Friday, February 16, 2001

Movie deprived

We've talked here before about what it means to have no life -- that is, of course, to be a parent. Probably most parents notice a precipitous decline in their nights out when they have children, but I wonder if parents of children with special needs notice it more accutely, since our absence from the household even for an evening is more fraught with peril. Is whatever we're going to do worth the risk of a behavioral decline from our challenging child? Is it worth the time we won't be working and interacting with him? Is it worth disrupting everyone's routine? And most importantly, who the heck can we find that's willing to watch him?

We've been lucky lately to have a grandma living right downstairs, so the last question is less troubling. But the others remain, and I find that the kids are not the only ones who cling to their routine -- I cling to it too, and it's hard to rouse myself to plan an evening, get in the car, go somewhere, see something, and get home late. Few movies are so compelling that they give me a reason to break out.

And most of the time it doesn't much bother me. I read Entertainment Weekly cover to cover, so I know what's going on at the cinema. I can have a conversation with adults about popular culture, if I'm ever alone with adults long enough. I know what the folks on late-night talk shows are plugging. But once a year, when the Oscars roll around, I realize how much my life has changed. I used to at least make an effort to see everything; now -- nothing.

I did have high hopes this year, because I did see one film that had Oscar aspirations. That film was Almost Famous, and I love it dearly, but it got robbed in the nominations. I guess I can follow the supporting actress, original screenplay, and best song races with particular interest now, but the major line-ups mean nothing to me.

The other two films I saw this year -- is it possible I only saw three altogether? I'm not counting Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Return to Me is another film I loved, but it slipped off the radar almost immediately. No Oscar noms there. And while I found Disney's The Kid charming, clunky title or no, even I wouldn't try to make Oscar claims for it. So I'm looking at a sort of so-what Oscar night, though I intend to boo Gladiator throughout. I'm not fond of films where families are slaughtered as motivating factors for the hero.

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