A Life In Love With The Big Screen

You know how they say people with children don’t go to the movies?  Ian and I would never allow that to happen.  Even though our tastes in stories differ dramatically, there is always something that appeals to us both.  We compromise because we know the content is just as important as the experience.  Both of us have deep love for a dark room with a bright big screen, speakers at every angle, and of course a bag of buttery popcorn.

Even without the theater experience, I love movies.  I have always loved the stories they tell.  The first one I remember having a profound impact on me was The Earthling.  Though I don’t remember how old I was, I remember sitting too close to the television watching in awe.  Not just because I thought Ricky Schroder was incredibly adorable, but I was moved by his sadness and impressed by his resourcefulness.  I was hooked by the story from beginning to end.  Cinema was officially a part of my life.

Any movie lover knows December is a big month.  All the Oscar-worthy features are released close to the end of the year in order to qualify for the current year’s judging while leaving the best impact on the academy voters right before ballots go out.  In the past three weeks, Ian and I trekked to Times Square (due to really poor planning) to see Argo and we braved the crowds for This Is Forty and Django Unchained on their opening nights.

I enjoyed Argo until I realized the guy Ben Affleck was portraying was Mexican.  WTF Ben?  You needed to star in and direct this movie?  Was Gael García Bernal busy?  Neither Benecio del Toro nor Javier Bardem is Mexican, but at least they are Hispanic and good actors to boot.  You couldn’t throw them a bone?  As a Puerto Rican I took offense to this (of course it’s nothing that can’t be forgiven after a playdate between my little C and your Samuel).  He’s proven himself as an impressive director, so he can afford to share the spotlight.

Ian went insane for Django Unchained.  He called it the most visceral movie about slavery ever made, and I agree it was incredibly brave, real, and honest.   The actors perform with such conviction that it truly highlights how wrong and offensive the practices of slavery and Mandingo fighting were, and what a tragedy it was that phrenology gave any level of credibility to keeping these institutions alive.  Of course I thought it was overindulgent (to be expected from Tarantino) and the modern music didn’t always work.  Indisputable facts:  Jamie Foxx is brilliant and Christoph Waltz mesmerizing.

Sadly, the trailers for This Is 40 were all better than the movie itself.  I adore Leslie Mann and would watch Paul Rudd paint a house if it were on TV, but after two hours and 15 minutes, the movie proved to be both too ambitious and one-dimensional at the same time.  The most interesting and oddly redeeming part of the movie (besides Melissa McCarthy)?  The comfort in seeing a couple that feels eerily like me and Ian and pulling for them despite their issues.  I’m not exaggerating, I could make a list as long as my arm of similarities between Debbie (Leslie Mann’s character) and myself.  She is annoying, endearing, broken, fun, and extreme.  After leaving a movie like that – one that feels so real – I wonder “does everyone see themselves up on the big screen?”  Parts of the movie actually felt like I was watching my life unfold with better looking people in a nicer house.

What was the last movie you saw in the theater?  Do you enjoy the experience?  Most importantly, do you also believe you are Leslie Mann and your partner Paul Rudd or is that just me?

15 thoughts on “A Life In Love With The Big Screen

  1. FIrst I have to recover from my jealousy that you get to the movies….we can’t seem to pull it off. and thank you for not writing about Les Mis…nothing against LM, but enough already. And I liked your point about ARgo…I haven’t seen it but all movies should have Javier Bardem. Period. I am begrudgingly going to respect Ben Afflect. Still getting over his JLo BS. And I want to see that 40 something thing…especially as my 40th birthday looms…but not sure we can do it. We have vowed to go to the movies in MLK,jr day so I have to figure out what we’ll see. I am scared of the violence of Django, but it sounds like such a powerful movie. Great post!! And I love Paul Rudd.

  2. My husband and I are big movie lovers also and have a standing date night that we typically spend at our nearby movie theatre. I LOVED Django Unchained for all the reasons your husband noted and somehow wasn’t completely overwhelmed by the unrelenting violence. I haven’t seen “This is 40” yet, but your description of you and Leslie Mann’s character fits me to a tee. Next time Paul Rudd is on TV painting houses, please call me and let me know!! He can play my hubby any day. Great post!

  3. I love going to the movies, the whole movie theatre experience but I’ll watch movies anytime. Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t share the love so when he comes with me, it’s a big treat :) I’m scared to see Django Unchained but I do love Tarantino movies. The last one I saw was Wreck It Ralph ( so glad my son is starting to love movies too!) and The Bourne Legacy – loved it! Hope to see the new Bond movie soon :)

    • We want to see Skyfall too (the Bond movie) but there are too many other movies to compete with this time of the year. I’m not going to lie, the violence in Django is brutal, I had to literally cover my eyes at times, but it’s in line with QT’s other movies if you are already a fan.

  4. How great for you guys! We used to go to movies all the time and have trouble pulling it off ever since kids. It just doesn’t happen. And b/c we have two kids 7 years apart, it’s been 16 years of that! I can’t remember the last time I had seen even two of the academy nominations before the awards. So sad. We must change this!

  5. Though the majority of the movies I see are kid related, we do still find time to go. I loooooooooooove popcorn, so the ability to sit in a dark theatre with salty buttered popcorn that I don’t have to share, maybe with my husband feeling me up? Can’t give that up. The last movie I saw was Flight. Alone. I didn’t feel like being at work (so professional, I am), so I left and caught a movie. I loved it (the feeling and the movie.)

    I want to see This is 40 only because during the previews I root for them (OK and I’ll be 40 this year…maybe I’m projecting.) I wanted to see Argo but never got around to it and Django, well…shit. I haven’t sat through a 3 hour movie since Malcolm X (what is it with the blacks having such long, involved histories/stories to tell. Oh, wait…never mind.) I’ll still see it before it leaves theatres (even though the reviews I’m hearing are mixed and veering more toward dislike.)

    • Did you like Flight? I didn’t see it but I’m a Denzel fan. Django is long but I swear it doesn’t feel that long. Worth the time and money. I love the ditch work movie – I’ve done it once or twice (shhhhh).

  6. Yes, I really did like it. It wasn’t what I was expecting (the previews I’d seen were about the crash and the aftermath but the movie was more…not.) If you see it, I’ll tell you why it was kinda hard for me to get through too (but by the end you may have figured it out.) Anyway, Outlaw Mama has a point about Les Mis (and my daughter asked what Less Miserable is about and I damn near choked.)

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