The 6 Stages of Watching Movies With My Husband

My husband works in film. Well, sort of.

He works for a multimedia marketing firm that makes trailers, sizzles, and other promotional materials for upcoming movies (including those dumb, digital billboards you see at the mall). He’s in the Disney division, so basically Disney movies have been forever ruined for us – not that he’s telling us anything (they are pretty crazy about their security); but Disney movies are now usually marred by how many hours of overtime the ad campaigns kept Dad away from home.

So anywho, you all can imagine that watching movies with him is therefore…trying…

There’s all the idiosyncrasies, the technical talk before and after, the “love of the game.” All of this for someone (that being me) who doesn’t give a single fuck about any of it, and moreover thinks the majority of movies made these days are piles of crap.

People tell me that this makes me super unsupportive of my husband’s chosen career. That because I don’t feign an utter love of the industry and films, in general, that this means our marriage is doomed and I’m the worst wife ever. Well beyond the simple fact that I was raised to believe that a job is just a job, and that your real life is actually defined by what you do with your family and for yourself…isn’t it just a little shitty to say that because my husband works in film, that I therefore must change my longstanding feelings and beliefs and just general preferences? That would be like a woman who hates baseball suddenly pretending to love it because her significant other likes the Dodgers.

Sorry, but that’s not how I play the game.

My husband is more than welcome to have his own enjoyments, and I of course support him, and make hearty sacrifices, for him to work in the career he chooses to work in. And in return, I expect the same for me. And whenever I intersect in this whole film thing…well, I try. I really, really try.

I always thought it would get better, or maybe easier; but alas all these years in, it hasn’t. In fact, every time we watch a movie, I go through a process. Sort of like a process of grief, I always make my way through these stages when watching movies with my husband.

Stage One: “Sure, this movie looks OK”

Even when it doesn’t look OK, I think to myself that it does because I need to go in being positive so that I’m not disappointed or angered too soon into the movie-going experience.

I should add that my husband and I watch a lot of movies, so I really try to keep upbeat about it because if I weren’t I’d be annoyed with the movie choice most days of the week.

The problem is that my husband has a very odd taste in film. Usually it’s some fucked up Lars Von Trier shit – and I absolutely cannot stand that guy. Or it’s something like a musical (in fact, we are watching Les Miserables right now, which I’ve seen before and just can’t deal with because I despise Anne Hathaway).

So I go in thinking “sure, this movie looks OK.” Even when it doesn’t. This is basically the denial stage.

Stage Two: “When can I start talking?”

I’m a movie talker. Not at the theater, no way. But at home, I like chatting it up about the movie while it’s going on. It’s just the way I am.

My husband, by contrast, is a silence-during-the-film authoritarian. If I breath too loud he gets upset. When we first started dating, we went to see The Reader in theaters and I sipped my Diet Coke (not even loudly), only to receive the dirtiest look from him I have ever received from another person.

It’s in my nature to banter through the movie, so usually pretty early on I begin to crave it. Like an itch I absolutely have to scratch, I start chomping at the bit to be able to say something – anything – about the movie that happens to be on.

Stage Three: “How did someone come up with this crap?”

To be absolutely fair…not every movie we watch is crap. And, I think I have a really high and strange standard for movies. My friend Jeremy used to make fun of me for how much I disliked basically every movie I watched.

I guess I just have really high standards. Or no patience. Or maybe I’m just not a movie person. I don’t know, but I’d say that 9 times out of 10 – unless we are talking about 80s movies – I get to a point where I wonder how someone even came up with some of these plot lines/stories/characters/whatever.

Stage Four: “Why couldn’t we just watch Uncle Buck again?”

I would be perfectly contented watching the same, ten or so 80s movies over and over again. I could just spend a whole day watching The Money Pit on repeat.

Why my husband is not willing to just do this continues to be beyond me.

Stage Five: “Fuck it, I’m going to talk.”

I’ve given up all hope, we’re usually about halfway through the movie at that point. And this is when I start to get the dirty looks, the sighs, and the attitude.  I typically start off by asking how much longer the movie will last. Then my husband will pause the movie over and over and over and over and over again as I ask questions, which just escalates into me rambling or talking or making the comments I wanted to make much sooner in the film.

