I had a big decision to make last Friday night.
My daughter was heading back to college in the morning, and I was taking her to a late movie.
But what to see?
As usual, Cary and I agreed on one thing: We didn't want to waste time on anything that wasn't the best movie we'd ever seen in our lives.
(For some reason, most movies leave us feeling bitterly disappointed.)
We agreed on something else: With the announcement of the Academy Award ballot days away, we'd settle instead for something that might be nominated for best picture.
As best we could tell, our choices included "The Revenant," "The Martian" and "The Big Short."
"The Big Short" was eliminated because Bess, who was taking our youngest son to academic bowl early the next morning, wanted to see that one with me later.
Cary said she wanted to see "The Revenant," but I'd heard of young women walking out early because they couldn't handle the violence, which reportedly includes a bear attack, the murder of a child, a man being buried alive, and then a whole lot of revenge.
Cary insisted she could handle it. Meanwhile, her other two brothers -- the non-academic ones -- said they wanted to join us.
Which meant I'd be spending $44 on movie tickets, not including tax or popcorn.
I wasn't doing this math, but Bess was. We're still paying off Christmas, which this year included a trip to Canada.
"You should go see 'The Martian,' " Bess said.
"The Martian" happened to be playing at Peachtree 8, where the total price of four movie tickets happened to be $12.
I wasn't particularly excited about seeing Matt Damon lost in space, but after a pleasant family dinner nobody seemed to be in the mood to watch a bear attack, the murder of a child, a man being buried alive, and then a whole lot of revenge.
"The Martian" it was.
Not a bad decision.
Cary and I gravitate toward drama, and while "The Martian" is technically a dramatic film, the tone was awfully light considering that Damon was facing starvation on Mars.
In fact, the Golden Globes categorized it as a comedy and crowned it the winner. Before that show aired, Judd Apatow, who directed "Trainwreck," which was nothing if not a comedy, tweeted this:
"Trying to dominate the comedy category when you are really a drama afraid of dramatic competition is a punk move."
So who won the Golden Globe for drama? "The Revenant" did.
Really, "The Martian" was a musical. It had a great disco soundtrack, and it lodged David Bowie's "Starman" in my brain, where it was actually still playing Monday when I heard of the legendary artist's death.
So it wasn't the best movie we'd ever seen. But we had a good time together, and that's what matters.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.