Friday, May 04, 2007

Cruel, Cruel Summer

New at Since Last Week:
Spider-Man 3
The Venture Bros.: Season Two

This week, the COFCA Death Squad began its summer movie draft. Since Fantasy Moguls decided to change the rules, making them no longer any fun, we decided to go out on our own this time around. So on Monday afternoon, David, our fearless leader, sent out The Official Draft Cheet Sheet. One tab of the spreadsheet was the list of movies that are scheduled for release between May 4 and September 2, while the other tab was for keeping track of everyone’s picks. And on Tuesday morning, The Big Summer Draft—the one we’d been eagerly anticipating since winter—began.

Since I took second place in the spring round, I was picking seventh this time. In other words, I’m totally screwed for the summer round. The biggies went instantly—Spider-Man 3, then Pirates 3, then Shrek 3. I ended up with Fantastic Four—and I picked up Live Free or Die Hard in round two.

Somewhere around the end of the second round, though, we all started getting that horrible, sinking feeling. It was Jason, who was trying to pick the last pick of round two, who pointed out that there were are only fifteen decent movies coming out this summer—in a span of four months. After that, we were left to dig through the dreck—the crappy horror movies and stupid comedies and the movies with Lindsay Lohan in them. The deeper we got into the draft, the more horrified we became. All these cold months, we’d been wading through the sludge, looking forward to Summer Blockbuster Season, when things would get better—when it would be fun to watch movies again. And now we realize we’d been wading through the sludge only to find…more sludge. And Lindsay Lohan.

It’s going to be a long summer, my friends.

Since I’ve already given up on the Big Threes (Spider-Man, Pirates, Shrek, Rush Hour, Ocean’s, and anything else I may have missed), I’m just going to have to put all my hopes on Harry Potter, Transformers, Ratatouille, and Evan Almighty. Something in there has got to be good.

Originally, we planned on doing eight rounds of picks instead of the regular six—because we were picking for four months instead of three. But at the beginning of the seventh round, we realized that there was nothing left but that movie with J-Lo and her zombie husband—and a few others of similar ilk—so we decided to give up and stop at six rounds (though I will admit I’d just been flipping through my Entertainment Weekly, totally prepared to pick my next two rounds of dreck).

So my picks, as they currently stand, are:
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Live Free or Die Hard
Georgia Rules
A Mighty Heart

As for any other movie news, it was a pretty slow week—as is the case for most of May. April’s calendar was scribbled with screenings—at least three a week, every week. May’s calendar, on the other hand, is empty. You’d think, with all the big summer movies coming out this month, that we’d have tons of screenings. But right now, it looks like it’s going to be a quiet month. I’m not complaining or anything—because I could use the time to catch up on the stack of books and CDs that have been slowly accumulating on my desk. It’s just strange.

This week, we only had two screenings—one on Tuesday morning and another on Wednesday night. Tuesday was Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book—a stunning WWII thriller that I highly recommend. It’s really long, but I didn’t even notice. It was that good.

While we were waiting for the screening to begin, one of the guys mentioned that there was a screening for 28 Weeks Later the next morning. No one else had heard about it, so we were a little surprised—but not too surprised. After all, the emails are a little hit-or-miss. In fact, I had to hear about Tuesday’s screening by word of mouth. But the fact that only one of us knew about this Wednesday screening was a little unusual. So, being the suspicious person I am, I decided to email someone about the Wednesday screening before just showing up. And, as it turns out, there was a screening—but it was only for critics who were doing interviews with the cast/filmmakers of the film. So I chose to stay at the office and get caught up instead. In the end, it’s a good thing I did—because the one guy who knew about the screening got the location wrong, and everyone who decided to show up ended up showing up at the wrong theater.

On Wednesday morning, my husband left for a business conference in Vegas. On Wednesday night, I had to head out to see a movie about a poker player in Vegas. And I definitely drew the short end of the stick. I had hoped that Lucky You would be at least a little bit fun. I mean, Drew Barrymore’s in it. How can it not be a little bit fun? And cute. Drew Barrymore movies are always cute. But, as it turns out, Lucky You is not cute. Lucky You is like watching two hours of the World Series of Poker on TV—only without the commercial/bathroom/snack breaks. And without the announcer to explain what’s going on. And without the entertaining banter. And without the element of surprise. The best part of the night was when Jason made some ridiculous comment about the movie, sending all of us into an uncontrollable fit of giggles.

Oh, and the Pepperpots. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, the Pepperpots are a Monty Python thing. To quote Wikipedia: “Pepperpots are middle-aged housewives, usually British, portrayed by a male member of the group dressed as a woman and speaking in a screeching falsetto.” My favorite Pepperpot sketch was the Pepperpots at the movies, where they loudly commented on everything that happened, often expressing their shock and awe with a shrieking “Ooooh! Aaaah! Well, I nevah!”

A pair of Pepperpots chose seats next to us for the Lucky You screening. Since there wasn’t much at all to the movie, their loud conversation was more amusing than anything else. I didn’t need to concentrate too much on the story, since there was very little to it besides endless hands of poker (though, who knows…I may have missed something important by not analyzing each bet Eric Bana’s character, sadly named Huckleberry, made), so I was quite entertained by the women and their opinions about how that old dog Huck should have been handling his relationship with Drew Barrymore’s character (once again, sadly named), Billie.

But even the Pepperpots didn’t add enough to make the movie interesting. In the end, it was just one of those movies that made me go home and drink.

Next week is another quiet week—but I’ll be making another trip to the studio on Thursday for another guest appearance on “It’s Movie Time,” so I’m sure I’ll have a story or two to share.

This Week’s Film Critic Discussion Topics:

Summer movies. We pretty much spent the whole week studying the summer’s releases, in preparation for our next round of draft picks. So this week’s conversations were all about the draft—and about last season, and the season before. I’m sure we’ll find something more interesting to talk about next week.

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