I sat watching "Minions" a week ago with my wife, her parents and our two children (both currently 5 yet 11 months apart.) I kept watching and thinking "wow, when did I get here?" and then thinking, "Shouldn't I be watching something with a lot of nudity and violence?"
Many people have no idea how hard this transition is. I was once a film history student. The amount of film I have seen would fill up all five of the great lakes if it were unrolled, tied together and smooshed down to add as much as possible. Films move me, some of them not as much as others and maybe some more than they should, but they always do.
"Minions" is just the jumping off point for this writing, but this isn't a review. It is hopefully a helpful guide who are as into film as I am that crave that film, the new thought process I have come to, and maybe some other things for new parents to think about. The visual poetry with sound and word that makes the senses tingle has always been there for me, but how do I compare "Frozen" to say "West Side Story" or "Minions" to "The Godfather" and the answer is you cannot. At least not directly...
When you become a Dad, you learn quickly that the things you used to do and love aren't always going to be the things you have time for or can love as much for the time being. You have to pick and choose those things you want the most to see or do, a vicious struggle for me to say the least.
For example, this year my personal movie going has been impacted by the family, and so I haven't seen all the films everyone has seen this year, and it may not be until 2026 that I do, but one lives with that. I made sure I saw the films I wanted to because that is how much I adore the art of good filmmaking. I have seen "Jurassic World", "Ex Machina", & "The Avengers" because those were the big screen one's I wanted to see and I will see more on the small screen once available.
That said, picking and choosing is just a part of the equation. I have a job that has nothing to do with film, and I sit in an office all day so that I can afford to have nice things, provide for my kids and keep life stable. For a person who at one point was living solely on the money made from gigs at a drummer, though it can be hard, it is best. So in that job I cut out 30 seconds here or there to converse with adults at my work. We talk about all kinds of things in those little water cooler stand ups like Hunting, the aritst known as Prince, video games, cars and oh yea, I tend to bring up movies a lot. But what movies can I talk about with these hip cats who have been keeping up with the movie Jones' far better than I, these days?
The truth is, I can speak just as fluently and respectfully about a disney adventure as I can about Jurassic World.
"Hey man, Jurassic was great, did you see it?"
"No, not yet, but I plan too, have you seen Inside Out?"
"No man, whats that about, some sci-fi thing, I know you are into that."
"Well...kinda, see these 5 little alien-type things go in this gal's head and they represent the girls feelings. She's moving away from home and finding new friends but having a really hard time with it but these alien things take control of her head and help her out. My kids loved it, and there are these awesome action figures."
"Wow dude, that sounds awesome, I'll need to see that."
And then I wait a month and the same 30 year old with no kids comes to me and says that he saw the film, didn't think it was going to be anything special and then loved it. And he loved it because of the same reasons I loved "The Godfather" and "2001". It has good story telling, above par acting, amazing special effects, solid characters and some surprises a long the way. You can't ask for much more than that.
So, new dad, you are going to find yourself in a few years longing to see Avengers 5 or the new reboot of Green Lantern, and you know what, it will suck and you will wait? You are going to see them, maybe not right then but you will.
Instead your going to see Minions 3 or "Frozen: Anna's tale" and your going to love it because it has good story telling, above par acting, amazing special effects, solid characters and some surprises a long the way and you can't ask for much more than that. Except one thing, and that is the smile on your kids face when "bob" falls on his face again, "Anna" finds a new boyfriend or "Peter Pan" flies again. There is nothing in this world like that. Nothing.