Four days. That’s how long it typically takes me to watch your average 90-minute movie. Add approximately one day for every 30-minutes on top of that and two additional days if the start time passes 9:15pm.
Our parents owned a movie store while we were growing up. For a child of the 80’s and 90’s; any generation, really, that is a dream come true, even if we didn’t recognize it in the moment. All of the hits were there, an endless supply of fresh and classic content in all of its VHS glory. From the tender age of five, I would walk the aisles of the store, admiring the cover-boxes, not understanding what I was looking at, per se, but knowing that these characters and people were something to behold. The Goonies, Indiana Jones, Die Hard, Labyrinth, The Princess Bride, you name it; the artwork from each classic tale is burned into my memory and I remember holding those boxes in my hands, wide-eyed and full of wonder. I was born into euphoria.
As kids tend to do, I eventually grew up, and as I did ‘film and entertainment’ remained a part of my life quite reliably. Throughout much of my adolescence I worked a healthy variety of jobs. Be it slinging pans in a kitchen, scrubbing 18-wheelers at a truck wash, controlling sound and lights at a night club, or countless other endeavours, such as spending a number of years working a renaissance fair (which seems like a post all to itself), hardware stores, cafes, many more kitchens, or night shifts at a grocery store, I held many ‘careers’ across many industries, but the one constant through-line across all of it, aside from food, music and the donning of medieval tights, was film and entertainment. Whether it was part-time work after school, weekend hours at the family store, or many years of experience at varying levels of responsibility with Rogers Video, Blockbuster, Music World or Sunrise Records, I was always surrounded by some form of media and film and I loved every moment of it.
Call it a frivolous treatment of finances and time if you want, but my friends and I invested hours upon hours binging classic trilogies, plowing through an auteur’s catalog or hitting midnight screenings at TIFF whenever an opportunity either presented itself or we manifested one ourselves. There was really no limit to how much content I could consume and it didn’t matter at what hour I was indulging; whether pulling an all-nighter or a Wednesday matinee, movies of every genre, era and language found there way into my every-day routine. That is, until, I stopped being able to keep my eyes open through the opening credits. So, what happened? When did things change and when did I get “too old” to keep up?
In the age of binge-watching, this feels like a time I should be living in all my glory but, instead, I am feeling like a fish out of water. Even now, as I type this, keeping my eyes open past 9:30 ufoij-0u-9h=n pno dbf asgmnn sdflkj kjhsfdkjh ;dkhf;oiu09y 907 oak g f zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..
INT. LIVING ROOM – 6:00am, Next day (Saturday)
No matter the occasion, company or box-office hype, I promptly and reliably turn into a pumpkin before I have the opportunity to hit the pause button. I can’t remember the last time I made it through something in one sitting or for that matter, the ending to most things. So if it was released in the past 10-years, please, no spoilers.
Part of my problem is that I simply can’t decide what to watch. With so much content in front of me all of the time, I find myself spending all of my energy just searching for something that fits my current mood and after 30-minutes of indecision, I am simply too exhausted to care and I turn it off.
When I really do find something I want, however, the sad reality is: I am perpetually tired. It’s a state of being which can be applied to any point throughout my day and I am not ashamed to admit it; I’ve earned my fatigue and I don’t care who knows it. Sleep is precious. It’s important, healthy and fleeting. I am a better parent, partner and provider to my own well-being when I’m rested and ready and I’ll take 2-hours of slumber over forcing myself through the newest Clark Gable movie any day…I just won’t admit it in the moment. Instead, my body will go through some weird denial state on the couch where, despite my snoring and lack of response, I’ll try to convince my wife that I’m still awake and fully aware of the major plot points. She knows better and, more often than not, pauses the show for another night. Now that’s true love.
Don’t get me wrong: I still enjoy movies, and just about every genre too, save for the Marvel/super hero stuff, that all seems to have been designed and targeted to someone other than myself. When it comes to those I can’t keep up with what’s going on and I am completely at peace with that. I have no clue why Spider Man is having such a difficult time trying to find his way home or why those Revengers people won’t give that nice man his shiny gold glove back and, while I know I may be missing out on the zeitgeist of a generation, it feels like way too much precious time for me invest in that universe. I’ve done the math on this and it’s simply not favourable for someone like me:
Marvel movies released as of this writing = 27
Cumulative runtime hours = 57
Average number of days it takes me to watch a 2-hour movie = 4
Number of days it would take me to be up to speed on the Marvel movies = 114
Some = Nope
Frankly – As someone who’s been wearing cardigans to bars since the age of 18, keeping up with what’s popular and cool seems to have never been in the cards for me. I’ll take a pass.
Of course, all of this grumpiness and curmudgeonry goes out the window when the girls are geared up for a family movie night. Through their excitement I am re-energized. We get our snacks all put together: fresh-popped popcorn, gummy bears and M&M’s, all of the key players together in one harmonious place. We find our spots and our blankies on the couch, snuggle in tight and enter a world of pure fantasy and imagination. The difference here of course is that, at the very latest, we are starting the movie by 5:30pm. I still fall asleep, mind you, but at least I get a few cuddles out of the deal.
These days it’s less about staying up late and going to the theatres and it’s more about reading online movie reviews and spoilers or listening to various podcasts that play host to deeply philosophical and critical debates regarding which Jackass movie ranks best and whether or not they can or should be considered ‘high art’ or are nothing more than total tomfoolery signalling the dumbing of our society. And while I do miss certain aspects of those grand cinema-going experiences, I have come to value the need for sleep and waking early more than anything else. Those few precious hours before the rest of the world really wakes up are invaluable to me. The minutes between my waking and the kiddo’s are minutes when I am most productive, alert, capable and patient. It’s my time and I’ve taken to the practice in my post-college years that no one else can have it. I hope you all have a time of your own in which a boundary can be set and not be ashamed. Own your state of slumber and be proud. Fighting it does no one any good because we all need that oxygen in our lives. My one and only issue in rising before the sun is that Taco Bell doesn’t open until 10:30.
In terms of what this post is about? I have no idea. It took me three days and seven naps to write, so cohesiveness is not a strong point but thanks for reading anyway!