Thursday, January 14, 2016

That time I put my family ahead of Spotlight

Spotlight is the likely best picture winner this year. At least, I thought that for certain until The Revenant won top honors at the Golden Globes, which sometimes means nothing. The Globes really love Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, as evidenced by the fact that they awarded him a best drama globe for Babel, then the only Oscar it won was for its score. The point is, Spotlight is a major awards contender, and I'm not going to get to rank it this year because its release date is January 28th.

But I could have. I sure could have.

I was invited to a critics screening of Spotlight yesterday, Wednesday the 13th in Australia. The only problem is, it was a morning screening, and I had both of my kids home with me. Their daycare doesn't reopen after a brief summer break until today. (My older son will be there for two weeks more before he starts proper school.)

In the past, I might have moved heaven and earth to make this happen anyway. I'd get to that screening come hell or high water. Whatever other cliched expression you want to stick in here.

I'd have asked my father-in-law to watch them (even though he's only ever watched one of them at a time). I'd have figured out if there were a commercial day care center near the screening, one that you can use on an informal, one-off basis (even though that would be very expensive). I'd have seen if someone could come to our house to babysit them (even though that would also be very expensive). I'd even have momentarily toyed with the idea of the five-year-old babysitting the two-year-old. He's demonstrated the maturity for that responsibility, right?

In the end, I didn't. In the end, none of this scrambling left the confines of my mind, where it really only scrambled around for two minutes here and there in the first days after I'd learned about the screening.

As Dominic Toretto would say, "Family comes first."

So am I growing up? Growing into the responsible parent we knew I had the ability to be, one who has his priorities straight? Or am I just getting worse at thinking up outside-the-box solutions?

It's got to be the former. Because in the end I said to myself, "Yes, having an accurate year-end movie rankings is very important to you. Far more important than it has any right to be. But it's just a movie. You can see it two weeks later, and even though it won't be part of your rankings, it'll become part of the larger cinematic tapestry that is anyone's ongoing relationship with the movies. It will, or it could, join other cherished favorites that were not seen during their release years, but still went on to become cherished favorites all the same."

If maturity means accepting inevitable defeat with equanimity, then I'd say I've gotten there.

If priorities means putting my family first, then Dominic Toretto would be proud of me.

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