Updated: Feb 16
Mission (almost) Impossible
The days of Mom sitting 2-hours for any type of entertainment are, sadly, coming to an end. We still occasionally get through an entire concert, play, movie, but more often than not Mom's got about an hour of engagement in her, and then she's off. Where to? No preference, just out and about - not where she was. And when you get her out and about? Well, then she wants to be out and about elsewhere - not where she was there either.
So, this made our preparation for picking this year's Dementia Oscars! challenging, but...
So, with Mom movie-going dubious, and me movie-going adamant, we slogged through the best picture nominees. Our sole criteria for Mom's picks this year wasn't about her engagement with, or enjoyment of, the films (that seems to be a ghost of dementia past). It was "Did she remain seated after all her M&Ms were gone? She did? Well! Bully for you, Hollywood! That deserves a statue!"
A Star is Born
This may surprise you, but the movie Mom hated the most? Bohemian Rhapsody. I know, right? I mean it had magnificent music, and a lead character who was a bit of a goof (which usually translates into a few Mom giggles). It was just weird that this didn't hit AT ALL for her. Luckily, we were the only ones in the theater, so when Mom spent the last hour of the film looking for an exit, I just followed her: up the steps, across the rows, down the steps, past the screen, back up the steps...
For some reason she thought the exits were located in the top row of theater seats. So she'd scale the heights, with me shadowing, then bang around looking for a door knob behind the corner seats while I kept up with the story. It's by far the most exercise I've ever gotten during a film, and not a bad workout for her either.
She sat through all of Vice, although we had to change seats when she became fixated on the man sitting one down from her; she kept reaching over to caress his arm, pick-up his discarded popcorn bag. At first he seemed irritated, but he was chuckling about it by the time I realized even The Force could not distract her from her Me Too mission and got her up to reseat.
Roma and BlacKkKlansman we watched at home. Roma was definitely her favorite of the two as it afforded her an opportunity to snuggle into her chair and fall fast asleep. BlacKkKlansman held her attention for awhile, but I finished the movie alone while she rearranged her sock drawer to the four corners of the house.
Black Panther achieved the coveted "I'll Sit Through the Whole Thing" Award. I believe it was the action that kept her (mostly) interested. It was a win for me as I didn't once have to insist she refrain from honing her Dementia Stranger Danger skills, or coax her to remain seated.
Mom kept the futzing to a minimum through Green Book too. Mother-Minder joined us for the movie - she and I dug it - but for Mom, I think it was the comfort of having two familiar faces on either side of her that kept her in her seat more than the outstanding performances by Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali.
Mom saw A Star is Born with friends when it first came out. They did not report any unusual antics when she came home from the outing, so I'm assuming she watched it in it's entirety. I was going to haul her to it again, as I have yet to see it, and the one benefit of dementia is it will be new to her too! But alas, we've run out of time.
So, the Dementia Oscar goes to...
Not only did Mom keep her seat for the whole of The Favourite but she found several moments mirth worthy (when one character takes a shot at another for one). At times she was also engaged enough in the film to converse with the characters. When Lady Sarah remarks that "Sometimes a lady likes to have some fun," Mom snorted and replied "I'll bet!" The Favourite dominates for me also; the final scene was an unforgettable display of quiet desperation that only actresses at the top of their game can so convincingly conjure, and while I doubt the Dementia Oscars! pick is going to coincide with the boring-old-regular Oscars envelope, kudos to The Favourite anyway for all their well-deserved nominations.
At some point in my childhood Mom stopped dragging me out grocery shopping. My disdain for the task, and irritation with her for making me do it eventually won me my freedom from this onerous chore. At some point in my adulthood it will be time to release Mom from the expectation of watching a film from start to finish, or to find alternative ways to scratch my movie itch with my former movie-going partner: shorter films, movies at home, portable restraints.
I don't know if I'll get an Oscars 2020 Season with my favorite movie-sidekick, but if I do, I'll prolly still try and find a way drag her along. So, watch for us in the theaters! I'll be the one steadfastly attempting to follow the film while Mom will be beside me, looking a little something like this...
P.S. For those of you in the Portland metro area, Oak Grove 8 Cinemas lets caregivers in for free. For those of you not in the Portland metro area, it's worth asking if this benefit is offered at your own local theaters - every little bit counts when you're stretching a fixed income!