Saturday, January 28, 2006

Corpse Bride Review Published

My review of Corpse Bride was published on today. Check out the review -- and read about the experience.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Just Friends (24Jan06)

This week, after dinner was ready, I made a point of turning off and unplugging the crockpot. I also noted the fact to Paul (who was totally oblivious to last week's Frying Pan Fiasco) while we were on our way to The Cheap Theater. I was pretty much feeling like an idiot (and a paranoid one at that), but then Paul admitted that, when we were in Europe a couple of weeks ago, he was convinced that our house was going to get broken into. Then I felt better.

On our way through the parking log, I made a point of once again checking out the latest developments at the new pizza buffet. "Oooh! Look! The Coke machine is in!" I pointed out, perhaps a bit more excitedly than I should have been. I also may have mentioned wanting to eat there on opening night, which may have made it appear as though I'd completely lost my mind (which Paul may have pointed out).

"I live in Ohio. It's January. What else do I have to be excited about? Throw me a frickin' bone here," I grumbled.

Once again this week, the lobby was eerily empty, save for a few rather creepy-looking old people (these particular old people being creepy-looking, as opposed to old people in general, whom I tend to like). Granted, it was still early -- we were even a little bit ahead of schedule, and our movie was one of the first evening shows. But was empty. Perhaps the attempt to class up the place with the suits backfired on them -- or maybe there just weren't many good movies playing this week (*cough*aeonflux*cough*).

It was so dead, in fact, that the ticket-ripper had placed herself in some sort of trance. She was blankly staring off into nowhere when we walked up, and she didn't even notice we were approaching until we were right in front of her. Then she snapped to attention in a sudden -- and very obvious -- jolt.

She directed us to our theater -- then, I'm guessing, returned to her trance.

The theater was empty except for a pair of women who were talking way louder than was necessary for speaking to a person seated two inches away. I couldn't help but overhear parts of their conversation, which I occasionally slipped into my conversation with Paul, who became seriously confused and annoyed.

(And I'm starting to think that perhaps I need to toss out the new coffee I just bought. Do you think it's making me especially excitable? I'm starting to think so. Then again, I'm kinda enjoying it. I think I'll keep the coffee.)

I was intrigued to find that Just Friends brought in a well-rounded audience. The theater filled up with people of all shapes and sizes and ages. It was Guys' Night. It was Girls' Night. It was Date Night.

Technically, you can probably classify Just Friends as a Chick Flick -- but it's cleverly portrayed through the eyes of a guy -- and it was brilliantly marketed as an outrageous, almost American-Pie-like kind of comedy. Thus, the studio's marketing department was able to trick guys into willingly seeing a Chick Flick. Pure marketing genius, if you ask me.

As the crowd gathered, the noise levels in the theater grew exponentially. Apparently, the Loud Talkers who had been there when we arrived made everyone else in the theater feel like they had to talk THAT MUCH LOUDER to be heard throughout the theater, over top of the Loud-Talking women.

Meanwhile, Paul and I just sat quietly in our back row seats, once again brainlessly answering the three-month-old trivia questions about "new" movies that have long since passed through The Cheap Theater and have come out on DVD. They're probably making their Network TV Premiere next month.

Once the movie started, the Talkers turned into Laughers -- but, for once, the movie was actually that funny. They have every reason to laugh constantly (and heartily) through the whole movie. It wasn't just laugh-out-loud funny. It was bent-over-almost-falling-out-of-my-not-so-padded-chair funny. It may have been a Chick Flick, but even the guys in the theater (the ones who had to sit with a seat between them -- so no one would think they were there together, if you know what I mean) left happy.

For more on the movie, be sure to check for my upcoming review.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (17Jan06)

Finally -- back to our weekly routine! This week, we had a lot of great movies to choose from, and we spent quite a bit of time discussing our options -- which ones were in danger of leaving the theater before we'd get to see them, which ones we really wanted to see -- until we settled on Wallace & Gromit. They'd shown it on our Amsterdam-to-NYC flight last Tuesday, but the monitors were so far away from our seats that we didn't even attempt to watch. But now we had our chance.

