lights dim. bag of popcorn in hand, diet coke in the armrest holder. cell phone turned off and tucked away. completely attentive, yet relaxed. this is one of my favorite places in the world.
i can’t even begin to express how much i love movies. watching them, working on them, writing and talking about them. a good movie transports me to the untamed west, lowell massachusetts, pre-ww2 britain, the 4th level of a dreamscape or a world where toys come to life. honestly, i’m even a sucker for not-so-good movies, allowing myself to be taken to argos, hogwarts, persia or sherwood forest. although i can certainly get my judgey on, i approach the movie watching experience as open-mindedly as possible, filled with a childlike willingness to be pleased. i want to be entertained, affected emotionally and sometimes intellectually challenged. i want to laugh, cry, hide my eyes behind my hands, gasp, be amazed. for a short time, i want to be someone and somewhere else.
between work, kids and having the stoopid opposite schedule from josh, there’s not much time to see movies in the theater. our depressing goal every summer is to see 1 movie a month. 1 measly movie a month! of course, i watch movies at home a lot, but it’s not the same experience. not terrible, just different. no popcorn. no darkened cavernous room filled with strangers having a communal experience who will undoubtedly need to be shushed. no excuse to turn off the phone. no giant screen that completely demands my attention.
there is a time of year when i allow everything else to be undone and i go to movies with reckless abandon: oscar time. over the years, awards season has instilled a kind of movie watching ocd for me. i must see as many nominated movies as possible. for about a month every winter, i approach movie watching like it’s my job.
the crazy thing? for some reason the people in my life allow it. while on winter break, i take my kids to daycare. a matinée is only $5.50…if you don’t include the $10 an hour for childcare. i’ve convinced josh that double features on football playoff sundays are a totally fair exchange. i take long lunches away from work – not many, just enough to feel like a really bad hooky playing girl. did you know many hotels have movies that are in between their theater and dvd release? i may or may not have talked myself past a corporate sales rep to watch movies in empty rooms. and, of course, every netflix delivery contains oscar movies. it is a luxurious and lovely couple of weeks every year enhanced by the thrill of creative scheduling, sneaking away and the simple gesture of checking things off of a list. seeing 8-12 movies in 4-weeks can also be a little intense. the movies start to mix in my memories and dreams.
the oscars create an artificial excuse for me to feed my movie addiction. and addiction it is. the more movies i see in the theater, the more movies i want to see in the theater. i’ve fantasized about extending the obsessive behavior beyond awards season, but my kids, my job and josh might demand their rightful place in the priority order.
i’m feeling pretty good heading into oscar season this year. nominations, announced january 25, will give me my official list of movies i need to see, but i’ve been working off of critics best of lists. all in all, i think 2010 was a pretty good year for movies. i’m not really one for predictions. what the heck do i know how people will vote? my favorite movie tends to be the one i saw last. i am fickle that way. i hope true grit, toy story 3, inception, the town and the king’s speech are properly recognized. they have stuck with me the most.