Tonight at the dinner table, my wife proclaimed that tonight was going to be movie night, and that the three of us were going to be in the same room together and watch a movie. Together.
Now that doesn't sound all that revolutionary or radical. Until, that is, you realize she is often asleep (either in bed or on the couch) by 8 p.m., and our son is a teenager who, I suspect, would sometimes be happier to not admit to having parents that to actually spend time with them. In fact, his first reaction to her pronouncement was to say "I'm not sure I'm up to that."
Nevertheless, the three of us adjourned after dinner to the family room, turned on the television, fired up the Roku, launched Netflix, and promptly stalled trying to decide what to watch. But she was not to be deterred.
Since our son has on occasion voiced an interest in making videos (which more often than not actually means he was to make a video of himself playing a video game as opposed to making an actual movie), my wife decided to launch an episode of Hollywood's Greatest Film Directors featuring Barry Levinson, director of Diner, Bugsy, and Rain Man, amongst others.
We also made it through that episode (which I found very interesting), so we decided to push our luck and try an actual movie. She chose a documentary about young magicians preparing to compete for the title of Teen Champion during the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas.
Part way through Make Believe (2010), we lost one of the three viewers as my wife dozed off. That is not a commentary on the quality of the film, though. I found it very interesting, and the young magician I was most rooting for actually won.
When you watch a movie on Netflix, after it ends the service provides three other recommendations, one of which usually makes no sense based on the film you've just seen. (I believe in the case of Make Believe, two of the recommendations were other documentaries while the third was for a horror film. Go figure.)
At this point, I guess you could say that our movie night had officially come to an end, as my wife woke long enough to move from the chair in which she had fallen asleep to the couch, where she promptly went back to sleep. Our son decided that was enough togetherness for one night and adjourned to his room to resume his usual routine of playing video games and watching videos about playing video games.
I decided to watch another movie and chose one about one of my all-time favorite comics, Don Rickles. Mr Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (2007) was directed by John Landis (National Lampoon's Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Beverly Hills Cop III, among others) and intersperses pieces of Rickles' Las Vegas act (and other performances) with interview clips from Rickles along with a number of celebrities who know or admire the man: Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Bob Newhart, Robin Williams, Chris Rock. Hilarious.
While the film didn't really discuss specifics, afterward I realized Rickles was in his 30s before he had any real success as a comic and nearly 40 before he really became a star. As he nears 90, he is still performing.
I hope I have something that continues to fire me up and interests me if I should reach that age.