Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 722 Movies

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

"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 to 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 amends for this behavior.

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. Time of day to watch a movie and how much of it to watch, or save for tomorrow, is totally in our control. Between Netflix,  Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Britbox, Hulu and even more streaming services 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 and a half a day viewing video. Around 8:00 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 and a half hours - and of course, sometimes, just sometimes, it doesn't. We stay 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. For me, music has a way of soothing the day's 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. 

Years ago we 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. Their life was watching and critiquing movies. They took us under their wing and guided us along a path of movie 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 oddball films that suited our taste.

The Screening Room introduced us to the Criterion Collection. Nowadays the Criterion Collection is available to stream. They offer 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 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.

Another genre of films or TV series we love to view are foreign films: British, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Scandinavian. The choices seem endless. They are all available. 

And then of course there is YouTube and all of the clips from it seems like any movie ever made. You can beem those up and rove across decades watch whomever or whatever you fancy. And if you enjoy documentaries the streaming services are your oyster. You can find some offering on almost any topic. 

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 or videos a big part of retirement. During an illness or a pandemic they seem like, excuse the expression, a life saver.You have to be careful though or your life can be consumed by these experiences and all other life around you can disappear. 

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