I threw together a quick dinner -- salads and one of those frozen meal-in-a-bag things, which I prepared in the electric frying pan. And yes, there is a reason why I'm telling you this -- and I'll get to it eventually.

In general, our First Cheap Night of the New Year was pretty uneventful. We got a great parking spot because the lot was pretty empty -- both, I'm guessing, because it was still early and because the weather was cold and rainy (the perfect night to stay home). I'll admit that I was pretty oblivious to my surroundings, since I was too busy going on and on and on about my experience earlier in the day at Blue Jackets practice. I did, however, happen to notice that the booths are in place at the new pizza buffet. It's only a matter of time now until we can enjoy dinner and a movie for a mere $9...

We got our tickets without waiting in line, and we made our way through the lobby. Normally, the lobby is a pretty lively place, filled with excited moviegoers, making their way to and from their super-cheap movies. This week, though, it was nearly empty -- except for a few dazed, rough-looking old people, who looked like they'd traded in their cardboard boxes under the overpass for the shelter of the Cheap Theater lobby for the evening.

Our less-than-energetic ticket-ripper (whom I later spied casually chatting on a cell phone as we made our way out of the theater) gave us that this-is-such-a-waste-of-my-time look and nodded us in the right direction, and we made our way to one of the Big Theaters -- one with plenty of available back-and-center seats. I think we may have arrived a bit too early -- either that, or the theater really needs to change their pre-movie ads and trivia questions. Whatever the case, I got a little bored, and it made me start thinking...

Ever since we bought our house a year ago, I've started having strange, irrational bursts of terror that I'm going to return home to find that my house has burned down in my absence because I left the oven on. Or I left a candle burning. Something like that.

This time, it was the frying pan. It has a cord that plugs into the outlet on one end and the pan on the other. Often, I pull the cord out of the pan and bring the pan to the table, only to come back later and realize that I've left the cord plugged in and I've forgotten to turn the thing off. This happens most often, of course, when I'm rushing around -- as I tend to do when I have to have dinner made, eaten, and cleaned up in time for an early movie.

So as I sat in the theater, mindlessly filling in the blanks on the theater's three-month-old trivia questions, I started to wonder about the frying pan cord. Had I turned it off? Had I unplugged it? Was it, at that moment, singeing the counter and burning the junk mail and beginning what would turn into a massive fire that would spread through the entire neighborhood -- all because I was in a hurry to catch a 50-cent movie?

Needless to say, I barely even noticed the unruly children in the theater. I remember occasionally enjoying the movie, but I also remember attempting to visualize the moment when I unplugged the cord. I also imagined all sorts of scenarios, all of which resulted in us being left homeless. And I checked my watch a lot.

After the movie ended, we had to stop at the store to pick up some milk and orange juice. By that time, I figured, the damage was done. A few extra minutes wouldn't make much of a difference.

As we pulled into our neighborhood, I craned my neck to see our front porch light, still shining. Our house was still standing, and I had, incidentally, remembered to unplug the cord. Unfortunately, I didn't remember that I'd remembered. And, as a result, I may have to see Wallace & Gromit again.

On the bright side, Don was actually paying attention when he saw the movie. If you'd like to read a review, you can find his at

Monday, January 16, 2006

Waiting... (14Jan06)

This weekend, we went all out. Since we had a lot of Cheap Theater movies to catch up on -- after our nearly four-week absence -- we decided to catch a movie on Saturday night. Sure, that meant paying a whopping $1.75 per ticket instead of the Cheap Night $.50. But it's the New Year. We deserve to splurge a bit, don't you think?

We decided to see Waiting... because there was no early showing -- and if we went to a 9:45 movie on a Tuesday night, that would cause us to be out past our Bed Time. And that definitely would not do. So it was late when we arrived in The Cheap Theater parking lot. People were already leaving after catching the early shows. Still, there was a line for the ticket booth -- which, if you'll recall, is outside. If you'll also recall, it is January in Ohio. Thus, standing outside to wait for movie tickets is not a pleasant experience. But hey, I once spent all night camped out under the stars in Michigan in February for Toad the Wet Sprocket tickets, so I'm pretty tough. I survived.

