Well, this whole Coronavirus thing really sucks.

Aside from the ongoing fear of loss of life and economic devastation (you know, those things that really matter) we’re also getting screwed with our 2020 film calendar.  Most studios are taking a pause and putting their major films on ice, delays have already been announced for Black Widow, No Time to Die, and A Quiet Place II: The Quietening – all films I was looking forward to seeing.  Instead, many of us are being forced to direct our attention to far more depressing content, CNN, other news sources, or Johns Hopkins: The MapBeyond depressing television, many of us will be turning our attention to Netflix, VOD, or if you’re a dinosaur such as myself, a cabinet full of physical Blu-rays and DVDs.  I used to joke with my wife that when the apocalypse hit and all the streaming services went down, as long as I had a DVD player and a generator, I’d be just fine…….I am not finding that joke as amusing as I used to.

The year in film for 2020 could very well be the societal equivalent of an Encino Man experience for all of us (thankfully without the direct exposure to Pauly Shore).  For the first half of the year there will likely be a large gap in mainstream entertainment.  Beyond films, all sports have stopped, television productions have been shut down, and things just feel weird – all of our normal routines have been knocked off course and it’s definitely disorienting. 

At a time such as this, I welcome the opportunity to escape into a movie for a couple of hours – when life gets difficult it’s nice to have the distraction of watching Tom Cruise scale the side of a building, a giant T-Rex chowing down on an attorney, or observing the quiet, understated way Quint meets his end in the mouth of a hungry shark.  This world kind of blows right now, so why not spend a few hours someplace else?

As part of California’s lockdown protocol, I’m trapped…err…requested to remain in my house for at least the next two weeks, along with a wife, two teenage kids, two cats, a dog, a snake, and a lizard.  Quality family time is hard enough to come by on a good day, and I’m confident four out of five family therapists would not suggest forced ongoing close-quarters cohabitation as their #1 recommendation to increase family harmony.

So, I started thinking about how to help pass the time, and I was talking with my daughter about using the lockdown period to broaden her film horizons; for clarity “broaden” meaning “make her watch a bunch of movies I love.”  My kids and I have always bonded over film, it’s one of the reasons I will always have a genuine love of all things Marvel – those films came along at the perfect age for my kids, and I was able to experience the series right along with them as they were growing up.  Film has been a shared experience, a topic of conversation and debate, and an ongoing connection; it’s not unusual for my daughter to send me a link to a piece of score music, or for all of us to talk excitedly about the latest movie trailer. 

I find myself genuinely curious how she’ll react to some of these movies.  Some are newer, but most of what I’ve pulled out of the cabinet can be considered 80’s and 90’s classics – at least in my mind.  I’m excited to see what she likes, and what she doesn’t.  This exercise will help rectify my own failures as a father (Jaws), will help her understand my love of the 80’s (Escape From New York) and if all goes well, I might even get her to appreciate a true classic or two (The Great Escape).

This is not a responsibility I take lightly; it will force me to confront many questions:

  • In today’s CGI heavy world, will she appreciate the glory of practical effects?  Will she truly understand the wonder of watching a man undergo an air bladder filled transformation into a wolf, or be dazzled by seeing a spider-head saunter its way out of a frigid examination room?
  • Which James Bond should she start with?  You never forget your first Bond.  For me, my first Bond was Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me, shortly followed by Moonraker.  Does proper Bond introduction protocol always mean current era, should I make it Daniel Craig?  How do I explain to her it’s best if she just pretends the Pierce Brosnan era never happened?
  • Just how damaging will it be to our relationship if she doesn’t like Big Trouble in Little China?  Is excluding her from my will too drastic a response?  

My plan is to conduct quick interviews with her after each film, I’m looking forward to it.  She’s also excited about the project, hopefully it will help pass the time for both of us and provide the opportunity for some quality father/daughter time during an otherwise bleak moment in human history.  The picture above includes some of the films I pulled out of the cabinet, with more to come – she gets to make her first selection tonight, so away we go!

Good luck to all of us, stay healthy, and watch good movies……we’ll get through this.

-Dave