Here’s the thing. At our house, most nights we watch “family shows.” Bear in mind that many people would not so classify all the shows we watch together, since they’re not exactly 100% G-rated…but that’s the thing. We watch them together, as a family. It’s fun, mostly. Sometimes contentious. Overall, it’s good.
I used to watch B movies, when I watched movies by myself. And I used to watch far less TV in general. Sure, TV’s better these days, with the lack of commercials, a “pause” button, and the ability to watch whatever whenever. That’s all great.
My reading time is…well, there’s less of it. And I keep trying to use it to be productive. (If there’s anything less productive than reading what people who aren’t me, aren’t in my situation, choose to publicly claim is working for them and ought to for all others? I don’t know what that even worse time-sink might be. Nevertheless I persist, because it “feels” potentially useful. Though. It ain’t. I should learn this lesson sometime.)
So…the TV/movies we watch together? The shows are generally well done. But they’re not typically what I actually want to see. Does that affect my writing? I mean, do I need me-type ideas and entertainment to stimulate my imagination? Maybe. I don’t have any useful data with which to answer that. No control for the experiment, thus nothing to say. Does the choice of tropes affect my happiness? Probably, but overall I’m much happier with the family around, you know? So does it really matter what we’re watching? Generally I think it doesn’t. This acknowledgment definitely means I am sometimes…often…just waiting for a show to end. Not the end of the world. But it happens.
Then this happened instead, one day: everybody agreed we could spend a few hours watching “Dad movies.” Not just an hour or two watching family stuff, as usual. But an entire afternoon dedicated to…me. And then they all followed through!
Here’s what that meant:
- Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959). I mean, come on. The plot was weak, the acting ridiculous, the special effects horrible even for the time, and in every possible way it was simply a bad movie. Moved slowly, too. But I’d always wanted to see it. I mean, Bela Lugosi! What else do you need? And, yeah, I loved it. Might even watch it again someday. My favorite comment from a non-me viewer in our home: “It looks like a boob with a nipple. It’s the mother-ship!”
- Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988). This was kreepy for sure. I loved the klowns’ sense of humor. Reminded me of the aliens from Mars Attacks! but with more variety and scope of expression. And, okay, sure, other than being entertainingly kreepy I’m not sure what this movie brings to the table. I mean, I liked the colors too. The popcorn spider concept could have used more screen-time, but I keep thinking of it. The bodies preserved in pink cotton candy, the use of a straw to drink their blood…these things just made me happy in general, and I keep smiling when I think of ’em. Plus: one of the kids had already seen the movie separately! How cool is that?
- Attack of the Killer Donuts (2016). Okay, not all the kids made it through all three movies. But, man, I loved the effort. Also: this one wasn’t even my idea! It made the list, for sure, as soon as I heard the title. But the actual suggestion was from a smaller-type human. So, stipulated, not the greatest movie ever. I did like the donut-fangs. Also the pulsing green mostly-liquid bowel evacuations. That stuff was fun. Reminded me of Stephen King’s shit-weasels in Dreamcatcher.
You know what else makes me happy? I hyphenated “mostly-liquid” above. Technically it’s incorrect. The hyphen is redundant, as “mostly” clearly modifies liquid. And yet…I did it anyway. I think it’s funnier with the hyphen than without. It emphasizes the near-liquidity a bit more than correct usage might. And I’m an indie! I don’t have to use the Chicago Manual of Style, or any other stylebook! Sounds minor, I know, but for me it’s not.
Back on topic: The family blew me away. Even after they agreed to watch the movies, I truly didn’t expect them to actually do it. And not one complaint was heard.
I am such a lucky man.
Have fun out there!