Sunday, March 15, 2009

That's entertainment!

Raising children requires sacrifice. Among the things my wife and I have set aside in the name of parenting: watching movies, having conversations with adults, trying to keep the family room clean, eating vegetables, etc.

When I say we haven't watched movies, I am discounting the 50 showings of Cars, Finding Nemo, Curious George, and Barbie Something Princess.

I have not seen a movie in a theater since moving to the Twin Cities in July 2007. I remember seeing Borat in a theater in Ann Arbor. That may be the last movie I paid to see.

The stars aligned last night. After a day running around in the 50-degree sun and an early bath, the kids were in bed by 8:30. Partner in parenting suggested that we watch Baz Luhrmann's Australia, so we sat down in front of our budget 32" HDTV and our budget home-theater-in-a-box, obtained precisely for this moment but up to now used only for showings of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! and Sid the Science Kid.

The movie could have been Porky's Revenge, and I would have enjoyed it. Still, I finished the movie Australia transported and refreshed. I have not seen Moulin Rouge, but Luhrmann is a director you're willing to forgive. Forgive him the flourishes and the shameless heartstring tugs, and give in to the spectacle. We have a new appreciation for Nicole Kidman, after loathing her in Eyes Wide Shut (also seen in a theater in a previous life... I'm still recovering), and a reinforced reverence for all things Hugh Jackman. We were suckers for the plot line involving the mixed-race boy, noting parallels with Dance with Wolves, kindly white folks swooping in and making everything okay.

At the 1.5 hour mark, this movie could have been over, but I knew it was far from over -- an entirely different war movie within the movie started, with death and misery and crying and reunions and happily-ever-after and the inevitable "Let the Imperialists off the Hook" moment at the end.

No matter. I was somewhere else for two hours 45. We stood up, stretched, and headed upstairs to peek at our sleeping kids for a while.

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