Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Long-movie Tuesdays

Hey, did I tell you? I've got a new schedule.

It's not new new, but as of about a month ago, I've started working part time. I'm trading places with my wife, who was working part time for the first year after our second son was born (the last eight months, actually, as the first four were maternity leave). That year came to an end in January. But because we don't want him to go to daycare any more than his current three days, that necessitated a change in my schedule. And since I both make less money and have less of a career going than she does, it wasn't a difficult decision to knock my work week down to three days. (The difficult part will be next month, when I have to find a new part-time job because my current job could only employee me part-time until March.)

This means I watch the 13-month-old on Tuesdays and both him and the four-year-old on Wednesdays.

Since the 13-month-old still takes two naps a day and is essentially malleable to my whims, my Tuesdays are now my favorite day of the week.

Those two naps can occupy up to four hours of the day, leaving me plenty of time for various cleaning projects ... and of course, watching movies.

The cleaning projects have taken precedence on my first handful of Tuesdays under the new schedule, but I've just this week thought of a good way to fit in the movies.

Now, watching an entire movie on a Tuesday may sometimes be possible, though it feels a little indulgent. While his nap can run 2.5 hours on a rare occasion, the more likely duration is around 100 minutes, meaning I could only complete a movie if I started it the moment he falls asleep.

A better use of his naps on Tuesday -- his second naps, so I can be productive during the first and reward myself during the second -- will be to finally watch some of those movies on Netflix that have always seemed like too much of an undertaking to handle on any random weeknight. That's right, I'm talking about the behemoths, the movies that are over two-and-a-half hours long.

Sure, you can start a movie like this one night, take six mini naps on the couch and realize at 12:47 a.m. that you still have more than half of the movie to go. Sure, you can finish it on the next night.

But how much better to fit it all into the same day? Watch as much as you can in the afternoon, then finish up the remaining portion before bed?

I did the trial run of this yesterday, when I finally tackled Once Upon a Time in the West -- one of the finalists for the movie I was most embarrassed I had never seen in this post. In the past I had looked at its 165-minute running time and thought "Eh, not tonight." But when tonight becomes this afternoon, your whole perspective changes.

As it turns out, I saw an hour of it while my son was sleeping and then easily tackled the remaining 1:45 that night. And ended up loving it. That's a big deal for the western genre, which leaves me cold a lot more often than it hits for me.

Now, I don't want to commit to anything so regular as knocking off a behemoth every Tuesday, even as I feel bullish by the success of yesterday's experiment. But there's something exciting about the idea that these movies, which I've wanted to see for years, will no longer get passed over simply because of how many minutes of celluloid they contain. I'm starting to imagine the possibilities as I type this.

Goliaths? Your David has come to slay you.

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