I love cooking, but often dread trying to think of what’s for dinner. Does that happen to you too? It sometimes takes me an hour to think through all my options and consider what my body craves. It tends to be something in the Southern or Mexican palate. And there’s typically a desire for carbs and/or red meat. Plus figuring out the matching vegetable side that I know should be more than the carb or protein. I also like to change it up – how boring to have the same 4 meals in rotation when there’s time to cook. Then it becomes going down the rabbit hole of food blogs. The choice to cook whatever I want is both a luxury and a curse. (I understand even a small complaint about this is beyond a first world problem.)
Here’s the thing: too many options causes decision paralysis for me. The struggle is real. I must feel out all the flavors before I even make it into the grocery store or we’re doomed.
The same is true for picking a movie.
As a fest programmer, there are days when I am watching 20 shorts or three to five documentary features in day (or a mix of both). At the end of the night, when most people come home from work to unwind by watching TV or a movie with little care, I am the opposite. When I’m in heavy screening mode, I am extremely particular in how I chose my “screen time”, as my husband can attest. This is precious, personal time we’re talking about. Two hours where I don’t necessarily have to have my brain “on” to critique or consider each piece of production value or whether the story has a loop-hole (or worse yet, if a story even exists). So even then, the options are endless. I hate that it takes so long to make a choice, but it seems I’m not the only one that is wasting away time on this act.
Let me set the scene for you:
After cooking a delightful meal with my husband, we discuss what the evening has in store as we settle into our living room.
“Do you want to watch something?” he asks, because while E works in film and has his own share of screen time during the day, it’s often watching the same thing over and over again (the task of an editor).
“Sure. Is it my night (to pick) or yours?” I reply.
“It’s yours. Think you can pick something in the next five minutes?” says E.
“…hmm… yes?” Though we both know this is probably not true.
There I am, scrolling through the Netflix app, the iTunes app, and scanning our perfectly organized collection of physical movies. I think. And ponder. And think.
If we’re currently in the middle of a TV series, that often is the easiest choice. If we are not, the situation is more complicated. Something new? Something old? New to me? Or an old-tried-and-true?
Drama? Noir? Action? Documentary. No probably not – too much like work.
Comedy. After watching so many real-life stories of human right struggles, conflicts or the issues of the world, comedy often restores my film energy.
Ok, comedy. Romantic? Screwball? Classic? 80s?
“How’s it coming?” E says.
“…Debating between two” I lie.
The standards run though my head: Clueless? Mean Girls? The Apartment? Raising Arizona? Office Space? Animal House? The Blues Brothers? Some Like It Hot? Ghostbusters? Anchor Man? On the scale of “how many bad movies did I already watch today and do I need Paul Rudd in my life”? I know that any of these choices will likely make E roll his eyes (out of love of course), but it’s my night to pick after all. He can watch Gosford Park another night.
“Ok, I got it.” I perk up.
“Great! What are we watching?” E asks.
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid… Or The Sting…. ” I reply, surprising myself a little by my sudden half-decision.
E smiles. I let him pick from there because either way I get what my gut wants: Redford and Newman in their prime.
Please tell me I’m not the only one that has choice paralysis when it comes to food and movies. What’s your go to genre to watch or meal to eat after a long day? Let me know in the comments!