The Toronto International Film Festival begins next week and this was the year that we were going to scale back with neither one of us planning on taking time off work to attend the festival. Although, that’s not quite true – I did have plans to take the entire week off but there is so much going on at work right now, quality assurance reviews and funding proposals due and events scheduled for the end of September that I would be out of mind to take a week off work to watch movies when I really need to be working.
Last year’s festival experience was a little hectic for us because we had just moved into the new house and we were in the middle of training for the half marathon. We bought tickets to see ten movies, and we might have added on a couple of last minute screenings but I can’t say for sure. I remember how tired I was with just those few movies to go to and how I was looking forward to this year when we’d once again be reasonable and rational and do only what we could handle during the ten days that the festival runs.
So what did we do this year?
Well this year, we ended up deciding on purchasing Festival Lite packages for both of us. I heard the word “Lite” and I thought, perfect! Cause what I really want this year is a lite film schedule!
Let me say this: there is NOTHING lite about this package. It gives us 30 tickets to 30 different screenings at a reduced rate. 1 ticket per screening, so I couldn’t exactly cheat and use two of my tickets for one screening and bring a friend. We knew this and we STILL bought the packages with the logic that even if we saw only 24 of the 30 movies that we had paid for, then the package would pay for itself and we wouldn’t be at a loss.
Still, 24 movies in 10 days? 5 of those days when both of us are supposed to be at work during the day? And how do you limit yourself to 24 movies and let 6 tickets go to waste when, if you just suck it up, you can do all 30 movies in just over a week. You don’t.
Instead, you agree to a work meeting in the morning but then leave in the afternoon so that you can go to three movies, one right after the other. You spend what will conceivably be one of the last nice weekends of the summer sitting in a dark theatre, watching 5 movies a day, one right after the other. You drag yourself out of bed in the mornings that week to go to work and then, in the evenings when you should be going home and sleeping you go to not ONE movie but TWO.
You schedule an afternoon screening on the day of your birthday and make plans to go to it alone and you only do it because it’s a Joshua Jackson movie and even though you’re not exactly in LOVE with Joshua Jackson (or even really LIKE him), you’re excited to go because it was this time a couple of years ago that you saw him on the street and you exclaimed to your girlfriend, “Isn’t that whats-his-face” only to have him hear you, along with every girl on the street. And when all the girls swarmed him he looked past them and gave you a super annoyed look and you really hope he shows up at the screening and you can say it again and have him hate you even more. And then, who knows, you might end up as Best Friends Forever. It’s TIFF time, crazy things happen. Girls kiss the sidewalk during TIFF.
And then, of course, you have to take at least one full day off from work so that you can cram in as many movies as you possibly can while everyone else you know is stuck sitting at their desk and then, finally, it’s the last day of the festival and you’ve got just 5 movies left and you’re counting the minutes because your butt is so sore from sitting in a theatre seat for an entire week and you’re just so tired of the popcorn kernels that are stuck in the roof of your mouth.
And instead of seeing the 24 movies that you had agreed on, you end up seeing the entire 30. In just over a week.
This is what you do because you love movies THAT MUCH. And even on the last day, when you swear that you will never, ever, see five movies in one day, you know that when the following year comes, you will do it. AGAIN.
And love every minute of it.