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I Used to Be Hip and Go to the Movies, Then I Became a Mom

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The other day I was searching for a coat to put on that would be appropriate for shoveling the sidewalk. In the way back of the coat closet I pulled out a heavy-duty raincoat with some solid lining. I couldn’t remember the last time I had worn it. I immediately thrusted my hands into the pockets to see if there were any time capsule-like objects abandoned for me. Sure enough, I discovered a ticket stub.

I unfolded the edges and squinted at the faded information and I was shocked. First there was the humor that the ticket was from the film Bridget Jones’s Diary. Yes, the 2001 original. But the shock was that it was for a 10 pm showtime.

Just seeing the time made me want to yawn — 10 pm?! Did I really go to movies that late? I must have. You know, back when I was hip.

I have a memory of being hip. It was ages ago, long before I became a mom. It was only a small pocket of my life, but it has to count for something, right?

There was an era of my life when I lived in the moment and flew by the seat of my pants. In my mid-twenties I drove a car that could die at any moment and often did. But I didn’t care because it was a convertible. I lived in a studio apartment and would do things like let people I had just met sleep on my sofa for a week. I went to parties and still referenced college.

I also went to the movies. ALL THE TIME. I went after work. I went sometimes four or five times over the weekend. If I was bored I would walk to the small art house cinema a block away from my apartment and watch whatever was playing next, even if I had already seen it. Part of this film fervor was a wallowing of passion for the industry. I was elated to be living in L.A. and it felt like my obligation to know about every film that was released.

By the time award show nominations were announced, I was positively smug because I had always seen every film honored and could easily, and often did without being asked, give my opinion on which film should be given an award.

I continued my passion for movie-going for a few years after I left L.A. But eventually my stash of ticket stubs stopped growing. Many of the films I wanted to see, the art-house films that were showing in New York or L.A., just weren’t finding their way to where I then lived.

Once I became a mom, I told myself I was going to carve out “me time” and I always intended that to translate into going to the movies: the ultimate mini escape! However the schedule of a new mom is not exactly aligned with the schedule of a movie theater. And I vowed NEVER to be a mom with a crying baby in the audience.

It was years into motherhood before I got back to the movie theater. I excitedly hugged my then 2-and-a-half-year-old son on my knee and delighted in his delight as we watched The Winnie the Pooh Movie. In the moment I was thrilled to be having the experience with my kid. But a part of me was still envious of the people I saw walking into other movies in the cineplex.

It was then that I realized that I would no longer be the kind of person who saw a film the night it first came out, but I would now be the kind of mom who takes her kid to pretty much every animated and PG film released. My filmic priorities had shifted for family viewing.

Two years ago — and again this holiday — my mother gave me with one of the best gifts: movie tickets. Lots of them. They also came with babysitting (OMG) and the gentle nudge, “You really need to get out of the house more.” Several times a month I took myself to the movies. I even choreographed a 24-hour movie marathon!

I thought I was keeping up with things. I thought I was on the way to being movie hip again, or, at the very least, on the on-ramp. Then the nominations for the 2015 Golden Globes® were announced and I realized I had seen nearly every single animated film (OF COURSE), but only one (ONE!) film that was nominated in any of the top categories.

Without a doubt I understand what I am about to confess is going to sound ridiculous, but you have to understand, going to the movies and knowing about movies is kind of my thing. As soon as I read the nomination announcement I wanted to get in my car, drive to New Jersey (land of the biggest and best mega-plexes) and SEE ALL THE FILMS.

Unfortunately I could not make such a quest. For goodness sakes I’m a mom! I had a kid to pick up from school, LEGO club, grocery shopping to do, and lunches to pack. Ha ha ha. Go to a triple feature at the movies … nope.

What I could do was make a list, make a plan, activate a spreadsheet. I figured out which films were playing near me and over the holidays I started collecting ticket stubs. But then I encountered that pesky art house film problem. So many nominated films simply weren’t playing in suburbia.

It really would be great if the award show people could partner with cable providers and offer some sort of on-demand nomination package. See all the films, right? I’m a mom who can leave the house to go to a film, but the films aren’t playing here. In many cases parents can’t leave the house, but they still want to see a current film. (And how great would it be to have the power to hit the pause button to re-tuck someone back into bed?!)

I have now seen many of the nominated films and I am hoping to catch at least one more before the Golden Globes® ceremony on Sunday. Seeing movies makes me feel hip. They make me feel connected to other film lovers and an industry to which I dedicated many years of my life. I have tried to be hip in other areas of my life, but it’s just not going to happen. (Why, yes, I DO have Taylor Swift playing in my car cd player …)

The Golden Globes® will be airing on NBC this Sunday, January 11th. Our best friends, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, will be the co-hosts. I’ll be Tweeting during the show. Let’s meet online and talk about the films we saw, the ones we still need to see, and how cute Benedict Cumberbatch looks in a tux!

Did you get the chance to go to the movies and see any of the nominated films?

Image source: Thinkstock photos

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