Five years ago I was working at an ad agency when my Art Director partner, John, made some reference I didn’t get it. I stared at him blankly.
“Haven’t you seen GoodFellas?” he asked.
“Nope,” I said.
He was shocked. I told him I haven’t seen a lot of movies and he insisted that I needed to catch up. Days later, he gave me a hard drive with 30 or so must-see classic films that he had downloaded from bit torrent.
I scanned the list.
The Godfather. Fell asleep.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Nope.
The Shining. No.
The Matrix. Never saw it.
Fight Club. Uh, uh.
Part of the reason I haven’t seen a lot of movies is because I’m very squeamish. I watched “Breaking Bad” with my hands covering my eyes and ears.
But the biggest reason is because I fall asleep. All. The. Time. Even during “Schindler’s List.” I know. What a shanda.
It’s why I avoided the movie theaters that have reclining seats for years. Why the hell would I want to spend $15 to take a nap?
After a few days, John asked if I watched “GoodFellas” yet.
“No,” I said. “I fall asleep watching movies at home, too. In fact, it’s even worse,” I said.
John wasn’t having it.
He invited me over on a snowy January night to watch “GoodFellas” properly. He’d make me a big Italian meal and then we’d watch it together.
I got to his place around 8:00 p.m. to find him preparing a huge spread. Pasta, bread, meatballs and lots of wine. All things that would knock me out in no time, but I hung in there. We laughed, ate his delicious meal and settled in for the main event at 10:00 p.m.
I was nervous, but tried to be optimistic. I only had one glass of wine and with all that violence and gun shots, how could I possibly pass out?
John popped “GoodFellas” into the DVD player (Yup, people still watched DVDs then.), I sat up as straight as I could on the couch and he pressed play.
(I’m not going to worry about spoilers because I assume most people have seen this movie, but if you haven’t, skip over the next paragraph.)
I watched the first few scenes with Ray Liotta. I remember seeing Joe Pesci shoot someone and I was doing well.
I recall John looking over at me occasionally to make sure I was still awake. I’d give him a thumbs up and he’d resume watching the movie.
After 45 minutes or so, my eyes became heavy. I caught myself several times and sat up straight again, but after a while, I succumbed to my fantastic farfalle and focaccia food coma and drifted off to sleep.
Some time later, I was awakened by a thunderous clap that scared the shit out of me. I looked up to find John standing above me laughing. It was his evil way of waking me up.
I drank some water and tried my best to stay up, but I knew it was futile. This wasn’t my first time at the rest rodeo. Within minutes, I drifted off to slumber.
Some time later, John shook me awake to tell me that the movie ended.
“How was it?”I asked jokingly as I wiped the drool from my face.
He was disappointed. I basically said, “I told you so,” thanked him for the meal and caught a cab home around 1:00 a.m.
I wish I could you tell I’ve changed since then, but I’d be lying. The truth is I enjoy watching movies, but it’s not something I do often.
However, yesterday I decided to go see “Mary Poppins Returns.” The Screen Actors Guild (SAG), of which I am a member, had a screening for the upcoming SAG Awards and I wanted to go for four reasons.
I’m a huge fan of the original film and was curious to see the updated version.
There was a chance Emily Blunt would be doing a Q&A afterwards.
A little escapism seemed like a good self-care thing to do.
It started at 6:00 p.m. Score!
While I thought there were some bright spots (literally and figuratively) in the film, overall, I won’t go racing back to see it again.
However, I did love the cameos. I also connected to the life lessons (good self-care reminders) like those shared in the last song (spoiler alert) where the characters floated with balloons in the sky and gleefully sang:
Let the past take a bow
The forever is now
And there's nowhere to go but up, up!
Sound advice, MP.
And while Emily Blunt wasn’t able to “pop in” (You’re welcome), I am happy to report that I never head bobbed, dozed or drifted off even temporarily to sleep. I was awake for the whole damn thing. That’s right. I stayed “up.”
Would the original Mary Poppins be proud of me? Probably. She used reverse psychology to get Jane and Michael Banks to fall asleep when she sang “Stay Awake” to them. Little did she know, a movie may have done the trick.
Do you consider watching a movie self-care? Do you fall asleep at the movies? Are you usually one of the first ones to catch a film when it comes out? Did you see “Mary Poppins Returns?” What did you think of it? Tell me below. I’d love to hear from you!