Finally, we get to a point where I realize that the length of the movie is only being greatly prolonged by his constant, incessant pausing of the film. So I stop, and I move on to the final stage.

Stage Six: Sleep

I just turn over, lay down on the couch, and go the fuck to sleep. Go. The. Fuck. To. Sleep.

Rarely does my husband even notice that I sleep through the remainder of the movie. In fact, the other day he started asking me if I noticed something in the movie we had watched the night before. “Uh yeah, I was asleep for the entire second half of that one, did you not notice?”

He never notices. Which is perfectly fine by me.

The next day I always wake up, refreshed from my extra sleep yet guilty that I didn’t spend that time reading, and we start the process all over again. Either that night or later in the week. Another lull in our daily lives occurs, and we decide to put on a movie. And my process begins again.

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An Open Letter To My Family, Friends, and Casual Acquaintances

Today marks four weeks since my husband started his new job. Our lives kind of-sort of revolve around his work schedule – well that, homeschooling, tennis, and you know…daily life.

But everything is sort of geared around his very hectic, often unpredictable schedule; if it didn’t, our idea of being a family would be waving casually to each other in passing.

If there is one thing I absolutely, and without a doubt, refuse to turn into, it’s one of those families.

So he started this new job, and today is the end of the fourth week. It’s a night job, which has changed things for all of us – more than we could ever have imagined. He leaves at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and gets home sometime before he has to leave the next day. Last night he got home around 1 in the morning, and was wide awake so he and I watched a movie. Other times, he gets home when we’re leaving for tennis at 9:30 in the morning.

We’re all sleeping in later most days now, which is fine because we homeschool. In fact, we’re all sleeping better now (which makes little sense to me). And we’re all better off for him being home during the day. He’s a part of tennis, a part of homeschooling, he helps with the chores now, and he can even attend things like – gasp – doctor’s appointments and annual visits to the optometrist.

But it hasn’t come free of struggles. Because of our strange schedule, which works for our family but would not work for all, we have had to go through a longer-than-expected period of adjustment. Not only that, but because some days he’s gone for 14-16 hours of a 24 hour period (which, I have quickly learned, has a whole-house domino effect for the days that follow), we just really cannot commit to do much more than our own stuff.

This is why I decided it’s finally time to pen a little letter; an open letter to my family, friends, and casual acquaintances.

Dear Family, Dear Friends, Dear Casual Acquaintances –

It’s not you. It’s us.

We’re sleeping strangely and eating all the time. Dinner, for us, is now at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Lunch is at 7:30 at night. If you ask us to have a big meal after 5 pm, we’re all going to screw up our new sleep patterns and get sick. Our bodies are used to this now. We’ve adjusted. In fact, we like that we can eat dinner together, even though it’s in the afternoon after we’ve only started to get the day going. Until he took this job, we only had dinner together as a family on weekends. Sometimes.

As a result, any further dinner invitations will be declined. Unless they’re for mid-afternoon.

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It’s not you. It’s us.

I want to attend your candle party and your make up event. I really do. I want to meet up with you all at craft group. I really want to get my reading on with my book nerd friends, and paint like a professional at my art class. I’d love to go out for a girls night out. But babysitters are expensive, and what we have in terms of a regular sitter is for me to have time to clean the house, get the grocery shopping done, and to keep my garden alive.

As a result, it is unlikely I will attend much, if anything, in the evening any more. Unless everything else is already done, the babysitter hasn’t called in sick, and I happen to not be too exhausted. (So don’t count on it.)

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It’s not you. It’s us.

Yes, we get it that we still have weekends. And that weekends are for family and you are all our family, blood or otherwise.

But keeping in mind that some nights my husband gets a whopping 1&1/2 hours of sleep during the work week, with me never sleeping well when he’s gone, and all of us trying to tip-toe around the house during the day while he gets the few hours he does – the weekends have become the most critical time for us to decompress, catch up on ZZZZs, and – frankly put – get shit done.

As a result, it is unlikely we will be available for many weekend events either.

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It’s not you. It’s us.

