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Opinion

Thursday, Jun. 20, 2013

Susan Vollenweider - Debating our way to the silver screen

Special to The Star

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Remember (in a dreamy flashback way) the days when movie viewing decisions were happily and easily made while standing at the theater?

“What’s showing next? That looks good.” Done.

Today’s reality: arguing over a computer screen at home.

Noah and I had been in negotiations for two days because I had promised him a special treat double feature. After little discussion we agreed on “Superman,” but the second choice was proving problematic. I wanted to drool-admire-watch Robert Downey Jr. bigger than life in “Ironman 3 .” He wanted to see 42. More baseball? Really? I’m so done with the sport, even the historical angle held no appeal.

“I think ‘Superman’ and ‘Ironman,’ ” I argued, determined to sway his 8-year-old mind and unaware that while I was busy strategizing, “Superman” had replaced 42 in the theater. “It can be a theme: Superheroes. You like a good theme outing, right?”

With the skill and delivery of an accomplished debater he didn’t skip a beat, only nodded. “Yeah, I do.” Then he smiled the smile of person about to nail it. “But I think that Jackie Robinson was a superhero.”

Game. Set. Match: Noah.

Making a movie decision is the main reason we rarely go to the movies. Mostly we watch them once the titles come out on DVD via Redbox or a Netflix subscription. But home viewing doesn’t solve the agree-on-a-flick issue. The competition can get fierce. I’ve caught everyone messing with the Netflix queue.

It’s like a strategy game — Flix-Quest. We all know that some title has to be at the top of the list, something has to be next. The goal is to time it just right and be the last person to move your choice to the No. 1 spot. Winner!

The envelope comes and, in dramatic awards show style, we rip it open and announce the victor.

Scary movie? Luke.

Sappy flick based on a novel? Bekah.

Any Star Wars or a video game theme? Noah.

And I if I win, I get to watch alone because no one likes my choices. Apparently documentaries and historical fiction aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Who knew?

I did.

Sometime I pick movies that I simply want to watch alone. It doesn’t happen a lot, I usually lose Flix-Quest on purpose, but when I win I get solitude, which is a very sweet treat. Not that I don’t love family movie night. I do, but sometimes the movie that wins makes for an awkward evening.

Brian and I have a long history of picking less than appropriate and not quite child-friendly movies for family movie night. Once we popped in “Meet The Parents” remembering that it had been funny when we saw it years before — then we both quickly dove for the remote. Again with “Dodgeball.” When we made the same mistake with “The Bad News Bears” we were stuck. We both had seen it in our own adolescent years and the dusty memory we had was that it was a laugh fest. It seems that we had tolerated rougher language before we became parents. But we had spent a lot of energy winning the film selection battle that night and felt we were committed to seeing it through to the end.

Besides, they had probably already heard those words before, right?

Although I won on a technicality, the family tradition of debate with Noah took a back seat to the dreamy reality of spending time with him. That time reminded me that what we watch isn’t anywhere near as important as who we watch it with.

For more of Susan Vollenweider’s writing, go to thehistorychicks.com.

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