Before August, it had been ages since I’d watched a movie. Or anything on DVD. But in the days of waiting for B3 to arrive, I yearned for something to entertain me; to keep my mind off the drive-you-crazy waiting game.
It started with an invitation from a friend to go see a movie. We chose The Hangover – which had received ‘acclaim’ as the surprise-hit-with-women of the year. Apparently it was funny, or so the movie people would have one believe.
And who couldn’t use a laugh?
I told my sister on the phone that I was going to see it. I could hear the derision in her voice as she questioned my judgment. ‘I could use a laugh,’ I replied defensively. She made a remark about how it was too close to the Judd Apatow genre, and I sheepishly confessed that I thought those movies were alright. (Funny, even.)
Well, I forgot that I don’t like Bradley Cooper. He was okay in Alias, but it was his appearance in Wedding Crashers that sealed his unappeal for me. I also don’t like movies that feature one ridiculous circumstance after another, (Mike Tyson, tiger, baby in a closet) shrouded in hysteria. All I could think after it was over, was ‘this makes Judd Apatow look like a comic genius.’
A week or two later, another friend suggested we see a movie. This time, we settled on My Sister’s Keeper. Because it was at the cheap theater. I was so clueless about it, I thought Cameron Diaz played the sister with cancer and Joan Cusack the mother. Not so much. But once I got over that initial ‘surprise’ I thought it was a fine movie. If unnecessarily sappy (emotionally exploitative) at times. I mean, people were SOBBING in the theater, I don’t think the scenes with the dying girl and her mother looking at a photo album were needed. Or the drawn-out hospital goodbyes from idiot family members who kept mumbling things like: ‘keep fighting….be strong’.
The movies were interspersed with nightly viewings of The Wire. My sister and brother in law had raved about it for so long that I asked her to send me the first couple of seasons (which she owns on DVD). Jason was hooked, immediately; urging me to stay up several nights until 1.30am to finish ‘just one more episode’.
It reminded me of Christmas 2002 when we were ‘stuck’ in London by ourselves, and would stay up till 4am watching the first season of ’24’. Except we had no kids, and could lazily sleep in until 10 or 11 to compensate for the lack of sleep.
I found the first season intriguing, once I got over the sadness and disappointment I felt when the HBO logo would pop up on the screen and the Sex and the City theme song did not follow.
I watched all o the first season, but petered out in the second. As a mother of two young children who are, on occasion, rather ‘trying’ I decided it was best for all the Johnsons if I did not have a Baltimore Police Officer’s vocabulary in my arsenal of words to shout at my kids.
If I were to shout at my kids, which I most certainly never do.
After watching a few episodes, I found myself waking up (particularly after those 1.30am nights), wondering why my ‘mopes’ had to wake up so freaking early.
And, then I committed the most egregious act of movie choosing, ever. I selected Confessions of a Shopaholic because I wanted something ‘light’ and ‘entertaining’. Which I suppose that movie was, to some people. But mostly I found it embarassingly horrible. And I couldn’t fault Jason for any of the disparaging remarks he threw my way while we were watching it.
I’m just saying. We followed the junk with some Oscar nominees: Doubt and The Reader. Doubt being the better of the two, in my opinion, despite Philip Seymour Hoffman’s nasty fingernails. Clearly I’m not the scholarly film critic I once was, now that I’m watching Isla Fisher movies, but it seemed to me that Kate Winslet just frowned a lot in The Reader….and she got uglier and older as the film progressed.
Jason has this theory that if you allow yourself to be made ugly on screen, you’ll usually get an Oscar nomination out of the deal. (Charlize Theron in Monster…..) Same, if you speak with an accent or in a language besides English. (Yes, Penelope Cruz from Vicky Christina Barcelona, I’m talking to you.)
Jason summed it up: ‘Is The Reader better than Confessions of a Shopaholic? Yes. Is it better than Bolt? I’m not so sure.’