We have lives besides my husband’s job.

We homeschool. Every single day of the year, and this is important to us – not only because we have little lives hanging in the balance of our very adult-like decisions, but because education is a value that is paramount in our household.

We play tennis. Every single day of the week, and this is important to us too. What comes with tennis is not only practice and lessons, but tournaments. So now we’re trying to juggle daily life, homeschooling, my husband’s insane and unpredictable work hours, and tennis too.

As a result, we’ll see you the next time someone gets married, graduates, or dies.

I wish I were kidding.

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It’s not you. It’s us.

At some point, we started talking about the impact this was having on us and our health. Trying to please everyone and everything under normal circumstances is a tenuous proposition. And there is nothing normal about this new lifestyle we have.

When things are tenuous under normal circumstances, and who knows what under abnormal circumstances, you eventually realize that you just can’t spend all your time trying to take care of everyone else and not yourselves.

We’ll be around when we can, and it’s not impacting our health and stress level too much. And we’re sorry, for what it’s worth.

So, dear friends, dear family, and dear casual acquaintances, if I’ve learned one thing in these first four weeks of my husband working his new, exciting, fun-filled, and yet incredibly exhausting and insanely unpredictable job, it’s that taking a step back from all the busyness and the chaos and the weekly parties and the nightly commitments is diluting our experience as a family unit.

Perhaps this was going on all along, and it was only through a drastic life change that we were finally able to see the truth.

 

We’ve Been Watching A Lot Of Documentaries Lately…

… and I’m not sure why.

Maybe Netflix is starting to get more lame than usual. I mean they just took Planes, Trains, and Automobiles off the Instant Streaming – just how in the shit am I supposed to watch it at least once a week now?

Really I think it’s that we go in cycles as to what kinds of movies we watch. Sometimes we go for marathon cartoon shows, like the Simpsons. Twenty episodes in one day and all that. Other times we go for scary movies or funny movies. Or new ones.

I should mention that we don’t watch regular television at all, with the exception of sports, so it’s either movies, On Demand, or Netflix…

Or nothing. Often it’s nothing.

ANYWHO, so we’ve been watching a lot of documentaries lately. And I’m not sure why. And all of them have a little bit of weirdness to them.

Here are the three we’ve watched this weekend:

Mansome

My husband and I watched Mansome Saturday night. Of course anything Morgan Spurlock and/or Jason Bateman is going to be a necessary win, though it was a little horrifying in and of itself in content.

I mean it was all about men and their grooming practices. And their balls.

It also prompted me to look up Jason Bateman on Wikipedia. You know, while I was sitting there next to my husband. I wanted to know if Bateman was in fact “happily” married. You know, while I was sitting there next to my husband…

So he is. And I didn’t realize that his older sister was the one that played Malory on Family Ties. No shit, right? Well I clicked on her Wikipedia page and BOY… does she look awful now. The 80s and Family Ties and show business really did a number on her…

Back to Mansome. So the best parts of this film were when they interviewed this total weirdo with a really long, red beard. Which was totally different in color than the hair on his head, I might add. He won some European beard contest – a little weird to travel across the world to participate in, but whatever gets you going.

And I should mention that – sure – he was all up on taking care of his beard, but in the scene that showed him getting in his car we learned that he wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about taking care of his car.

I’m saying his car was a total piece of shit. Maybe not relevant, but maybe it is. I mean if a guy is worried so much about his beard but not his mode of transportation…

The other completely off-the-hook part was when they showed the product creator and the focus group for this product called Fresh Balls. Basically it’s a gel that men rub on their junk to stop chafing and “batwings” (which I had no idea existed until watching this highly educational film).

And I suppose close seconds in terms of “greatest parts” of the film were when this totally closeted gay guy has his eyebrows threaded to remove five rogue hairs (he called himself metrosexual … I mean, who does that?); and, when the professional wrestler has his friend shave his ass with an electric razor.

Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense

This afternoon, my husband decided he was going to force all of us to sit down in front of the television and watch this.

He said it would be an experience. That it would be a musical experience we all should appreciate.

Now I can appreciate the nostalgia of remembering a few of the songs. And I can appreciate the aesthetics of the post-punk, avant garde era that made up the Talking Heads of the 80s.

