Monday, July 30, 2007

Another Week…a Little Less Behind

New at Since Last Time:
The Simpsons Movie
No Reservations

As is often the case during the busiest times of the year, last week flew by in a bit of a blur. I know I saw a lot of movies. I just don’t know a lot more than that.

Last week at this time, I was seven reviews behind. I was pretty much tearing my hair out. Seven reviews behind—and a bunch of movies on the grid for the week (not to mention the pile of DVDs on the coffee table in the living room, which I could swear had started growling at me whenever I walked in the room). Fortunately, though, I had the whole day on Tuesday to start catching up. We didn’t have a morning screening, so I could settle in and get to work. Write some reviews. And, fortunately, I did manage to get a couple done before I had to head off to see No Reservations that night. Although no one else seemed eager to see it (which I can probably attribute, for the most part, to pretty much everyone else being guys), I was looking forward to Tuesday night. I know I’m going to sound like a total snob when I say that I saw the original German version of the movie, but it’s the truth. Before you jump to any conclusions about what that says about me, let me explain further: I saw it on the shelf at the library in Massachusetts, and it looked interesting, so I picked it up. Perhaps all of the big blockbusters were checked out that day (or, more likely, I’d already seen them all). So I got this German movie. And I liked it. That’s it.

As I was walking in to the screening, I was reminded of the fact that the people who had passes for the screening had received them because, not long ago, they’d ended up sitting around at the theater for a couple of hours, only to hear that the License to Wed screening had been canceled. So they got passes to see No Reservations instead. I just hoped that everything would go according to plan this time—or else, I suspected, there would be a riot.

It turns out that I was lucky to have a seat. Bill had been fighting off the masses, who kept walking by to ask if it was available. But Bill was tough, and he didn’t take any bribes, either. And for that, I’m grateful.

After I sat down, though, people kept trying to find seats, asking people around us if empty seats were taken. Bill just laughed every time it happened. But the little old guy on the other side of me wasn’t quite so amused. He seemed rather angry by the fact that people, who were trying to find a seat in a packed theater, would ask other people, who happened to be sitting near unoccupied seats, if those seats happened to be available. In general, though, the old guy was pretty entertaining. Apparently, he wasn’t there with anyone else—or at least I’m pretty sure I was the only one who spoke to him before the movie. So he made up for it by talking to himself. And to the characters. And to nobody in particular. During the movie, he made frequent attempts to predict what the characters were going to say. When Catherine Zeta-Jones’s shrink asks her, after her mother died, who did the cooking, he said, in his huskiest, most dramatic Catherine Zeta-Jones voice, “I did.” (Though that’s not what she really said.) And when not incorrectly predicting lines, he’d incorrectly predict action. At one point, when CZJ is searching for her lost niece, he called out, “Look under the bed!” The most amusing thing about it, though, was that he was never right. He never predicted a single direction or line correctly. Not once. So perhaps he left a few minutes before the credits rolled because he was miffed that nobody wrote the movie that he wanted them to write.

I, however, would like to see his version of the movie. I’m sure it would have been quite dramatic. And wacky.

On Wednesday night, I was scheduled to check out Charlie Bartlett—but, on the previous Friday, I’d gotten an email saying that the release date had been moved…to sometime next year (despite the fact that I saw commercials for it that weekend, still claiming it was opening on August 3). So I figured it would be a waste of my time to go now, when I’m swamped—instead of going in February, when they’ll probably screen it again. And for real this time. And it’s a good thing I decided to skip it, too—since I got an email at 7:30 that night (though, to be fair, it apparently had been bouncing around in cyberspace for a while), saying that the screening was still on, but that any member of the press who showed up would be sent away.

Since my husband was in Texas on business that night, I was totally planning on grabbing McDonald’s and vegging in front of one of those DVDs on my coffee table, I made the mistake of stepping on the scale, after which I had a salad and watched the DVD while pedaling my little heart out on the recumbent bike downstairs instead. Then I ended up staying up much too late, waiting for my husband’s flight to get in—which totally sucked, since I had a full day ahead of me on Thursday.

Thursday morning was El Cantante, a movie that I’m trying really hard to forget. I didn’t even have a cookie before the screening, so there was nothing positive about the experience. I have no idea why they brought a security guard to the press screening of that one, other than to keep the press from throwing our drinks at the screen.

So let’s not talk about that anymore, shall we? After the screening, John and Clay took me out for a lovely lunch to celebrate the upcoming anniversary of my birth. It was good to have Clay back from vacation, since that meant that I wasn’t alone in indulging in crap while John got “just a salad.” The food was delicious (even if it was bad for me), and the company was even better.

