Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Am I really going to just not see Finding Dory?

It's been more than two weeks since Finding Dory hit theaters, and I have yet to see it.

The two weeks are significant because most cinema chains only allow me to use my critics card to see a movie within the first two weeks of its release. I am very congizant of that deadline and yet I have let it pass on Finding Dory.

So I had to ask myself: Am I going to just not see this in the theater?

It's not the craziest question for most people. Most people these days don't give a shit whether they see something on the big screen or the small screen, or, increasingly, whether they see it at all.

But you're talking to a guy (or reading a guy, anyway) who made a Pixar movie his #1 movie of last year. And who ranked Finding Nemo as not only his #2 movie of 2003, but as his 16th favorite movie of the 2000's.

I should be all over that shit like white on rice. To put it crudely.

And yet I haven't been. For this, I blame my son.

Time was if a movie was animated and was going to be in movie theaters, I could sell my son on it. Or rather, he didn't need selling. He either didn't fully understand what we were doing, or hadn't yet developed the agency to state an opinion on it. We just went and Daddy knew best.

But he's almost six, and now he has an opinion about everything.

When I asked him if he wanted to see the sequel to Finding Nemo -- which he's seen at least twice -- his answer was non-commital to negative. In fact, worse than that, it was almost condescending. "No thanks," he said, as if he was way above movies about fish swimming around in the ocean. The condescending part was that I could detect in his tone that he was trying to let me down easily. A sign of maturity as well, I suppose, but forgive me if I'm not seeing the silver lining at the moment.

My wife tried again on a separate occasion and got no traction either.

But it's been ages since I've gone to see an animated movie in the theater without being accompanied by my son. I don't feel like I need him as an excuse to go, but I've just gotten so out of the habit of it. It's a nice way of killing two birds with one stone -- I get to see a movie, and we get an activity that helps move the day closer to bedtime. (If you think that's a cynical view of parenting, you probably aren't a parent.) I feel like instances of killing only one bird should be reserved for movies my son can't see with me.

In fact, if you want to find the last animated movie I saw in the theater without my son, you have to go all the way back to the 9th of November, 2012. That's when I saw Wreck-It Ralph with two friends. Ever since my son's first theatrical experience -- Planes, on September 21, 2013 -- I haven't seen an animated movie in the theater without him.

I could easily let the streak continue. I have a precedent of not budgeting theater time for Pixar sequels. I saw Monsters University on video, and I didn't even see Cars 2 in the year of its release. I saw it two years later. Who's to say Finding Dory should be any different? Who's to say it's any less of a cash grab? The critics I've seen seem to be divided on its value.

But then there's the part of me that doesn't want to miss something that could be great. And if I'm looking at precedents, it may be more instructive to look at animation in general. My #1 movie of last year was Inside Out, another Pixar film, and my favorite movie out of 35 so far this year is Zootopia, another Disney film. If Dory has a chance to be in those movies' ballparks, I should make time for it.

And so I think I will. In fact, I've decided to go tonight. That is, assuming I don't collapse from exhaustion sometime around 6:45. I did wake up at 4:30 this morning, and was never able to get back to sleep.

I said earlier that "most" chains don't let me see a movie for free if it's been out for more than two weeks. Not all. So fortunately, I still won't have to pay.

Mike Wazowski and Lightning McQueen may not have deserved a chance in theaters for their sequels, but Dory the fish does. She's earned my trust, I think.

So tonight, find her I shall.

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