But after a while it just got old. Very, very old. And could that bass player be any more doped out, in her 80s pantsuit that had its own wings? Obviously not batwings, because she didn’t (I don’t think) have testicles; but wings flapping out the side of her pants that just made me think of the whole batwings thing. Then I laughed out loud and my husband got mad.

Thanks a lot. Bitch.

At a certain point in the whole charade going on in this concert film, the tall, skinny, lanky, wiggly guy that is the lead singer just randomly started running around the stage like a complete moron. I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life – he just started jogging. Then sprinting. Then jogging a little bit more. Then at a point he got on the ground and sang while dry-humping the air. Then he went back on another jog around the stage.

It was just too bizarre for words.

Microcosmos

Finally, this evening, I was bored and we had nothing else to do but vegetate like broccoli. So I decided we would turn on another documentary.

Because you know. The others weren’t enough for the weekend, or anything.

I decided on Microcosmos for no reason other than I was seriously fucking tired of scrolling through the Netflix que. For those of you that do not know of it, this is a French documentary that utilized miniature cameras and specialized microphones to film bugs.

Insects. You get it? Fucking tiny little bugs. Spiders and flies and shit.

Here were my responses:

“Those caterpillars are complete morons.”

“Bees can seriously kiss my ass.”

“Jesus, could those snails suck face any harder? Need to get some Barry White up in there.”

“I think I have eaten one of those beetles on accident.”

“Hey look it’s like the 405 [freeway] only with bugs.”

“What’s so scary about those things is they’re fucking ugly.”

“That’s not a salamander, that’s an underwater dinosaur.”

“Wow look at that bird eat those ants… it’s like a trip to Hometown Buffet!”

“Is it weird this movie is making me hungry?”

So I highly recommend that you guys check out these movies. I’m not sure why. Probably because after all this poking fun and making random commentary I’m afraid of the legal ramifications by the filmmakers. Just kidding, I actually think you should watch them. If anything, for a good laugh.

Now here’s Snail Beauty, or as I like to call it Two Snails Get Busy.

My Husband’s Movie Lover Mannerisms

So living and being married to someone that works in the film industry is …an interesting place to be. There are all these subtle nuances I am supposed to adhere to. To respect.

In other words: to tolerate.

I can appreciate that my husband is proud of the work he does. And I can appreciate being a lover of an aesthetic art such as film. I myself swoon often over the philosophical writings of the greats I adored in graduate school. And I do love the acquisition of a new book. I get it – he takes pride in his interests.

I think my husband goes way over the line sometimes to a point that is just absurd, though.

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#1 Film Narration

The first movie I went to see with my husband was The Reader. Great film, and based on one of my all-time favorite works of fiction. While we were there, I bought myself a Diet Coke. A typical purchase for a movie outing, yes; what wasn’t typical was that Nick whisper-yelled at me during the movie because my straw squeaked when I took a sip of my soda.

Are you all with me on this? My straw made the slightest squeak – of all the noises in the movie theater outside of the film, itself – and I got whisper-yelled at.

Watching movies at home is an entirely different ballgame, though. That’s my husband’s time to shine, and by that I mean talk through the entire goddamned thing. I get narration: “deep in the forest lived a town of little blue men.” I get commentary: “you know what’s missing here is the backstory to that photograph…” I get voiceover: “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” And I constantly get the story about the guy that knew the guy that worked with the girl that was friends with the friend of my husband’s boss, who knew a guy that worked on that film. It never ends. Ever.

As with all things, love is a two-way engagement. If I’m going to listen to my husband’s incessant talking about all this film stuff, he should be willing to listen to me talk about a book I read, or engage in – gasp – an actual conversation with me about it. That’s sadly not the case, though. I think we’re too busy watching crap movies, which leads me to #2.

#2 A Lot of Crap Movies

We have a lot of movies and of those movies, I think close to half are total crap. I cannot tell you all how many times my husband has said a movie is “good” just because it grossed a lot of money or was popular with a lot of people. Even having not seen it. Even not really liking it himself.