After lunch, I had just a little while to scribble down an outline of a review before I had to get ready for the next screening. Thursday night’s screening was The Simpsons Movie. We rushed to get to the theater, and by the time we got there—about 45 minutes before the movie was supposed to begin—the place was a madhouse. Bill was outside, waiting for his dad to arrive, and he directed our attention to the line that had formed inside—the one that was curling around the entire lobby. Twice. From what I heard later, people had started showing up at 4 for a 7:30 screening. That. Is. Insane. I don’t care if it’s the Simpsons. The movie opens in another four and a half hours, people. Just buy a ticket, and you don’t even have to wait in line. Simple.

We had to fight off the crowd to get into the theater—and I must admit that I actually feared for my own safety. There were people there who wanted so badly to see this movie a few hours before the rest of the country that they waited in line all afternoon for it. And I was showing up 45 minutes early and walking right into the theater. Needless to say, people don’t take kindly to stuff like that. They also don’t take kindly to the fact that, if I really wanted to, I could show up 10 minutes early and still get a seat. But I’m not that mean. Fortunately, though, no one punched me on my way into the theater, so all was good.

A few minutes after I got in, though, they let in the masses—and it was mass hysteria. Somehow, though, the theater was large enough to hold them all. Or at least I didn’t hear anything smashing, nor did I hear anyone screaming, so I’m guessing that’s the case. It was, however, insane. And I did watch as a couple of people blatantly ripped off “Reserved for Press” signs and took those seats for their own. And if some of my colleagues had shown up at the last minute, looking for seats, I would have happily turned them in. Fortunately, though, that wasn’t necessary—because I doubt if I would have made it out in one piece.

On Friday morning, there was yet another screening—this time, The Bourne Ultimatum. But I ended up not going, for two reasons: (1) the evening screening is tomorrow. It’s my husband’s birthday, and, just like last year, we were going to spend it at the theater. So once the Friday morning screening popped up on the schedule, I checked with him and gave him the option of going to the movie or going out for dinner. He chose the movie. Go figure. And (2) I was still way behind, and I really wanted that one day to catch up. So I took it. And I’m glad I did—because I got enough finished that I didn’t feel too guilty about leaving for the weekend.

On Saturday morning, we got up early and drove to Cedar Point, where my husband’s company was springing for their employees and their families for the day. I don’t actually do roller coasters. I prefer not to wait in line for two hours in order to spend a minute and a half trying not to vomit on the guy ahead of me. What can I say? I have a weak stomach—and, like other people in the park (who frequently cause hose-down delays on certain rides), I don’t push it. But I did go on the Corkscrew and some other wimpy little roller coaster (even I thought it was wimpy) and a few fun spinny rides. And my husband went on all the things I wouldn’t—and while he waited in line for much of the day, I did some light reading. Then, when we left the park that night, we headed across to Cleveland, so we could hit the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame on Sunday. I’d wanted to go when I was in town for the film festival this spring, but we didn’t end up fitting it in—and, as it turns out, it’s a good thing I didn’t try. You can’t fit the Hall into a short break—especially not if you’re me. It requires several hours.

We showed up shortly after 1 (after a fine Denny’s breakfast), and the coolest thing happened. A girl walked up to me and asked if we were waiting to buy tickets. When I told her we were, she handed me a pair and said something about having more than they needed. So there they were—a free pair of tickets. If she hadn’t run off so quickly, I would have hugged her (so it’s probably best that she ran off before the shock and disbelief wore off). So if you’re out there, thanks.

Anyway…if you ever have the chance to go to the Hall of Fame, do it. But, as I said earlier, block off plenty of time. Personally, I could have spent several hours alone hanging out on the fifth-floor Clash exhibit. And how cool was it that I got to see the hand-written lyrics to U2’s “Bad”? My mom was thrilled to hear that I’d stopped to check out the Rick Nelson display. With all the videos and exhibits and stuff, I could have spent the whole weekend there—but, alas, we only had until 4. Then we hit the road. But I fully intend to go back again—when I have a whole day.

So this week, I get to play a little bit of catch-up. Since August officially begins on Wednesday, things begin to slow down now—a lot. We don’t have a single daytime screening scheduled for this week—and though we have Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night screenings on the grid, I’m thinking I might pass on Bratz: The Movie. It’s not that I’m not dying to see it or anything. I’m just a little burnt out. And I’ve got catching up to do. Else, I’d be all over that one. I can’t wait until it comes out on DVD…

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