|(Photo via Australian War Memorial Collection)|
Fanatic is maybe too strong a word. I wasn't film-student-level obsessive, I didn't know hundreds of obscure titles or directors, and never really bothered to pick up more than the most basic technical industry jargon, but boy did I love movies. Like comic books, they were one of my favorite ways to sneak out of the drudgery of daily life and visit someone else's reality for a little while. Comedy, drama, animation, musical, documentary, action, science fiction, suspense, horror... I liked a little bit of everything. Give me a decent story, well-told (or even a dumb story that is entertainingly told, technically proficient or not), and I was happy.
I'd watch movies, talk about them obsessively with friends, and occasionally write about them (my old 411mania column, The Cutting Room Floor, is still accessible as proof of that), but as often seems to happen, life got in the way. I got married, I had a job for many years where I worked nights (which I don't anymore, thankfully), we had a kid, I went to grad school... and a lot of the time and desire to watch a lot of movies just kind of fell by the wayside. For many years now, it hasn't been usual to drive by a theater marquee and not recognize the titles of most (or sometimes all) of the movies playing. Most of the films released in a given year, be they Big Important Critically Acclaimed Films or just the fun goofy stuff, go unwatched now, even when I have every intention of seeing them. "I'll get around to it eventually," I say, but sometimes eventually never happens.
With all of life's other priorities, it's hard to find the time to sit down and commit that much time and watch something all in one go (and this isn't helped by the fact that everything seems to be a two-and-a-half hour or longer epic these days, even the gross-out comedies... there's nothing wrong with a tight, 90 minute movie, Hollywood!), especially since the sort of movies that appeal to everyone in my family are few and far between, so I have to watch a lot of stuff by myself if I want to see most of the stuff I want to see.
About the only time that's possible is after the wife and kid go to bed.
Well, if that's the only time available, so be it.
Welcome to the Up Too Late Film Club, an ongoing series where I'll talk about what it is I'm watching when I have to go to work heartbreakingly early but I finally have the TV to myself, so to hell with it. It will be a weird mix of stuff, all over the place in terms of genre and quality. Try and keep those eyes open, enjoy the movies (or hopefully at least my thoughts on them), and remember that caffeine will be there to embrace you in the morning. Other people's realities are out there waiting to be seen.