Monday, January 16, 2017
Where to start?
My longest ever vacation and my longest ever hiatus from The Audient are now complete.
Now: how to summarize three weeks of surprisingly fertile movie-watching activity.
At this time of year, as I finalize my year-end rankings, it wasn't surprising to me that I kept busy on the movie-watching front. But maybe it was a little bit of a surprise that I ended up watching almost a movie for every day I was gone. (At that rate, you'd figure I might have gotten in a single blog post, but no.)
Twenty-two movies in 23 days. Not bad. Of course, it wouldn't have been anywhere near that except for the 13 movies I watched on my four plane rides: Four on the first, two on the second, two on the third, and five on the last. Those five on the last give you some indication of why I'm still suffering from horrible jet lag, which left me awake for most of the time between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. this morning. What are you going to do. (Hey, I tried. But with children sleeping on me at various angles at various junctures, my own sleep was limited to about two to three hours' worth of extended head droops.)
I did get to see the two awards contenders I was most fixed on catching, those being Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight. Neither will release theatrically in Australia until after my January 24th deadline for posting my list. But they weren't accomplished without some agony. I snuck out to Manchester on the evening of Boxing Day in Maine, slip-sliding through icy streets somewhat against my wife's wishes. Yes, my eyes were sometimes on the wrong prize on this trip. The Moonlight viewing was a bit easier in terms of wife approval, as I matched it up with a chance to see a friend in Los Angeles, but it was on a Sunday afternoon and I did feel a bit like I was bailing on my parental responsibilities.
The other two theatrical viewings were comprised of one other film that won't open until after January 24th (Hidden Figures, which I've also just reviewed) and another that's already open here, but figured to get lost in the shuffle of my higher priorities (Passengers). What higher priorities? Well, I still need to catch La La Land, Jackie and Lion in the next week-plus. Hidden Figures was a final night 11 p.m. viewing at a new dine-in theater that's opened just down the street from where we were staying in Marina del Rey, and almost didn't make it on the schedule. Fortunately, my wife gave me her blessing to see it even though it was the night before we were leaving, and good thing too, because it was only a five-minute walk from the Air BNB, and missing such an opportunity would have felt particularly wasteful. (And who plays a movie starting at 11 p.m. on a Wednesday night? This theater, apparently.) Passengers was our New Year's Eve date, and it was somewhat against our better judgment as our children were not 100% settled at my mother's house before we left. It's a good thing we didn't know they would be up until after midnight, terrorizing my mother in the cutest way possible, else we never would have gone. (And for the record, this is the first time I've ever been sitting in a movie theater when the clock struck midnight, making it the first time in as long as I can remember that I've not acknowledged the actual passing of 12 o'clock on January 1st.)
Several of my other viewings were accomplished with the help of the Netflix app on my phone, which now enables you to download a number of films for offline viewing. This is how I saw both Other People and Too Late. I also took advantage of access to the American version of Netflix, as both High-Rise and Dheepan remain unavailable in Australia (at last check, anyway).
I even watched exactly one movie that was not from 2016: the Donald Glover vehicle Mystery Team, from 2009. You won't be surprised to learn that this was my wife's choice on the Saturday night in our place in Marina del Rey. But I was kind of glad to take a break from the mad 2016 stretch run, and the movie was surprisingly funny. I had thought it was kind of a Nickelodeon-style movie about a trio of teenage detectives, but instead it was a hard R parody of such movies, and a good one at that.
I'm tempted to reveal my favorite and least favorite movies from the trip, but it's just a little more than a week until I tell all about the wild and woolly 2016 in films.
For now, I've got my work cut out for me for the next week, and I hope to keep you updated on it through a series of more focused posts.
If I can catch up on my sleep first.