One of the best things about a decade ending is all of the end-of-year lists, debating those rankings and seeing what you have and have not seen, heard and read.
My wife, Betsy, pointed out the A.V. Club’s “100 best movies of the 2010s” to me recently.
The list came to her attention after one of her friends from college posted the list to his Facebook page. This guy had seen nearly all of the movies and most of the movies he hadn’t seen were from 2019 and hadn’t yet been released in the U.K., where he lives.
There was a time when that would’ve been true for me too.
The effort it takes as a parent of young children to watch a grownup movie was not a life change I anticipated when I started having children.
I love movies and I love going to the movie theater.
Whether it was in a packed theater at the latest blockbuster or just with just a couple other people at the latest Woody Allen movie, trips to the theater were a regular activity for my family.
Even now, I have yet to visit my parents in Texas when we haven’t gone to the theater as a family. My parents took my son and me to see “Toy Story 4” when the two of us visited in July.
Some of my favorite experiences in Hastings involved seeing movies by myself at the Rivoli in downtown, one of Nebraska’s hidden gems.
In 2010, the year we were married, Betsy and I saw nine of the 10 best picture nominees before the Academy Awards ceremony in February 2011.
We did eventually see James Franco lose his arm in “127 Hours,” which was the only best picture nominee we didn’t see before the Academy Awards ceremony.
Early in our marriage, Betsy and I would get home from work, split a bottle of wine and spend the evening watching a movie.
That’s how we saw 2010’s “Winter’s Bone,” which came in No. 31 on the A.V. Club list, after we each read the novel it is based on.
With all the different streaming services, it may be easier than ever to watch whatever movie your heart desires.
Now that I have two children —ages 5 and 2 — unless “whatever movie your heart desires” includes videos on YouTube of “Baby Shark” or other children playing video games, my wife and I are just out of luck. At least until the kids go to bed.
Then we can watch what we want — for probably an hour — before eyelids get heavy and we’re ready for bed too.
It took us a week and four sittings to watch 2016’s “The Lobster,” which was No. 53 on the A.V. Club’s list. We had the same experience with 2014’s “Boyhood,” which was no. 13.
Both are excellent.
Of the A.V. Club 100 best movies of the decade, I’ve seen 26 of them and of those 26, 14 of them came out before I became a parent.
Betsy and I did actually see the top movie on the list, 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” as parents. It was in her hometown theater in Iowa while her parents watched our son.
It was the only movie either of us saw in the theater that year.
Not that our lives aren’t better as parents. In fact, I’ve started taking our 5-year-old son to the occasional animated movie at the theater.
However, we’re not likely to become regulars at the theater anytime soon.
We’re expecting our third child in May.
Maybe we’ll celebrate by sitting down as a family to watch “Paddington 2,” which came in on the A.V. Club list at No. 77.