The ticket staff, incidentally, was in full Expensive Night Garb (meaning: their cheap suits). They were also especially polite. I now see what the extra $1.25 per ticket buys: politeness. It does not, however, buy chairs with newish springs or speakers that don't buzz through the entire movie.

Even though it was late, the lobby was packed. It was packed with people who seemed totally unfamiliar with Common Movie Theater Practices, the rules of which are as follows:

1) If you want snacks, get in the concession line.

2) If you didn't pee before you left home, go to the bathroom.

3) If you're waiting for a friend who forgot to pee before leaving home, sit on a bench or lean against a wall nearby.

4) If none of the above, directly proceed to the ticket-ripper, who will direct you to your theater (and, since you paid the extra $1.25, will also tell you to enjoy the show). DO NOT JUST STAND THERE. The lobby is a thru-way. No stopping, standing, or general dawdling is allowed.

Paul came quite close to picking up one especially small couple and throwing them out of his way. Like me, Paul does not tend to handle stupid people well. He also has no patience for people who get in his way.

Once we made it to our theater, which was in a corner so remote that it may have actually been located in Kentucky, we took our usual back-row seats. We took a few minutes to reacquaint ourselves with the theater, since it had been a while. We commented on the tiny size of the screen, as well as the interesting fact that, although we'd been away for a month, the ads and trivia questions on the screen were still the same as they'd been for the month or two before the holidays.

We hadn't actually had dinner that night (I'd be lying if I said, like I really want to, that we skipped dinner so we could afford the expensive movie tickets, but it was actually because we'd had a couple of orders of wings at about 4, while we were at Buffalo Wild Wings watching my college's basketball team get totally throttled by their rivals via satellite). So I mentioned popcorn, which got Paul thinking about popcorn -- and he eventually got up to buy us the $4.50 bucket.

I told you we splurged this weekend...

While Paul was gone, I took the chance to catch up on my people watching.

To my right, there was a couple conversing loudly in a foreign language (one that I could identify but won't reveal because people would instantly accuse me of being discriminatory toward [fill in blank] -- while I'm only making the point that I couldn't understand what they were talking about). Shortly after Paul came back with our dinner -- and right before the pre-movie commercials began -- the couple left. And I'm pretty sure they never came back. I've seen plenty of people walk out of movies before -- but never before the movie actually started. It was a first.

There was also an older woman seated by herself, across the aisle and a row or two ahead of us. She'd gotten there before us and was enjoying a soda and a small popcorn. Shortly after Paul left, she got up (presumably for a last-minute pit-stop), leaving her snacks behind.

While she was gone, a pack of Frat Boys arrived -- and, seeing the snacks left in the seat, took their seats in the next row instead. If you ask me, that was especially polite of these Frat Boys, who didn't toss the snacks aside or help themselves (though I did notice one of them eyeing the popcorn).

When the woman returned to her seat, she found the Frat Boys sitting ahead of her. She sat there for a minute or two, obviously quite flustered, then got out of her seat (this time taking her snacks with her) and moved two rows ahead, taking the aisle seat right in front of the Frat Boys (who were still on their best behavior). She then turned around and asked the Frat Boy behind her if he could see over her head. This, of course, was not a serious question, since she was much smaller than the Frat Boy behind her. Instead, it was supposed to be a catty remark, and the Frat Boys were apparently supposed to feel guilty for sitting in the row in front of a seat occupied by a soda and a bag of popcorn. Shame on them for not figuring out that, since it was a small popcorn, it obviously belonged to a rather diminutive older woman instead of, for instance, a large, smelly guy.

As Paul noted, "What was a woman that age doing seeing this movie by herself at this time of the night, anyway?"'s good to be back...

More New Reviews Published!

Two new movie reviews were published at in the last few days.

Check out my review of Lord of War (and then check out the Cheap Theater Experience for that week).

You can also check out my review of Two for the Money (and see what happened at The Cheap Theater that week).

And check back later today for an entry on our latest Cheap Theater Adventure.