Not Quite Total Recall

A lot of parenting is hard.

So, so hard.

You’re dealing with teething … sleeping through the night … toilet training … that drop-off at kindergarten … sliding behind the wheel of a car for the first time … trying to pick out a movie together. 

No, really. Trying to pick a Friday night movie is every bit as challenging as that first herky-jerky, brake-pumping ride through the neighborhood. Movie selection might even trigger more nausea. 

And definitely more drama than what’s on screen.

Part of the problem is everyone left in the house — No. 1 off at college and therefore spared the painful ritual — can’t remember what we’ve actually watched. Case in point: 

Me, just moments ago: “Hey, No. 2, do you remember that last movie we watched?”

No. 2: “What? What movie?” 

Me: “The last movie we saw together. We almost watched the Pete Davidson movie but ended up watching something else shorter. What was it?”

No. 2: “Do you know the genre?”

Me: “No. I remember nothing about it.” 

No. 3 innocently wanders into the family room.

Me: “WHAT MOVIE DID WE WATCH THAT ONE NIGHT THAT WE DIDN’T WATCH THE PETE DAVIDSON MOVIE?”

No. 3: “Whoa. So much yelling. We didn’t watch a movie.”

Me: “YES! WE DID!”

No. 3: “Oh yeah, it was the shorter one, the politics movie, the one with Steve Carrell.”

BOOM.

And … end scene.

None of us actually remembers that movie’s name. 

Definitely movie makers are partly to blame for creating schlock that doesn’t stick to our moth-eaten brains. Also blamable — way overshare-y movie trailers that unspool the whole movie in 45 seconds leaving us feeling like we actually did just see the movie. Give us SOME reason to watch! You shouldn’t give away the whole plot — it makes you look cheap.

On more than one occasion, the TV’s been fired up and someone (OK, me) will say, “This seems familiar. I am pretty sure we watched this.” 

My husband: “No, we didn’t.” 

“Yes, we definitely did.” 

And the movie will continue and I’ll have enough recall that I start saying what comes next. And that usually brings things to a halt, which brings us to a SPOILER ALERT if you’ve never seen “Looper.”

“Oooooh yeah, this is the part where he comes face-to-face with his future self!”

At which point, No. 3 groaned because turns out his dad and I actually had seen the movie but not the kids. Oops. 

If we can agree none of us have actually seen the flick in question, then the problem is very different tastes and attention spans coming into play. Half our audience has been exposed to a lot of TikTok while one of the adults (not me) still reads and considers a historical novel on the periodic table an unable-to-put-down book selection, which is how the family was force-screened “Lincoln,” which three out of five of us are still sort of traumatized by and the only reason I’m not one of those is because I fell asleep 39 minutes in. Which, actually, is probably the biggest stumbling block to family movie night.

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