Another Academy Awards show has come and gone and, for the 15th year in a row, I correctly predicted the Best Picture winner.
Once again, the award for Best Picture went to, “A movie I’ve never seen, or likely heard of, before in my life.”
This wasn’t always the case, of course. I’ve seen my fair share of award-winning movies. Perhaps not coincidentally, most of these movies came between 1989 and 2001, when I was in high school, college and had just started dating my wife.
That came to an abrupt halt in 2004, however, when I saw my last Best Picture award-winning movie, “Million Dollar Baby.” Also not coincidentally, that was the year our first child was born.
Since then, my movie life has pretty much been filled with animated features and Disney classics. Much like my wallet, my movie bucket list has remained largely empty since the births of Sophie and Max.
Because of our hectic schedules, we don’t have a lot of family time to devote to movies. On those rare occasions when we can block off two hours to head off to the cinema, you can bet I don’t have much say in the movie we’ll be seeing that day. My kids don’t want to see any potential award-winning films such as “Spotlight” (Best Picture in 2016) or “Moonlight” (Best Picture in 2017) or any other movie with any kind of “light” in the title.
I’ve never seen “Birdman” (2015) or “12 Years a Slave” (2014), but you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ve seen every single “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movie that has ever been released. I’m not making this up. I have sat there for hours at a time, waiting for the inevitable fart joke that each and every movie in the series contains. That’s usually the highlight of the picture for me.
I also have seen pretty much every Disney movie that has ever been released (or re-released, because the fine folks at Disney aren’t above dipping into the well as often as possible in order to make a few extra bucks) since 2004. In these movies, it’s just a matter of waiting until the main character loses one or both parents (seriously, go back and watch a few Disney movies … they’ve pretty much cornered the market on creating orphans) and then goes on some sort of epic (a nice way of saying “far-fetched”) journey of discovery and self-realization.
Pretty much the only thing I’ve come to appreciate about the move theater is the one we go to has reclining seats that are roomy enough for my ample posterior and they offer free refills on the popcorn — although I’m not entirely sure how “free” it is considering they charge about $24.99 per tub and even I can’t eat that much popcorn in two hours to make it worth my while. I do, however, look forward to the lengthy nap I get to take once the lights go down and whatever blather my children have picked out for us to watch starts up on the screen.
I suppose in this day and age of technology, I could watch one of those incredible, Oscar-nominated films at home. It’s gotten to the point, however, that I’m so far out of the cinematic loop that I usually don’t even know what’s even up for consideration for Best Picture until I’m actually sitting there watching the Academy Awards.
Besides, outside of college football season (when I am allowed to touch the remote control), I have about as much say what we watch on television as I do what we watch in the movie theaters in our household. As is so often the case, the kids reign supreme. I know as soon as my wife says, “Let’s find a movie we all can watch on Netflix,” I’m about to get yet another nap, although at least this time fewer people will complain when I snore and the popcorn is a heck of a lot cheaper.
The good news, I suppose, is that my kids are getting older and hopefully, their taste in movies will improve.
Until then, tune in every February to get my Academy Awards predictions. I promise, I won’t steer you wrong.
David Fong writes for the Troy Daily News, a division of AIM Media Midwest.