Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 259 Movies

"Movies leave a big hole in your day". My kids always frowned when I said that. It meant that I did not want to go a movie - or take them.  We probably never saw twenty movies over twenty years. We just didn't go. Jobs, two kids growing up in the house, skiing, hiking and the pull of the great Alaskan outdoors just didn't leave time nor the draw for the three or four hours it took to drive to and from, and sit in some dark room with sticky floors and misbehaving patrons. Plus the sound systems always seemed tuned to wake the dead. We didn't go. Retirement has allowed us to make up for this behavior.

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

Retirement has been a great time for enjoying movies and all they have to offer. Of course the kids are gone, the jobs are gone, and the skiing, hiking and great Alaskan outdoors are gone. At least they are all gone for us.

Technology has also assisted us in our movie indulgence. Having a home venue to watch movies makes the traveling disappear. DVD players make the control of what time of day to watch a movie and how much of it to watch, or save for tomorrow, is totally in our control. Netflix or Apple TV makes the choice of a movie or TV serial always available. We can stream almost anything at almost any time. We don't have to plan ahead very far.

Our day is pretty well booked up with things that we like to do. We normally spend one hour a day for viewing video. Around 8:30 in the evening we turn on the set and try to turn it off again around 9:30. Not that it wouldn't be pleasurable to sit for longer and watch whatever. But it would mean that the hour for music and reading would disappear. We do value the movie experience but not at the expense of the others.

Sometimes the movie doesn't want to let us go after one hour - and of course, sometimes, just sometimes, it doesn't. We stay with a bit longer and on some rare occasions stay with it right to the end. But as a rule. It's time to hit the stop button and move on. Movies have a way of winding you us so that sleep is not easy. Music has a way of soothing the days events and easing the transition to the other world.

I am convinced that video is the art form of our generation. The skills and abilities of the cast and crew are expert at every level. I find myself in awe of the camera work, lighting, writing, directing and acting. Music, dance, visual art and drama all come together. I'm constantly amazed. 

We have benefited by living within the three or four blocks of two great video stores in Vancouver: The Inferno & The Screening Room. The owners knew movies. There life was watching and critiquing movies. They took us under their wing and guided us along a path of movies exploration; what to watch; what to avoid. We visited them each week and sometimes twice a week. They always had suggestions of foreign films or odd ball films that suited our taste.

The Screening Room, one of the video stores, introduced us to the Criterion Collection. These are very good films that have stood the test of time for one reason or another and been reintroduced with very sharp picture and sound quality. Here you might find the best films of Kurosawa the great Japanese director, or the back and white films of Orson Wells. We sometimes start with a certain director and watch several in a a row. It is fascinating to just slow down and see the progression. Or watch the film twice with the commentary turned on during the second viewing. 

One of our most memorable sessions came one winter when we both came down with a bad case of the flu. It was great. We obtained all of Copollo's Godfather series. We just watched one after the other; hours and hours of movies. We never forgot the particular illness and all the joy that we experienced during it.

Just recently we watch a few black and white films with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astair. My goodness they could dance. No wonder they enjoy their timeless reputation. What fun. It is such a treat to watch a film from the past or watch a film for the second time.

Another genera of films we love to view are foreign films: French, German, Spanish, Italian, etc. The choices seem endless.  We also have enjoyed amazing TV series via Netflix or Apple TV. They are all there.

One good thing about Netflix and I suppose there are other services like this is the queue that you can create for your account. When movies first  come out and are not available for home viewing you can place them in your queue. Some day in the future they will arrive in the mail or streaming and you will wonder why you are getting this particular movie. I never remember if I read about it in the newspaper, magazine or was told about it by a friend. But we queue them up and are never disappointed. We put them there for a reason and though that reason has faded from memory the choice always proves rewarding.

Retirement affords us a special time in life when we can pick and choose how we spend our time. One could do worse than making movies a big part of retirement.



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