Friday, March 09, 2007

Bored with Gore

New Reviews at This Week:
Wild Hogs

First of all, I have a confession to make: since last Friday’s bowling excursion, I’ve been shopping online for my own pair of bowling shoes. David and I had so much fun that we’ve decided to make our therapeutic bowling excursion at least a monthly event—and since the cute little lady with the Marge Simpson bouffant and the bright painted lips charges four whole bucks to rent stinky old shoes, I figure a good pair of cheap bowling shoes would be a pretty decent investment. So if you know a good place to get cheap bowling shoes, do tell.

Last week’s beer and bowling had me ready to face another week. Or at least I was ready to face Tuesday—our one big day of screenings and appearances and things this week.

On Tuesday morning, we had a super-secret screening of The Lives of Others—the Oscar-winning foreign film. By super-secret, I mean that, for some reason, the email went out only to local film critics circa 1998, approximately four of whom are still around. The rest of us had to find out through those four. Fortunately, Mark filled me in, so I was there with bells on, filling up my coffee cup at a little before 11. I wasn’t totally sure that I was in the mood to sit through more than two hours of subtitles, but I hadn’t been to a daytime screening in an age (I skipped the only one we had scheduled in February), and I kinda missed them. I didn’t miss driving halfway across town, following behind people who feel it’s necessary to drive 45 on the highway. But I did miss hanging out with the gang—and being able to watch a whole movie without the distraction of the chatty teenage girls behind me. (As it turns out, sometimes film critics can be every bit as distracting as teenage girls, but that’s another story for another day.)

Fortunately, The Lives of Others is a fabulous film—well deserving of its Oscar. If you get a chance, check it out. Just brush up on your speed reading before you do.

By the time I made it back from the screening, it was already 2:00. So I scarfed down some sort of lunch while I did some work—because I had a lot to do and very little time to do it in. I was out the door less than three hours later, on my way to meet Mark, who was joining me for the big Columbus preview for the Cleveland Film Festival, which we’ll be attending in a couple of weeks (woohoo!). There, we met up with Clay, who was the event’s distinguished host.

I really wanted to hang around the event—and have a drink or two—but we were scheduled to be at the 7:00 screening of 300. Since it would obviously pull in a house full of fanboys, we needed to be there on time—to make sure we still had seats. So, unfortunately, we had exactly 30 minutes for the event. That gave us just enough time to chat with Clay, pick up our programs for the event, and nibble on some munchies.

In that 30 minutes, however, the strangest thing happened. As we were making our way back from the buffet of wraps and nachos and wings, Clay walked up and introduced me to David. David had recognized Clay’s voice from the radio show (which comes as no surprise, since you can easily pick out Clay’s voice—even from 100 feet away in a crowded theater lobby) and had stopped by to say hello. As he and Clay were chatting, David asked about me. Me. No kidding. So Clay brought him over to meet me.

As an online critic, I don’t get a lot of readers walking up to me and introducing themselves. None, in fact. I’m just a name. I’ll get an email every once in a while, which is always cool, but I never get strangers walking up to me in a bar to say hello. Sure, I’ve appeared on John and Clay’s radio show a few times. And I do realize that a lot of people listen to it. But I guess it never really occurred to me that people other than my mother were listening to me. So I definitely wasn’t prepared to meet David. It was, however, a pleasant surprise.

After gathering up our film festival programs, Mark and I were once again rushing out the door, driving back to the theater, where we met up with the rest of the gang. The poor little guy at the door tried to count me as Mark’s plus-one, but I made a point of giving him my name and outlet. I’m telling you—these people will get to know me if it’s the last thing I do.

Once we were seated in the theater, it became quite clear to me and to David’s wife, Deb, that we were horribly outnumbered. David pointed out that there was only one female in the whole row behind us—and that was poor Lori, another one of our colleagues. Mostly, the theater was packed with very eager and caffeine-loaded college-age guys—mostly of the geek variety. You know…the ones you used to find lining up days early for the opening of Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings. When the movie began, they all cheered and hooted. After a while, though, not so much. Maybe they were as bored as I was.

Perhaps I saw so much blood and gore back in December that it just doesn’t shock me anymore. But it was just all too obvious that the filmmakers were aiming the movie at the fanboys seated around me—the ones who cheer for any form of violence and/or sex. Show blood droplets in fancy CGI slow-motion, and they cheer. Show a nipple or two, and they cheer some more. But after about a half hour of blood and nipples, I’d pretty much seen all there was to see. In fact, after a long day of rushing around, I felt like curling up and taking a little nap. If it hadn’t been for the loud music, maybe I would have done just that.

The rest of the guys had been looking forward to 300 for ages (they were just slightly less excited about it than they are about Grindhouse)—so I figured I’d be the only one who didn’t like it. But I was surprised to find that there was a general consensus—that there’s just so much sword-fighting-against-green-screens that you can watch before it loses its excitement.

Following our one long day on Tuesday, the rest of the week was pretty quiet. The only other screening on the schedule was a Thursday screening of Pride—which most of us skipped because there are still approximately 14 more screenings until it hits theaters in a couple of weeks (and because very few of us actually want to see it). Right now, we’re all just resting up for next week. The screenings start on Monday morning—and we’ve got seven scheduled for the week (not counting the two kids’ movie screenings on Saturday morning, which we rarely attend—since being surrounded by kids and their all-too-eager parents is usually worse than being surrounded by teenage girls). It’ll be like December all over again….

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