Monday, December 16, 2013

A busy January 16th

Remember that post from three weeks ago when I bemoaned that I wouldn't get to see Her before my deadline for ranking 2013 movies? Which is the morning the Oscar nominations are announced on January 16th?

Fortunately, that's January 16th American time.

The Oscar nominations will actually be a little bit after midnight on January 17th, Australian time. Which is important, because that Thursday the 16th -- Wednesday in the U.S. -- brings another new release date in Australia. Movies come out on Thursdays here, and I don't know what's magical about that particular Thursday, but it will give me the chance to squeeze in two biggies right before the deadline.

That's right, thanks to being 19 hours ahead of Los Angeles, I'll be in position to take down not only Her, but also Inside Llewyn Davis, both of which open that day.

I've known about the Her opportunity for about a week, but only just learned about the chance to see the Coens' latest as well.

Nebraska, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street and some others will still have to wait, but at least these two heavyweights -- which could both be contenders for my favorite movie of the year, if the critical buzz is to be believed -- can indeed have a crack at my year-end list.

That is, assuming I can see even one movie, let alone two, on one of my new son or daughter's first handful of days on the planet.

Did I mention it might be a busy January 16th?

At this point it seems pretty clear that I won't be working, at least. Although I would have loved one of the jobs I've applied for to bear fruit by then, the closer we get to Christmas, the less likely that seems to happen. 

What's exceedingly unlikely, however, is that I won't have my second child by then. He or she has an official due date of January 10th, but it's most likely that my wife will be induced sometime between Christmas and New Year's. Sorry, little Vance or Vancette, your mother and I really should have skipped that particular fertility window so you birthday won't be forever overshadowed by the holidays. Our bad.

On the plus side, a December 27th or December 28th birthday means that we'll have over two weeks to prioritize our little one's every need before January 16th asks me to place my priorities elsewhere. The other bit of good news is that January 16th is my existing son's first day back at preschool, after the (gulp) three-week closure of the school starting on December 23rd. Glad I've left such movies as Epic, The Croods and Monsters University unwatched so far, because we'll be leaning heavily on those crutches by the end of those three weeks.

So assuming I can somehow squeeze in both movies on the 16th, even if it requires separate $19 admissions, then the issue becomes to digest them both in time for me to finalize my list by midnight that night. Every year, some poor sucker has to be the last movie I see before I close my list, but I purposefully try to make it something middling, something that doesn't have a real shot at my top 10. I won't have that luxury this year. With a special spotlight shown on these two films, I'll have to consider very quickly which of my other favorites of the year -- ones I've been savoring for many months in some cases -- they have any business ousting.

It's a good problem to have, at least. Fate has thrown me a bone on these two films, whose absence from my list would make it an even less credible version of the thing I try so hard each year to amass: a truly representative selection of the movies released in the year just finished. I may not have the latest film by Alexander Payne, the latest film by Steve McQueen or the latest film by Martin Scorsese, but at least Spike Jonze's latest and the Coen brothers' latest could be mine, if I play my cards right.

And if I don't play my cards right ... well, having a new son or daughter will be a nice consolation prize.

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