Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ready, set ... go

I am poised at the starting line of a major movie marathon.

The starter gun will go off around 9:30 or 10 o'clock this Sunday night.

See, that's when I will put my wife and son on a plane to Australia. I won't see them again for 11 days.

And while on the one hand, this will be sad -- especially with my son, who just turned eight months old -- on the other hand, I will get to watch a shitload of movies.

In the past month or two especially, I've reached a point where I'm getting in only three or four movies a week. This is down from the six or seven I had previously been enjoying. In the past, I'd watch as many as four movies a weekend and then two or three during the week. Lately, however, it's been more like three during the weekend, and one during the week -- if I'm lucky. Many times, I'll go from Sunday night through Friday night without seeing anything. It's what they always told me fatherhood might be like.

That's why this period of unadulterated movie watching, which will start Sunday night and end two Thursdays later, will be such a period of excess and over-indulgence. And why I'm really, really looking forward to it.

At one point I had considered following a very specific viewing schedule while the rest of my family was gone. I had envisioned a little project that would be a delight to complete: Each night after work I would watch a double feature, which consisted of one movie I hadn't seen and one movie I had. I wouldn't try very hard to match them by genre or any other theme -- just one new movie and one that needed to be revisited, either because it's a favorite or because I need to get to know it better.

However, I quickly realized this was impractical, and it would be better for a guy like me -- who is anal about completing his projects -- simply never to start. Although I will watch movies until my eyeballs fall out during the upcoming 11-day period, there are other things I'd like to do as well. If I limited myself to the strict confines of such a project, I might regret it later on. Better to just watch what I want, when I want, because I feel like watching it and for no other reason.

During this time there is sure to be at least one theatrical double feature, where I pay for one movie and sneak in to the second. I've taken some licks in this area recently, but I think I've learned from my mistakes, and it'll help me catch up a bit on my 2011 movies. (I haven't yet seen ten movies that came out this year.)

But the real novelty will not be going out to the theater -- it'll be watching movies at home. Now that my son is going to bed at a consistent time and usually sleeps soundly for at least the first four or five hours, there's not such a restriction on my ability to see movies in the theater. Watching movies at home is what I really miss. Because I both get up earlier and go to bed earlier than my wife, I rarely get much time in the living room by myself, to watch whatever I want to watch. She usually needs to sign off on it, and because she's been so busy with work and with the baby, she doesn't feel up for as much long-form content lately. She'd rather watch a 30-minute sitcom -- it's just what her mind can process right now. And believe you me, there is absolutely no judgment from me on that front. Neither of my jobs -- father and IT guy/film critic -- are as hard as her jobs (mother and so many jobs within the screenwriting field, I can scarcely keep track of them). So believe me, I get it.

However, that doesn't mean I'm not tickled pink to be facing a period when our living room TV is entirely under my control. Not only will I not have to check with anyone when I decide to watch something, I also won't have to explain why I want to watch the thing I want to watch. I doubt that I will be watching anything really tawdry or sordid while she's gone, but I do have a perverse desire to watch Crank: High Voltage for a second time, for example. This movie is pretty tawdry and sordid, but in such an enjoyable way. Still, I'd have to sort of explain to her why I'm watching it a second time, since she probably remembers that I've already seen it once. Easier just to watch it without feeling some kind of odd guilt or impulse to over-explain.

So yeah, I'm pretty excited. I'll be making heavy usage of the library, Netflix streaming and our own DVD/BluRay collection. The only real limits on getting to watch absolutely whatever I want will be the speed with which I can watch and return DVDs through the mail. The only reliable way in our world to watch the exact movie of your choice is to get it as a physical DVD, since the Netflix inventory of physical DVDs is the largest and most complete collection of titles to which we have access. I've already got a couple titles backed up there, and will be racing to watch them in the time I have.

But my options are virtually without limit, for all intents and purposes -- and hence the second meaning of the poster I chose for this post. (Oops, I chose the poster for Prefontaine, not the poster for Without Limits, which is the other movie about Steve Prefontaine. The image on the Prefontaine poster accompanied the idea of a marathon better than the image on the Without Limits poster.)

Now I just need to wait, crouched here in my crouch, ears perked to attention, ready for that gun to sound on Sunday night.

Perhaps I should do some ocular stretching to get ready. Don't want to tweak an eyeball.

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