Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Monday night movies
If we just watched Rachel Getting Married, it must have been a Monday night.
My wife and I have developed a tradition of saving "difficult" movies for Monday nights. We don't watch one every Monday night -- in fact, the last three Mondays prior to this one, we went to a bar and ate Korean BBQ tacos, because that's the night this bar is least crowded. (And last week when we came home, we watched Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist -- which was difficult only in the sense of being difficult to sit through).
But the point of the tradition is, we don't want to watch these movies on weekends. Weekends are for escapism, or at least movies that won't drives us into a deep depression. On Monday nights, I guess we're okay with the depression.
Some examples of other things we've watched on Monday nights? Glad you asked.
1) Control. The story of the life and eventual suicide of Ian Curtis, lead singer of the band Joy Division.
2) Down to the Bone. A bleak look at a blue collar drug addict (Vera Farmiga) trying to recover but continuing to ruin her life in predictable ways.
3) The Edge of Heaven. A multi-character story taking place in Germany and Turkey, featuring terrorism, prostitution and death.
4) The Wrestler. The character piece about a broken down wrestler (Mickey Rourke) living in a trailer park, trying to avoid a heart attack, and making futile strides toward reconciling with his daughter.
Just to name a few.
The funny thing is, the movie that first helped us coin the phrase "Monday night movie" was something we actually saw on a Tuesday: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, referred to in shorthand as "the Romanian abortion drama." But a Tuesday is, for all intents and purposes, a Monday, right? (We watched its thematic cousin, the Romanian drama The Death of Mr. Lazerescu, on a Sunday night, but that was mostly because it was two hours and 20 minutes, and we wanted to start it earlier).
But it's a tradition I like, in part because it means we have a regular habit of challenging ourselves. It's hard to look forward to a movie where you know a drug addict shows up to ruin her sister's wedding, or a poor girl tries to get an abortion in the thick of Communist rule, or a talented musician spirals downward to the point of killing himself. But these movies have more often than not knocked our socks off, even if they haven't gone down easy.
I remember in my youth feeling somewhat frustrated when I would go to the video store with my friends. In retrospect, it shouldn't have surprised me that we always picked up a dumb action movie or a dumb comedy. After all, we were in high school, or maybe in college, and it was a Friday or Saturday night. It makes sense that we didn't want to see Schindler's List (trying to find something enriching but depressing that's approximately from that era).
Well, I'm glad I have a partner now who wants to watch the dumb comedies when I want to, the dumb action movies (or as close as you get these days) when I do, and yes, will watch the Romanian abortion dramas with me as well.
But only on Monday nights.