arresting the chancellor?

Is he dead?

Why did they make him die in this story?

Is Captain Kirk sad about that?


Why are they under arrest?

How come the guys who shot the lasers didn’t float like the Klingons?

Is Spock lying?

How come the ship fired?

How come Spock would say that it didn’t?

Is he the master now?

Does that make sense to you?

What does it mean? What does it mean!?

Does the president think they did it?

Does he think they defeated the chancellor?

How come they keep saying Mr. President, Mr. President, Mr. President, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?

Does the president need to update his Facebook status?

Does he come again in the movie?

Are there humans on there, or only Captain Kirk?

Oh, was the chancellor her father?

What are they doing?

Is there a skull anywhere in this movie? I need to know now.

How come they don’t believe Captain Kirk?

Now does he get mad at her?

Where is he?

Is he on the prison planet?

Who is cheering?

If it’s so cold there, how are they speaking?

How come his arm is gone?

How is he still alive?

What does ‘incompetent’ mean?

Who’s coming out?

How do they know about his son?

Was he fighting aliens?

Why would Captain Kirk let his son battle a bunch of aliens?

Would you let me do that?

What did he want him to do?

Why didn’t he stay?

Where was he?

how come he didn’t bring his son with him?

You would take me if you worked on a spaceship, right?

Who is up there?

Daddy, does Spock know Captain Kirk’s son?

Tell me who doesn’t know him.

How do the Klingons know what happened to Captain Kirk’s son?

Why does he have sharp claws?

Why does he have a deep voice?

Is he a real judge?

Why does he have sharp claws if he’s a judge? (Tears start to well up, and Ian becomes emphatic.) I don’t need sharp claws to hold a ball. Why does he, Daddy? Why?

Is that ship still going down?

Why do they call it Star Trek?

Is this where he gets mad?

Why does he get mad at her (Kim Cattrall’s character)?

Did she want to join that team or not?

Why would he get mad at her then?

Why is she keeping a secret from her team?

Are they on Earth or something?

Is that whether the Klingons are now?

Who are those people?

Do some of them die?

Are those all Klingons?

Is he a Klingon?

What is he?

What’s she doing?


How come they look different in No. 6 than they do in (the reboot) No. 7? Captain Clark looks really different.

It is No. 7 isn’t it?

Did you know the judge is really holding a tiny cannonball?

Is the judge old?

What is your favorite Stark Trek?

Who’s that?

What happened to him?

Why did they throw that guy into the snow?

Who are these two?

Is that still Captain Clark? I mean Kirk.

Daddy, who got defeated in No. 1?

Who gets defeated in No. 2?

Who is Khan?

Do the bugs get defeated?

Did Khan send the bugs into the guys’ ears?

In No. 1, do Captain Kirk just meet Spock?

Who wins this fight?

Is that still Captain Clark?

Who killed Chancellor Gorkon?

Who the heck is Gorkon anyway?

Who is that? Is that an alien?

What is that?

From what?

Did the magnetic boot guys step in the blood?

How did they get back to the ship, the Enterprise?

Why did they kill the chancellor?

Do they talk ever?

What are they doing?


Is he a robot?

What happened to his feet?

He’s an alien, right?

What are they doing?

What does that mean?

Who is that?

Was that a Klingon?

How did that Klingon freeze?

Did he fall down?

How long did they walk?

No, how many miles did they walk?

Is he the guy who is an alien?

Who is that?

How come he (McCoy) can’t walk anymore?

Why do they call him ‘Bones’?

Who is that — the Klingons’ new master?

Is he speaking in Klingon?

What are they doing looking through books?

Who is that?

Why did he do that?

Is that Bones or him?

What are they doing?

Why are they fighting?

What is that?

Where is the guy with the eye patch now?

Is that Captain Clark who got shot?

What are they doing?

Where is he — somewhere in the ship?

Do you have a toy ship of the Enterprise?

How do they defeat him?

Does he blow up in the ship?

When do they stop speaking in Klingon?

How come Spock never unbuckles his shirt? All the others do …

Did they just get shot?

Did one of the Klingons shoot them?

Who just said ‘vaporized’?

What is ‘vaporized’?

What did Captain Kirk say?

Who is that?

Does he turn the light on?

Did she do it?

Why did she do it?

Is this where he holds her cheek?

Is that Bones?

How come she wanted to become a pilot?

Did the Klingons kill his son?

Did they take the kid before stabbing him?

Did they get mad at him?

How come her dad, the chancellor — not the judge, the eye patch guy, the other guy, or that other guy — kill Captain Kirk’s son if he didn’t know him?

Oh, did another group of Klingons do it?

What is she really?

What is a Vulcan?

What is Spock doing?

Is she a Klingon or not? You need to tell me.

What is a peace conference?

What is he doing?

Why is she screaming? He’s just touching her face.

Is he on another ship?

Where is the fighting?

What chapter is this?

How long is this movie so far?

Does that ship blow up?

Who are they talking about?

Why are they saying ‘she’ (about the Klingon’s ship)?

Are they going to a planet?

Why are they calling all the ships ‘she’?

Is it a girl?

Why are they just standing there?

Are they going to fight on the planet?

Are they getting hit?

Are there any bugs in this movie?

Do they have to rebuild their ship?

Do they have to rebuild it in time to make No. 7?

Why are there Klingons in No. 6? I thought they were only in No. 4.

How many Klingons are there in one movie?

No, how many movies are the Klingons in?

Is the eye patch guy in any other movie?

Who gets hurt when the ship blows up?

Are they looking for weapons?

Now does he die?

What’s he doing?

What!? Why is he trying to shoot the president?

Who is he?

Can we watch Captain America after this?

Is that the planet they’re talking about?

Who killed his son?

Did the eye patch guy do it?

Did one or two or three kill his son?

Did he defeat any?

Did he throw one in the hot lava?

What were the names of the Klingons who killed his son?

What are they leaving for?

Where is the guy with the alien feet?

What are they doing?

Why are they flying into the sun?

Did they blow up?

What is the next Star Trek rated?

Is Star Trek Disney?

After nearly two hours of straight, unrelenting cross-examination, this last question he, thankfully, answered himself.

“Of course it’s not Disney,” he said. “It had guns and blood and arms coming off and aliens. Lots and lots of aliens. That’s not Disney.”




4 thoughts on “One Movie, One Kid and 295 Questions

  1. Very nice post. You are a very patient father. Good for you. These are precious times. Don’t stop noting everything.

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