Mostly, I like being unfamiliar with popular culture. But this most recent round of Academy Awards has left me shaken.
I don’t recognize any of these people or the movies they’re in.
Okay, that’s an exaggerration. I recognized three of the Best Picture nominations, but I thought they were books. I recognized three of the Best Actor nominees, but not the winner; for Best Actress, I recognized only the winner.
On Supporting Actor I do a little better. There’s only one guy I don’t know. He’s also the only one under 50. (Actually, he’s under 30, but who’s counting?) Supporting Actress, however, I’m 0 for 5.
I guess the lesson here is, if you’re an Oscar-nominated actress and want to feel anonymous, come hang out with me.
Even the animated films are pretty much a blur, probably because my daughter is ridiculously sensitive to intensity in films. I sat her down with an episode of Wild Kratts once (a PBS show, which you’d think would be safe) and five minutes later she’s running upstairs crying and screaming, “Mommy! This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me! Mommy! The baby sperm whale! How will it find its mother now?” So, we don’t go to many films with her. I recognized Kung Fu Panda 2 because I’d heard of Kung Fu Panda 1, and I know about Rango because I think they referenced it on The Tudors (or maybe The Office. It was something I watched on Netflix when I should have been sleeping).
For the most part, I don’t mind. I feel a little uncomfortable in the knowledge that I couldn’t hold my own in a game of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” anymore (even though just ten years ago I totally killed at it; it was my claim to fame), but watching movies just hasn’t been my priority since I became a mom almost seven years. Since my daughter was born, I’ve watched three movies in the theater: Dark Knight, Inception, and Harry Potter 7.1. The only movies I really feel a desire to watch are those that involve Chris Nolan (because I love the cerebral-action-thriller thing he does) and/or Christian Bale (because he’s, you know…hot).
My movie viewing has really taken a hit along with the demise of the video store. I used to go into the little locally owned shop near our apartment in North Carolina and just pick out whatever was on their “cult classics” rack. (A Boy and His Dog, anyone? It stars Don Johnson, so it’s got to be good.)
After my daughter was born, I sprang for the $8 monthly fee for the 1-DVD option on Netflix and watched some great films I’d never heard of, like Murderball about the world of quad(riplegic) rugby. I’m too cheap to spring for the DVD option on Netflix now and too impatient to wait for movies from the library and too likely to fall asleep to go to the theater. So, my movie options are limited, even if I were willing to forego sleep and free time to watch films.
Complicating matters, I find myself less able to focus on movies and TV shows in the past couple of years. I really think one’s brain has to be trained for extended video viewing (longer than about 45 minutes). I can read a novel or a memoir for twelve hours at a stretch if given the opportunity (actually, in twelve hours, I can probably read two novels, maybe two-and-a-half), but a two-hour movie is largely beyond my abilities anymore.
So, I guess I just need to get used to being in the dark about current movies unless they talk about them on NPR. At least my kids will have a very good reason to think I’m a total dork when they reach their teenage years.
I wonder if my daughter’s favorite show will still be “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” when she’s an adolescent. If so, there might be some hope for me. My kids, my husband, and I can all be weird together.