Friday, February 09, 2007

Dedication to the Point of Insanity

New Movie Reviews This Week:
The Good German
Breaking and Entering

This week, it was probably best that my husband had to leave town for a few days on business. I wouldn’t have seen him much, anyway.

The insanity began on Tuesday, with the screening of Norbit. The new Eddie Murphy movie was the #2 draft pick in this season’s Fantasy Moguls draft, so we were all interested to see it. Looking forward to it, however, not exactly. After all, we’re talking Eddie Murphy playing a morbidly obese woman. I can actually think of a few things I’d rather do than watch that. So when the snowstorm started on Tuesday afternoon, I started to consider the snowy Midwestern roads (and the Midwestern drivers who always act like they’ve never seen white stuff falling from the sky before) as my out. I could just stay home, have a glass of wine, and watch some TV instead. But David told me that I had to go. And Mark went one step farther, telling me he’d pick me up so we could ride together. So I gave in.

“I’m going to try to leave a little before 5:30,” he told me. “So we should be there on time.”

I’ll say! Considering it usually takes 15 minutes to get to the theater from my place—and the screening wasn’t until 7:30—I figured we’d be there early enough to have some coffee beforehand. So I packed my knitting and turned on the TV, expecting Mark to show up any minute.

By 6:30, I was getting a little worried. In fact, I was just about to call to make sure he wasn’t dead when he showed up.

“The highway wasn’t bad,” he explained as we hopped into my SUV for the rest of the journey, “but it took me a half hour to get from my place to the highway.”

I can’t tell you how many times during the next 45 minutes I called myself an idiot. I could have been curled up on the couch, enjoying a glass of wine. But no. Instead, I was clutching the wheel, trying to stay in control—so I could see NORBIT!

It was almost showtime by the time we arrived at the theater. As soon as we arrived, we were allowed to head inside, to our usual seats. Just a few minutes later, we watched the rest of the audience start to trickle in.

“Anyone who doesn’t have to be here should be slapped,” Jason announced. “We have to be here because it’s our job,” he said, looking out over the rest of the theater. “What’s your excuse?”

Surprisingly, though, the theater filled up. What was wrong with those people, that they drove out in horrible weather, on slippery roads, and fought their way through traffic jams to get to their free screening of Norbit, I’ll never know. Shame on them. And, well, shame on me.

Norbit was, in a word, horrible. I looked at my watch for the first time after 20 minutes. Around us, for some reason, people laughed—and I couldn’t help but wonder if these people were watching a different movie than I was. My fellow critics, however, were silent. Not a single laugh. The only sound that came from our row was the occasional groan. I tried (unsuccessfully) to make a noose out of my scarf. It was just that bad.

When it was over, I felt like I’d been hit by a bus. Actually, I kinda wish I had been. That would probably have been less painful. To make matters worse, with the roads being what they were, we postponed the post-screening drinks and headed home. What a disappointment.

On Wednesday, we were back at the same theater, to see Music and Lyrics. I brought a friend, who found the regular gang to be thoroughly amusing. She sat back and listened as we debated the ultimate success/failure of one another’s draft picks. She watched as my fellow critics described the look on my face after seeing Norbit. And she listened to our stories about our fellow critics—our own version of office gossip.

Fortunately, she came along on a good night. Music and Lyrics was actually good. And afterwards, I ended up getting that drink that I’d needed (and deserved) since the night before.

There was another screening scheduled for Thursday morning—but I ended up skipping, for various reasons (the greatest one being that neither of the other MOD Squad members would be in attendance). Since the movie isn’t opening for another month—and since the rep assured Mark that there would be another screening before then—I figured it would be okay to skip.

It’s a good thing I did, too—because when I headed out on Thursday afternoon to meet a couple of the guys for dinner, I still hadn’t finished my Music and Lyrics review (truth be told, it’s still not totally finished). It had just been one of those days.

And it didn’t exactly help, either, when one of the reps made a couple of very statements, apparently suggesting that I was with Mark and thereby didn’t count as one of the critics. Mark got a good laugh out of that, and, to be totally honest, so did I (as I made a mental note to introduce the rep to my husband next time he comes with me).

“Well, you’re a woman,” Mark pointed out. “Obviously, you don’t count.”

It’s funny, really, since most of the reps don’t seem to know who I am. Two of the reps are fabulous, but the rest tend to assume that I’m the spouse of someone else—that I’m not there because I’m supposed to be. Just a few weeks ago, one of the reps—the first one I met back in May, in fact—asked if I was David’s wife (who, incidentally, was about six months pregnant at the time, and I—clearly, I hope—am not). And now this. The guys think it’s hilarious, since there are only a small percentage of female film critics in town—and only a few of us show up regularly at screenings.

“You’re the only female critic under 40,” one of the guys laughed. “You’d think they’d be able to remember you.”

Apparently not.

Note to self: be more obnoxious, so they’ll remember you.

So anyway…now we come to today. From time to time, there are movies that, for some reason or another, the studios will choose not to screen for the press. Often, (as in the case of Snakes on a Plane), they figure they’ve already got enough publicity to bring in the crowds. Other times, they figure the critics’ views will only hurt them. Whatever the case, we didn’t get to see Hannibal Rising. And since it was my second-round draft pick, I figured I’d probably better see it. So Mark and I met at the theater at noon for an afternoon screening.

I’m not going to say too much about the movie itself. You’ll just have to wait for my review. But I’ll just say that there were 12 other people at the show—and if they all paid, say $5 for the afternoon matinee, that means I’ll at least earn $60 this weekend. And I’m just going to have to be happy with that.


Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

I once watched "Big Momma's House 2" during hours 13 and 14 of a 17-hour flight ... It was such a nightmare, even with no other entertainment options available, that I've sworn off any movies with men in drag and fat suits .... So far, six months in recovery, and I'll still holding strong

10:48 AM  
Blogger kdk said...

Congratulations, RF. Stay strong.

And the next time you have to endure a 17-hour flight, bring a book of Sudoku puzzles or something -- just in case. I wish I had on my last trip. On the return trip from Malaysia, for lack of anything better to watch (because I'd already gone through just about everything else in the personal entertainment system), I ended up watching a Lindsey Lohan movie. Next time, I'll come more prepared.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Neil said...

You know, I have the same problem with the reps. Only one of them (Jennifer from Owens) can seem to remember who I am or even for which site I write. But then again, I am pretty sure that most of the other critics don't remember who I am from screening to screening... So don't feel so bad about it.

6:23 PM  

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