I think one of the worst (yet most frequently played) games couples find themselves competing in is, “Did You Watch That Movie Without Me?” Or you might be familiar with the slightly altered knock-off, “Weren’t We Going to Watch That Together?” – which is somewhat different because in that version no one ever wins.
“Did You Watch That Movie Without Me?” can be played at any time. But for the greatest entertainment and highest stakes, it’s best to play it at a social gathering in front of a crowd of people. The game starts on a whim when somebody in the crowd refers to a movie and you foolishly take the bait and add your commentary, forgetting that you actually viewed this movie when your spouse was out of town, at a class, or worst of all – stuck at Girls Camp – while you were lounging on a couch with the remote control and a pint of ice cream.
You’re about halfway through your comment when peripherally, you feel her head whip in your direction and her eyes pierce into your mind, as if the movie is currently playing in your head and she’s caught you in the act itself. The only way out at this point is to grab the person next to you and kiss them full on the mouth. Sure, it’s inappropriate and you’re going to get slapped by at least two people, but everyone in the room will immediately forget what you were talking about and your chances of getting out alive increase by a factor of ten.
“Did you watch that movie without me?” she asks, moving her game piece onto the board. At this point, it’s all about bluffing. “NEVER. I just remember that part from the preview.” Or “No, I just read an article about it, preparing for when we go see it ... you know, together ... the way God intended.” This is your best move. You can also pretend you didn’t hear her. It’s risky, but if you’re like me, this is the only perk to aging and actually experiencing legitimate hearing loss. Or play like you’re just so enthralled by the crowd-conversation that you didn’t notice someone was speaking directly at you.
Your other move is to say, “I didn’t think you wanted to see that movie.” This is dangerous because you leave yourself wide open. No matter what the movie is, her move is going to include her claiming, “I would have watched that!” Now it’s your turn to call her bluff. “You would have watched Anchorman 2?” “…Yes,” she answers. (There’s a slight hesitation from your spouse – this does not mean you’ve won yet; it simply means you’re still in the game.) “That movie came out seven years ago and we’ve never watched it!” you point out. This is where you finish your solid move by adding, “It wasn’t very good – I hated it and you would have, too.” Check. Mate.
The problem for me is that I occasionally travel for work and end up on an airplane about every four to six weeks (not since March, obviously). I am not a great flyer. I get motion sickness fairly easily, and my one way to dodge it is to immediately focus in on the little screen in front of me and watch movies the entire flight. And the issue for Katie and I – and I will freely admit this is not the case for all couples – is that our tastes in movies really do overlap. We both like rom-coms, psychological thrillers, comedies, and good drama. The thin margin of what I can safely view without her really only includes “scary movies” or “bland, formulaic action movies.”
For example, when I came back from a trip and told Katie, “I watched that Tom Cruise Mummy movie without you,” her response was, “Good call.”
But was it? I didn’t even want to see it. I was actually just worried I might accidentally watch another good movie because of the huge mistake I had just finished enjoying before watching Mr. Cruise embarrass himself. Right before watching the bland, formulaic Mummy, I had rolled the dice and watched Sing Street, expecting a harmless, forgettable, independent Irish movie.
That delightful homage to eighties music made me feel way too many feelings during my flight from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. After watching that movie, I knew I was doomed. I had totally just lost at our next match of “Did You Watch That Movie Without Me?” because I would totally spill that I saw it because I had to talk to somebody about this movie because I loved it a whole lot.
(This is the scene right here. When the boys are jamming in the living room at 2:06 and my brain says, “My word, this is making me so inexplicably happy right now —” and then ten seconds later it clips to Raphina crying and tears start comin’ out-ma-face and I’m like, “Thanks a lot Delta Flight 467 – this is totally unprofessional of me and now I’ve also lost the next round of “Did You Watch That Movie Without Me?” Katie is so going to love this movie.)
I also lost when I watched this little gem on my last trip.
Now, there are times when I’ve won “Did You Watch This Without Me?” because I stuck to the “scary movies” and “dumb action movies” genres. However, those victories come at a cost. I think if it’s choosing between airplane-induced nausea or watching that Tom Cruise Mummy movie again, it’d be a toss-up for me. (Pun intended.) I also watched The Conjuring on one flight. Have you seen this movie? Good luck sleeping FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. And this was an edited-for-airplane version of the movie! I was so creeped out I added some more special editing myself by occasionally looking away from my screen to watch the Korean soap operas my neighbor was enjoying.
Yes, “Did You Watch That Movie Without Me?” is not a game for the timid. And if you hate this game, you should for sure avoid “Did You Finish All the Ice Cream?” and “Did You Stick to Our Christmas Budget?”