So we own a lot of crap movies. Some of them my husband has never even watched – that’s how much they are crap. When I ask why he bought it he says “it did really well in theaters, seemed like it was a good movie to own.” Huh? And I cannot even count at this point how many movies are such garbage that he bought them, watched them once, then never watched them again knowing they are crap, but still argued they are good because of the fanfare they received. He calls those ones “an acquired taste.”

Acquired taste, my ass.

Sure, I have a very picky taste in movies. I don’t enjoy a lot that truly are good. I’m not talking about those here, though – I’m talking about movies that objectively speaking belong in the trash can.

We have seen a lot of bad movies in the theaters and on Netflix too, simply because someone at my husband’s work said we just had to see it. One I can think of off the top of my head was The Trip. It was about two and a half hours of listening to these two guys’ supposedly-witty back-patting, while they shoved food down their throats, that was no more funny than it was insightful. You just have to watch it, it’s brilliant. Similarly, there have been countless times that we have planned on going to see a movie and never gone because my husband heard or read that it wasn’t good. But it isn’t just taking people’s advice, it’s that he actually takes the position that the movie wasn’t good. “That’s a bad movie” he’ll say, and then something I’ve been waiting to see for months is off the list for date night. How the fuck do you know it’s a good or bad movie if you don’t watch it yourself?

#3 A Completely Illogical Rating System

I get really upset when I see that my husband has rated something on Netflix way lower than he should have. The only thing that is worse than that (which he does as well) is after I rate a movie, he’ll go in later and re-rate it to what he thinks it should be rated at.

So the way I see it: a five star rating system is across the board for movies, music, hotels, restaurants, and so on. That’s why one-stop-shop sites like Yelp exist to begin with – so you can rate everything in one place, and know what the ratings mean. How can a person be expected to know that a a certain star is acceptable for movies, but not hotels? And definitely not restaurants, but it’s OK with music. That doesn’t make any sense at all – a star is a star and it means the same thing across the board. Not for my husband, though. He will really enjoy a movie and still give it only three stars. He does it all the time – he gave Sleepless in Seattle (an all-time classic film) only three stars and then argued that this was a great movie, deserved of only three stars. Huh? Would you eat at a restaurant that gets only three stars on Yelp? Would you stay at a hotel that has only three stars on Hotels.com? Would you buy a motherfucking book that you were unsure of that only gets three stars on Amazon? No. No you wouldn’t.

#4 Movie Organization

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As with any avid movie collectors, we have a lot of movies. I’d say we’re getting close to about 600, but if you take out all the crap movies maybe it’s closer to 300 or 400 quality films. We have them in a DVD organizer – it’s a spinning thing that sits in our living room as the biggest and most ugly eyesore you could imagine.

My husband was tasked with organizing the movies and rather than ask me what would be easy for me – I being a novice to all-things-film – he just assumed that his psychotic organization from his single days would be best. You’re probably thinking to yourselves alphabetic or by genre for sure, as if organizing 600 DVDs by genre isn’t abnormal of its own right. (If it were just me, we’d just throw them all in there in no particular order.) This is coming from the guy who saw I added a lot of films to the Instant Que on Netflix over the weekend, though; so promptly spent his day yesterday reorganizing the list by genre on our Netflix account. Anyone who organized their Netflix account by genre is not going to merely put their own DVD collection by something logically simple, such as that.

Nope. They are organized by production studio. As in, the company that made the film. The number of hours I have spent looking for a particular movie because I couldn’t simply go to the section for movies that start with an A is staggering.

So what started as a hobby has turned into a profession, sure. Do what you love, and all that crap. But some of this extra-curricular shit has got to be a little out there. When I was in high school I worked at Wendy’s, and when I got home the Burger Bitch didn’t hang up her apron. I told stories from work. I gave anecdotes from the burger station. I made complaints about the customers. It’s all I ever talked about, until eventually no one wanted to talk to me anymore. You’ve got to have a separation between your job and your home life. If movies are your passion, fine; but at least take a break from the ins-and-outs of the industry long enough to just enjoy life once in a while too. Even if enjoying life is just watching a movie without all the back story and the strict organization and the attention to reviews. Just watching.