Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
In addition to our annual road trips, my wife Anne and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a short-term road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas we’ve never experienced before. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do…
Thanks very much to those of you who’ve followed along with my eight previous, glacially posted galleries that comprised our October journey around Indiana’s original state capital Corydon. Whereas the first chapter was a prologue about a donut shop we tried along the way, so too is our epilogue connected to the main storyline only by our timing and our desire to add still more festivities to Anne’s autumn birthday weekend. As a capper, we spent Saturday on Massachusetts Avenue, downtown Indianapolis’ premier upscale restaurant hub. On one end of Mass Ave we planned for lunch; on the other, a film for a special occasion. All told, the meal was better than the movie.
Our day began at The Eagle, an Ohio-based company with six stores in five states. Their Indy location is one of many, many, many fried chicken restaurants that have sprung up here in town and the adjacent counties over the past several years, as if Mother Earth had a few trillion plump new chickens lying around and needed some outlets to thin their ranks. The Eagle’s big claim to differentiating themselves is how they brine all their chicken in a concoction of their own making. We were the first customers in the door when they opened at 11 a.m. and were escorted to the first booth in, which was on a raised platform and required us to sit on the same side of the table, which is so weird to us.
Our lead photo contains most of our dishes. We may have gone overboard. In front, you can see my meal — one of the best chicken sandwiches I’ve ever eaten, topped with spicy mayo, cole slaw and pickles. (That brine really made the meal.) Our sides included iron-skillet cornbread with maple butter, 5-cheese mac-‘n’-cheese with garlic breadcrumbs, and horseradish mashed potatoes with herb-filled chicken gravy.
We enjoyed ourselves so much that we didn’t hesitate to eat an another Eagle when we attended Galaxycon Columbus two months later. Because comic-con-related entries are given the highest possible MCC posting priority, we created a narrative time paradox in posting pics of our second Eagle visit before we at long last posted just now about our first Eagle experience. Fortunately nobody ever holds me accountable when I foreshadow events and delay the payoff for months or even years, just like Chris Claremont used to do in Uncanny X-Men.
We were glad their service was quick, because our film’s showing was set to begin in less than 30 minutes at Living Room Theaters, a cinema we’d never visited before. We walked three-quarters of a mile northeast on Mass Ave, got stymied by a large construction project in our way, had trouble finding the theater’s front door, and eventually stumbled across it with a few minutes to spare. We finally got the chance to do something we hadn’t done in over a decade: catch a feature as part of Indy’s own annual Heartland Film Festival. We’ve talked about them over the years with every intention of participating more actively in their soirees, but we kept procrastinating or, more often than not, always found ourselves with zero free time throughout the month of October. Our last HFF screening was in 2011, which I should really write about sometime, because I don’t believe I’ve ever shared that story online. Eleven years later, we were overdue for a follow-up and wanted to make time for at least one official festival entry.
One of the ushers knew our last names, implying that we were the last advance-ticketed patrons to arrive. Moments after we were seated, the festival folks welcomed everyone and thus began our feature presentation. This year’s roster boasted a number of forthcoming buzz-worthy films as The Banshees of Inisherin and The Whale, but their showings were close enough to sold out, unless we wanted neck-straining front-row seats. That’s our fault for not jumping on the bandwagon more quickly. Instead we wound up seeing a much smaller, lower-profile film with plenty of available seats called Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets. We hadn’t heard of it, but we recognized a few names in the cast. Not until after we’d committed and bought our tickets did we do the research and learn that (a) the film had been released to video-on-demand months prior, and (b) we could’ve watched it for free at home on Hulu anytime (and still can, as of this writing). That deflated some of our excitement for the whole “film festival” theatrical concept, but we nevertheless showed up and hoped for the best.
Longtime MCC readers can relax here: I promise not to burst into a 1600-word stream-of-consciousness movie review. It concerns a teenager with mental health issues (Lucas Jade Zumann from Netflix’s Anne with an E) whose parents (House‘s Lisa Edelstein and the great Jason Isaacs) have their own problems that make things even harder on him. Our Hero counterbalances his troubles with some incessant quirkiness he bought from a Wes Anderson store. He digs Walt Whitman, he takes advice from an imaginary talking bird voiced by Tom Wilkinson (hence the title), and he takes dating advice from truly awful fellow male teens. The object of his desire is Taylor Russell (Bones and All, the Escape Room series), who deserves better.
We’re not fans of stories centered on characters who think sex and romance are interchangeable synonyms, we cringed a lot through this, and I rolled my eyes at several bleeped profanities (as if we were watching this at home on Comedy Central), but we did eventually appreciate some of the interplay between actors toward the end, as we learned the flawed father was not in fact an abusive drunkard as was faintly yet falsely hinted, nor was Mom sinless in all this, albeit not quite to an alienating Ordinary People extreme. For value-added extra credit, other known faces along the way include Roger Dale Floyd (Gerard Butler’s diabetic son in Greenland) as Our Hero in even younger flashbacks, and Scream‘s David Arquette for a single scene as an obnoxious yet welcome red herring. And no, there’s no scene after the Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets end credits.
Hopefully at the next festival we can find something more to our liking, one that: (a) has decent seats available; (b) stands poised on the cusp of imminent Oscar attention; and (c) isn’t a misfit that Redbox declined to carry. But the important thing here is we supported an actual film festival, and we did it together as a happily married couple. That’s what these birthday outings are all about.
On the way back to the car, Mass Ave scenery abounded. It’s quite the art-covered stretch of street. We also ran into one of my coworkers and chatted for a few, which was nice.
After we retrieved the car and took off, we decided to go looking for more extra-credit murals before heading home. Once upon a time in 2012 Indy was covered in new murals as part of our big Super Bowl XLVI hosting gig, many of which Anne and I found and shared. Some of those are no longer with us, but a few new pieces have been added here and there.
…and then we went home and declared the birthday weekend finished. Ditto this miniseries.
The End. Thanks for reading! Lord willing, we’ll see you next birthday weekend.
Other chapters in this very special miniseries:
Part 1: Unrelated Pastry Prologue
Part 2: Welcome to Corydon
Part 3: Halloween and the Hallowed Tree
Part 4: A Capital Pack of Markers
Part 5: Hooked on Butt Drugs
Part 6: Cozy Corydon Cuisine
Part 7: William Henry Harrison Slept Here
Part 8: The Battle Cabin in the Woods
Part 9: Indiana Caverns on $0.00 a Day
(Ironically, with the addition of this parenthetical, now it’s a 1600-word entry. You’re welcome!)