One of the things that make going to the movies fun for me is having someone with whom I can share the experience. Over the holidays, one of my favorite moments was when my family walked out of "American Hustle." We were all laughing and enthusiastic, jabbering away with one another about what we had just seen. As we sat around the table at dinner, we continued our raves. The past year has been especially fun, since we can now bring our son along to many of the "grown-up" films that we had previously had to miss, or wait until they became available on home video. Instead, we found ourselves sitting through more crowd-demographic fare. This sometimes worked in our favor, as blockbusters tend to have something for everyone, even moms in the case of Thor. Now, however, we found ourselves discussing plot and character, not simply oo-ing and ah-ing about the computer-generated images, or Chris Hemsworth without a shirt.
This is not to say that we always agree, as a family. I was the dissenter in our group of three when it came to The Desolation of Smaug. Wife and son were bowled over by the grandeur of it all, and all that whipcrack action had them sitting up straight in their seats. I found the desolation to be more a prolongation of the inevitable. I was the one who wasn't shivering in anticipation of the next three hours of Peter Jackson's vision of Middle Earth.
Maybe that's why I insisted on taking my wife to see "Inside Llewyn Davis." I've been a fan of the Coen brothers since I saw "Blood Simple" on VHS back in the mid-eighties. My wife has shared some of this adoration, but hers is more qualified. I was reminded of this somewhere about halfway through the film, when I felt her shift in her seat much in the same manner I had flopped in mine when I had been taking in all the business of orcs, dwarves an hobbits. I was immersed in the Greenwich Village folk music scene of the early sixties and my wife was waiting for the ratings slide. The flurry of and buzz of conversation we shared coming out of "American Hustle" was nowhere to be found. I wanted to go on and on about how impressed I was with the way the Coens had captured the look and feel of that period, not that I had turned my collar up to the cold and damp back in the day. My wife listened to me, but our talk never seemed to catch fire. I wondered if I had insisted on dragging my son along if I would have been able to reach some sort of critical quorum.
Then I thought of baseball. One out of three, over a career, will get you into the Hall of Fame. I can live with that.