The “Dad” Guide to Going to the Movies in 2017

Spoiler: We went to see “The Greatest Showman,” and it’s really good.

Before I got married and then after I got married but didn’t have children, I (and the wife) went to movies almost every week.

No blockbuster, no rom-com, and no award nominee went unseen by us almost to the point that when films would later come to Netflix or to iTunes or to any other on-demand streaming service, we would find ourselves scrolling and scrolling simply because we had seen everything already.

Things have changed.

Now a night out to the movies is a luxury and our evenings of Netlix-ing and chilling are very quickly interrupted with a little human staring up and asking, “Can we watch Moana?”

So with that I present the 2017 “Dad” guide to the movies.

For Your Incredibly Careful Consideration

Let’s start with going out to the movies.

Before venturing out to the movies, one must know that there is very little room for error when it comes to deciding to leave the house to go see something. Taking into consideration the cost of a babysitter, the dinner, the gas, the time it takes to change from comfy sweatpants to dressier sweatpants, one cannot waste such an expense and an effort on…I dunno…”The Emoji Movie.”

To help you make more informed decisions, here are some questions to ask:

Does this movie need to be experienced in a theater environment and on a big screen?

Consider the 2013 film, “Gravity” or the 2010 film, “Inception.”

“Gravity” focuses on one woman’s battle as she finds herself alone in the massive expanse of space. It’s space. Only a massive screen and state of the art surround sound could come close to capturing the size and scope of being lost in space.

“Inception,” is a visual mind trip that not only makes your mind do somersaults but at times physically discombobulates and disorients you.

Waiting and watching either of these movie on demand at home would detract from the overall theatrical experience and grandeur.

Conversely, you could probably wait to watch a movie like “The Post,” at home and not really miss out on any particularly unique theatrical viewing experience.

This year, this applies to the following:

Will you both enjoy this movie?

This is important. Again, these opportunities to go out are few and far between so choose a movie that you both will enjoy. In the moment, while you may be amped and dressed as Chewbacca, take into consideration that this could be the last movie your wife sees for the next 4-6 weeks. You ready to deal with that drive home after the movie especially if she’s never seen a single one of the Star Wars films?

Pass on Star Wars for the two of you.

As for “Dunkirk,” this film actually raises a subquestion which is, “who or what recommended this movie?”

Something that is “critically acclaimed” may not always be what you constitute as “entertaining” and vice versa. Therefore, unless your true motive in going to see a movie is to appear culturally relevant (or you actually are), go for “entertaining” every time and more specifically, take the advice of people who have similar tastes in movies as you over any and all critics.

Why? It’s my belief that critics whether they be professionals or simply that guy at work who says that Wes Anderson is a genius, love the “tough watch” because it makes the film less accessible to the masses and makes them appear more enlightened.

For instance, I used to listen to a Podcast called “The Watch” and in the 2016 Year in Review, one of the hosts, acclaimed critic, Andy Greenwald when asked what the best film of 2016 was, replied, “It’s going to be ‘Moonlight.'”

Yes. That’s right. He put a movie he hadn’t seen yet at the top of his list.

That said, “Dunkirk,” was deemed by critics as an instant classic and an early season Oscar favorite. However, every person I talked to that saw it had similar feedback.

  • The accents were hard to understand
  • The movie is slow
  • It was kinda hard to follow

I’m out.

Which leaves…

The Greatest Showman

I went in knowing nothing except that Hugh Jackman sings in it.

I expected a Broadway type endeavor in the vein of “Les Miserables.”

What I got was a thrilling hybrid of “Moulin Rouge” and “La La Land,” and a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Not only were we thrilled and entertained but it was the best choice the we could have made in deciding to go out to a movie.

Another way to tell that we were greatly affected by this movie and that we enjoyed it is that we both spent the next day deep diving into the backstory as well as production of the movie.

  • Is it a true story? Well…yes…loosely, in that it’s about P.T. Barnum and how he became the Greatest Showman.
  • Was that their real singing voices? Yes, except for one of the major numbers.
  • Was that really Zac Efron and Zendaya on the trapeze? Yes, most of it.
  • Who the heck is Zendaya? She’s from the Disney Universe of stars.
  • Who wrote this music? Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  • Who? You may recognize their work from such a film as “La La Land” and from a Broadway hit called “Dear Evan Hansen”
  • Wait…wow? Yeah, and did you know they wrote “Greatest Showman” before both of those hits and only got greenlit to write the music because director Michael Gracey lied and said they were nominated for a Tony Award for their work on “James and the Giant Peach (NOT A REAL SHOW).

Told you. Deep dive.

It’s good. Check it out.

And then when you inevitably get home and want more watch these two incredible behind the scenes moments before the filming of the movie.





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