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?