Twenty years ago yesterday, a 14 year old boy went on his first date with a girl. They went to see Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner then they walked to the local mall and ate at Hardee’s. Seven years later, that boy and girl would get married. And thirteen years after that, that boy would decide to write a blog post about it. My wife and I decided to relive our first date as best we could while balancing schedules and kids. First up was a trip to Hardee’s. Then later in the evening, we decided to watch Robin Hood for the first time in 20 years.
I grew up enjoying Hardee’s. In fact, I recently referenced getting a few novelty cups from there. When I talk about enjoying Hardee’s, I’m talking the old Hardee’s with the orange and brown color scheme. I liked their burgers, including the specialty ones they offered. And I enjoyed their breakfast and thought it superior to McDonald’s fast food breakfast. By the early 90s, they seemed to begin straying from what I liked about them by offering fried chicken. Then, it all went downhill when Carl’s Jr. came along and bought them out.
On paper, Hardee’s seems like a place I should like. The commercials, promotional photos, and offerings seem right up my alley. Big, thick hamburgers including a “Monster Burger” with 8 strips of bacon. But of all fast food places, Hardee’s may be the biggest offender of showing you this awesome picture and then delivering disappointment on a bun. My one experience with a Monster Burger is a testament to that. There were barely four strips of bacon on what they slapped together. I’m willing to overlook single experiences at one location, but since the conversion, every time I have gone, I would have been better served going to Barth’s Burgery. (Yes, you heard that.)
Six years ago, my wife and I had a particularly bad experience that caused us to enact a personal boycott of Hardee’s that we held true to until last night. For nostalgia (although not really since this isn’t the Hardee’s that we remember), we lifted the ban and took a trip to Hardee’s. We replicated what we remembered our order to be 20 years ago. My wife got a hot ham and cheese and I ordered a burger. We paid nearly twice the price we paid 20 years ago and got food that I would say was only half as good. A ham and cheese sandwich that looked to be piled high with ham in the menu picture cost $3.50 and when it came out on the tray, it was like a bad joke.
Add to that a horrible, squeaking grinding noise coming from the back that never stopped the entire time we were there, we felt fine reenacting our ban on Hardee’s and let this blog be a testament to never toying with the idea of lifting it again. If we’re going to spend that much money on fast food, we’d be better off going to Chick-fil-A or Whataburger.
I hadn’t watched this movie in 20 years. I remember it being hugely popular in 1991, but remembered little else. This is a weak telling of the Robin Hood story. It makes an attempt to be an epic telling of the origin, but lacks the grandness needed. I admire their attempt to begin well before the interesting action started, but in showing how Robin Hood got where he did, they failed to deliver on the true heart of the story. They would have been better served to begin in the middle and try to establish a few things with expository dialogue or flashbacks. The story didn’t always progress in a believable way and things sometimes happened simply because they needed to happen.
The direction was weak. Shots they chose were trite and uninspired. The fight scenes lacked the flair that Robin Hood deserved. The cast had some good actors, but no one was given exceptional dialogue. Alan Rickman forced a decent performance, but even he seemed to be overacting. The best actor they had might have been Brian Blessed who was criminally underused in the story. Kevin Costner himself seemed to have gotten acting lessons from a high school thespian. Maybe 1991 couldn’t have delivered a better Robin Hood movie than this, but I had hoped for better.
Maybe it seems silly to celebrate this milestone anniversary with a lousy meal and a mediocre movie. Or maybe it’s oddly appropriate. Throughout life, we’re presented with situations we don’t necessarily like. I know that in the past 20 years, we’ve had our share of them and will continue to. And sure, I’ve complained about things and wondered why certain things had to happen the way they did. But through it all, for 20 years, I’ve had someone by my side that has made it all worth living and helped me get through it. It really doesn’t matter where we went, it matters that we went together and what we made of it.
Okay…now no one share this blog post with my daughter. She doesn’t need to know her parents dated so young.