We humans have a fondness for marking milestones with some sort of self-assessment. New Year resolutions. Thanksgiving thankful toasts. Anniversary memories. And birthday introspections. But those often only really matter at artificial milestones: 16, 18, 21, 25, 30, and the fuzzy “getting older” birthdays. That’s where I’m at this week.
Last week, my lovely wife started watching “So You Think You Can Dance” on Hulu. I don’t remember what snarky thing I said out loud, but my non-blushing bride of 28 plus years paused the show, turned to me, made sure she had my attention, and said, “You’re like this with movies and music…”, and she then she very directly and in a low register, intensely continued, “…I don’t want another reason to dislike you.” I was (mostly) quiet after that.
Now, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t really dislike me…most of the time. But she’s right about the movies. And sometimes the music.
I don’t actively seek out the problems in most movies – they are just so obvious that I can’t not see them. Apart from the usual plot, dialogue, physics and flow issues, the suspension of reality bugs me. I don’t mean shoot outs with endless clips. I mean escape hatches in elevators (ever see one?), or 3-D wire-frame renderings for remote apartment buildings called up in an instant (Enemy of the State, in case you were wondering).
Andrea’s tried to convince me over the years that directors really do have more in mind than filming and editing a story, because I normally only see use of red in this or that scene as either something that just happened or as a distraction. In 2004, we had a disagreement over the movie Closer. She asked me, “Didn’t you see that the director was trying to…?” …and I don’t remember what it was that Mike Nichols was trying to do, but when the DVD came out, I fast forwarded to the point in question with the commentary on. It was uncannily almost word for word, “What I was trying to do here was…” Even when something is explained explicitly to me, I don’t always see it.
She came home one night a few months ago from an after-Moms’ Night Out movie and said we needed to watch About Time. She told me, “It’s fun. And the message is so obvious, even you’ll get it.” I apparently need simple metaphors, or none at all. And the movie was fun.
Anyway, I no longer question her insight. Well, that’s not quite true. I sometimes do, but it takes me less time than it used to come around. With comedies being the general exception, our agreements on movies tend to be me thinking they were not that good and her agreeing that I’m wrong.
She agrees that I’m wrong on television shows, too. Sometimes, that comes as a complete surprise to me. I genuinely don’t know that I’m wrong! For instance, I thought the Lost finale was the pinnacle of “are you kidding me???” Little did I know, I was quite mistaken in my assessment. That I was not the only one didn’t make a difference, and this explanation didn’t help (Spoiler alert! “…metaphorically, it was about people who were lost and searching for meaning and purpose in their lives.”)
I admit I have been known to be a braying ass with respect to music. And also in my position on the writing quality of books like 50 Shades of Gray. And…um, anime. Oh…and uh… Texas weather.
These are things to work on. I think I’ve already come a long way on the music – diverse family interests and DJing the teen dances helps. The others will take a lot of birthday introspections.
I know this may all seem unbalanced…Jim=curmudgeon=poor Andrea (or hipster…I really don’t fit any of those definitions), and I make it sound like she’s picking on me, but she’s not. Andrea and I complement each other. She fills in the feeling gaps I either inherently don’t get or didn’t learn. I rarely see “meanings” behind movies, so she explains them. I can count on two hands the number of books (fiction) that have engaged an emotion, and if we happen to read the same books and discuss them, she might enlighten me. And I appreciate it very much.
Now, “reality” shows? Yeah…I’ll just leave that one alone. She’s right…she really doesn’t need another reason.