• Archives

  • Categories:

Big screens and new TVs

The last time I was inside a movie theater was in the spring of 2021 when we rented out The Chabot Theater here in Castro Valley for our 8th wedding anniversary, and did a private screening of Star Wars: A New Hope. Prior to that, I have to look all the way back to May of 2019 for the last time I saw a commercially released movie in a theater when I went out by myself to see Captain Marvel. I’ve never been huge into movie theaters anyway, but it’s 2023 now, that’s a long time even for me!

So last week I jumped on the Barbenheimer bandwagon and went to the movie theater twice.

The first outing was the easiest, heading back to The Chabot Theater to see Barbie. The theater is within walking distance of home, and it’s a pretty standard length movie. I took a Sunday afternoon and walked over to the theater for a 2PM showing while Aaron was napping. I was back home with MJ and the boys shortly after 4PM.

The theater was more crowded than I’ve ever seen it, there was even a line going out the front door when I arrived at 1:45! But I got my ticket and candy, and settled in for what turned out to be a much more emotional experience than I expected. As a working mother, the movie definitely spoke to me, and I admit that there were some serious tears a couple times during the movie. It was also visually extraordinary and a lot of fun, I’m very glad I went, and it was a great movie to break my theater drought.

Oppenheimer took a bit more planning. First of all, it’s a 3 hour movie, which is quite the investment of time. And as much of a fan of historical docudramas as I am (The Manhattan Project looms large in our country’s mythology), I probably would have skipped it in the theater if it wasn’t for a simple fact: it was filmed for 70mm IMAX format, only 30 theaters in the world were playing it on this format, and one of those theaters was less than 20 minutes from our house, in the random suburb of Dublin, California. How could I miss this opportunity? I couldn’t! Which brings me to the second matter of logistics. The first showing I had my sights on sold out, so I had to adjust my plans and ended up with tickets for a Wednesday showing. My seat wasn’t great due to how close to the screen I was, but I was mostly centered and my seat reclined, so it was a pleasant experience.

It was a good movie, though I think it would have been more IMAX fun if they had more explosions, it was a movie about The Bomb, after all.

In other screen news, we recently bought a new TV. I wasn’t entirely on board with this plan, partially due to just how much is on our plates and I wasn’t keen on The Whole Project it would be to move the TVs around so we could finally replace the failing plasma TV in the family room. It’s just showing cartoons and baseball! Who needs a perfect picture? Well, ultimately even I had to admit it was getting quite bad, and the other day we even had some major audio distortion which rendered it unwatchable. We got this plasma TV in 2010, and it was fine for a few years until we replaced it with a much lighter, cooler, 4K TV. The plasma went into a box until four years ago when we pulled it out to use in the family room, and ultimately mounted it on the wall.

Our new OLED TV arrived last week, but we didn’t yet have a plan to install it, until an opportunity presented itself. Our two former au pairs reached out to ask if they could take the boys to the beach on Saturday morning! We quickly agreed and suddenly we had some child-free time that could be spent moving around huge TVs! Our plan was to take the plasma TV off the wall and pack it up. Then move the TV from the living room up to the mounted spot in the family room, and install the new TV on the TV stand in the living room.

It took a few hours.

As is often the case with these projects, we encountered several bumps in the road. Where was the plasma TV base, which we needed to return it to the box? Where are the spare screws from the mounting kit? Thankfully, we were able to find everything we were missing, and there were no panic trips to the hardware store, or worse. Taking the plasma TV down was no small feat though, did I mention it’s heavy? It’s very heavy.

The rest of the project went rather smoothly, just a bunch of manual labor in the form of lifting TVs and twisting screws.

Unfortunately my current lifestyle with two little kids and a full time job means I don’t have a lot of time for watching TV. Hah! But it’s nice that Shaun the Sheep is being reliably presented the correct colors now. I actually found myself with some time the other night when I was ready to sit down and watch some TV downstairs, but I had a snack and fell asleep to a podcast instead. Sorry TV, I’ll meet you some other night.