The life of a married film critic

This Monday, I will have been married for four months. So it’s kind of funny that I recently had to review two different films that are opening tomorrow, both of which happen to put the marital status of their protagonists right there in the titles.

I’ll post links to my reviews of The Honeymooners and Mr. & Mrs. Smith when they go up tomorrow, but for now, suffice to say that I was amused to see that, in both films, the couples in question have been together for six years and are beginning to wonder if the marriage has run out of steam. I have two basic reactions to this: (1) Gosh, I hope it ain’t like that for D and me in 2011, and (2) these are the sorts of moviegoing coincidences I live for. Who knows, I might even be able to pitch a “theme” piece on this.

But that’s not why I’m writing this post.

No, the reason I’m writing this post is that I have decided to stay home and watch something from the video pile or get some more work done or something, instead of dashing out to catch the last matinee of a movie that is finishing its first run tonight.

My reasons for skipping this screening are partly financial, and partly due to time constraints, but it all comes down to my wife, really: She has, shall we say, encouraged me to be more responsible with my money, and I suspect this film will probably come back on a second-run double-bill in the near future; and she is seeing another film with me tonight, at a theatre for which I have a media pass, so I might as well stay put and wait for her to get home from work, instead of rushing around from film to film and barely having time to pick her up between theatres.

On top of this, our marriage hit another “first” last night. Last night I saw The Honeymooners at a theatre just four blocks from where we live, and because the film opens tomorrow, my editor wanted the review by noon today. (Actually, he wanted it by first thing yesterday morning, but since the only preview screening in town wasn’t until last night…) And because there was a screening of another film at 10am this morning that I really, really wanted to catch, I basically had 13 hours between the end of last night’s screening and the beginning of this morning’s screening to come home, write the review, sleep, eat, say a few words to my wife, and go back to the theatre — and not necessarily in that order.

In my bachelor days, this sort of thing would have been no problem whatsoever — I crammed work in between screenings at odd hours of the morning or evening all the time.

But, you see, I share the alarm clock now.

So that was interesting.

Fortunately, D had to wake up around 7am anyway, but I still felt obliged to persuade her to set it for just a little bit earlier, to give me the breathing room I usually need so that I can read the paper and do whatever else I need to do whenever I take brief breaks during my writing. D and I had anticipated this sort of thing and had talked about it before we got married, and we had kind of agreed that, if I needed to work any particularly unusual hours, then I should probably sleep on the couch — but fortunately, we didn’t have to resort to that, at least not this first time.

And hey, it took us almost four months to get to this point. So we probably won’t encounter this sort of thing that often.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • Matt Page

    Top tip for the day – get a second alarm clock! OUr schedule finds me up somewhere between 6:40 & tpm , whn go and shave shower, dress in time for her to wake up at 7:30, have a quick pray and go to work (I eat and brush my teeth somewhere in there too). Works like a charm!

    Matt

  • http://printcommunications.ca g chin

    “…the couples in question have been together for six years and are beginning to wonder if the marriage has run out of steam.”

    Well – provided you married the right person one assumes the union will ultimately survive the ups, downs, and sideways stuff. Although “five or six years on” is perilously close to the (in)famous seven-year itch. ;p After awhile though the ebb and flow of things can sometimes begin to run together in your collective consciousness – that’s why I found it so funny in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, when Brad Pitt’s character couldn’t remember how many years they’d even been married. ;) But this is merely a symptom, not a diagnosis. Maybe you aren’t keeping track because you’re having so much fun, not because you’ve ceased to care.

    “And hey, it took us almost four months to get to this point. So we probably won’t encounter this sort of thing that often.”

    Not sure I would bet on that, Peter. Really. Preparing for every contingency is a good thing – not fearing the worst or anticipating it, but acknowledging that sometimes life happens, and occasionally you happen along with it. :) And who knows, over time a guy/gal can get used to certain quirks – I know that my aunt, who’s been married to my uncle for more than fifty years, has been inured for some time to his thunderous snoring (which can clearly be heard emerging from their bedroom and probably causes nearby glassware to rattle, trust me) and sleeps beside him, oblivious. Or so she claims. ;)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07395937367596387523 Peter T Chattaway

    Thanks for the tips, guys.

    Oh, and I just realized something — the six-year point in both of these films does not begin when the characters marry, but when they meet, so for me and D, the six-year point would come in 2009, not 2011.


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