Although I like watching movies, I have significant gaps in what I’ve actually seen. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t actually mention the title of a movie I haven’t seen, because it invariably leads to someone choking and shouting phrases such “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN’T SEEN PRETTY IN PINK?” (sigh) This sad state results from (a) my tendency to re-watch favorite movies over and over again and (b) the lack, at certain points in my life, of a proper movie-going buddy. I’ve also had the misfortune of wasting my time on some pretty lame movies. I have a pretty high tolerance for the mediocre, but if you asked me what movies I’d never want to see again, Against All Odds and Hot Dog are at the top of the list. (Now imagine seeing both of those movies when you’re awkward, seventeen, and in equally awkward mixed company.)
My past efforts to catch up on my movie-watching have been somewhat unsuccessful. One year my husband and I decided to watch our whole VHS movie collection in alphabetical order, starting with Apollo 13. The next morning we turned on the television and were completely disoriented to see the remains of the Space Shuttle Columbia falling to earth over Texas. I don’t think we watched any of our movies for the rest of 2003, having convinced ourselves that we were the most fatal jinx ever. A couple of years later we decided to watch the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Movies, and may have set a Netflix record for Longest Time Between Receipt of DVD and Viewing of Film (a tie between Lawrence of Arabia, which was very long but very good, and Birth of a Nation, which was ugly and painful). After discovering the travel documentaries Long Way Round and Long Way Down, it was hard to go back to ordinary movies.
Those were still older movies on DVD, though, not current releases. For whatever reason, I just don’t get out too often to see the latest blockbuster. When the kids were little, we rarely had a babysitter, so watching films on DVD was more manageable. But even then, films often lost out to the opportunity to watch, say, the entire run of “Sports Night.” (Dan and Casey, Jeremy and Natalie, Dana and Isaac — I miss you!)
Now I have a bit more opportunity to get out and keep up. For a while, though, it looks like I will be spending a lot of time catching up on entire franchises. Last weekend I watched five movies in four days: Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, and Iron Man 1-3. That was… a bit much. Many, many, many, many objects blew up in my face. New and powerful weapons were invented. Friends in conflict fought each other, reconciled, then fought a common enemy side by side. Rules were broken. And the credits rolled on for so long (and I do watch ALL of them) that after a while, particularly for Star Trek Into Darkness, I started looking for my own name. Everyone else in the world apparently worked on it; maybe I had, too, and just forgot. (I didn’t see it; maybe they spelled it wrong.)
But I am so many franchises behind. Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings, anything with an X-Man in it or a lone Avenger in it….
All of this is completely ignoring the DVR buildup I’ve created over the last five months. Five more episodes of “Castle” to watch. BBC America specials on the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Doctors. About a dozen episodes of “Community” (and when I’m done with that one, there is NO MORE). And the box sets…. I have DVD box sets for five seasons of “Doctor Who” and seven seasons of “House.”
Perhaps I should start with the time travel movies, in case they contain the secret to having enough time to watch movies and have a life.