Friday, August 17, 2007


New at Since Last Week:

Don’t tell, but I’m skipping a screening right now, as I write this. Clearly, the hot, humid weather of the last few weeks (not to mention the fact that it’s August—and very little of note comes out in August) has left me feeling a bit sluggish. Lazy. Indifferent, even. And maybe just the tiniest bit burnt out. And I just couldn’t force myself to leave the office this morning to go and see something heavy and dramatic.

Actually, I’m starting to understand why studios release nothing but bad comedies in August—because, really, that’s all I feel like watching right now. I don’t feel like watching something long and dramatic. Just hook me up with something light and silly (and preferably short), and I’m good. And, fortunately, that’s what I got this week.

It all started on Tuesday morning, with the press screening of The Nanny Diaries.

As you might recall, I was a bit concerned last week about our pal, Kevin Carr, who left for Comic-Con and never came back. Fortunately, though, he arrived at the screening on Tuesday morning—all in one piece and sans prison tattoo. He was, however, very, very tan, having just returned from a cruise. He had to explain the whole thing to us, since most of us are completely unfamiliar with the concept of “vacation.”

To celebrate Kevin’s safe return, we decided that a special happy hour was in order. Since several of us were planning on heading to a screening of Superbad on Tuesday evening—and since that screening just happened to be taking place on campus, which, of course, is saturated with college bars—we figured that we’d head to the screening a bit early.

By the time my husband and I showed up (admittedly quite late), Bill and Kevin had secured a table on the bar’s upper patio. Bill had a glass and a pitcher of beer in front of him (he informed us it was his second pitcher). And Kevin had a pitcher of Long Island Iced Tea with a straw in it.

“Look!” Kevin exclaimed as we sat down. “Two-dollar pitchers of Long Island! And they just bring it out with a straw!”

Since we were seeing Superbad that night, I figured it would probably be best if I drank as much as possible in the short amount of time remaining before the screening, so I immediately ordered my very own two-dollar pitcher (with a straw) and a couple of plates of appetizers.

Before we left the bar, Kevin managed to down a second pitcher (which, I swear, he drank in approximately 20 seconds). Then we carefully made our way down the stairs and across the sidewalk to the theater. Having just finished whole pitchers of drinks, we made a pitstop before heading into the theater and attempting to climb up the ridiculously uneven stairs to the seats that Jason and his girlfriend had saved for us.

As it turned out, I found myself wishing I’d had a second pitcher before the movie. Because while some of it was quite funny (especially anything involving McLovin), I wasn’t nearly drunk enough (and probably not nearly male enough) to find it absolutely, positively hilarious. The guy sitting next to my husband, on the other hand, was laughing so hard that, looking back, I wonder if, perhaps, he wasn’t laughing at all. Perhaps it was a seizure. Maybe we should have called 911.

Wednesday night’s screening, however, was more my style—and I hadn’t even been drinking. But Frank Oz’s new movie, Death at a Funeral is hilarious. And, clearly, it’s funny for viewers of all ages—because the senior citizens that made up the crowd at the screening seemed to love it just as much as I did.

Wednesday’s screening was held at a theater that rarely hosts evening screenings. And it’s probably just best that way. The last time I was there for an evening screening was back in December. It was my last screening of the month before leaving town for the holidays, and I made my way into a lobby that was packed with Red Hat Ladies, who multiplied by the minute, and who had obviously never been taught that (a) it’s not polite to shove people out of the way and (b) when you go inside the theater, it’s not polite to yell at your friends, who are seated on the other side of the theater.

This week’s screening wasn’t packed with Red Hat Ladies, though—or at least if they were Red Hat Ladies, they were incognito. But since the theater is in an older, wealthier part of town, the crowd was old. Very old. But if they were rich, they clearly weren’t refined, well-mannered, rich old people. They were loud. And pushy. And when they were let into the theater and took their seats around Neil, Kevin, and I, they got even louder. And pushier. And once the movie started, they seemed to get louder still.

We were clearly surrounded by Pepperpots. They reacted (loudly) to everything that took place in the trailers and in the movie. When the opening credits began, one woman behind us announced, for the whole theater to hear, “This is our movie now. It’s not another preview.”

They were, however, absolutely fascinated by the opening credits, which consist of a simple animation of a coffin traveling along a map. Occasionally, it would make a wrong turn, and it would then turn around and go back. It also went around roundabouts. To the Pepperpots, this was all wildly entertaining.

“They could have just done the whole movie this way, and these people would have loved it,” Neil pointed out to me.

As the movie continued, not only did we have to endure the constant chatter of the Pepper Pots (which, admittedly, gave us a near fatal case of the giggles), but I can’t even tell you how many times we were interrupted by the ringing of cell phones (if only those big guys with the night-vision goggles had been there!). There was also the guy behind us, who had some horrible illness, and who spent the majority of the film honking his schnozz into what sounded like a paper bag. All in all, it was so loud in that theater that I missed large portions of the dialogue. But the audience seemed to find it absolutely hilarious, so it must have been funny, right?

Really, you’d think that such a refined part of town would make for a refined crowd. But when it all comes down to it, I rank them second on the Obnoxious Scale—because they’re still slightly less obnoxious than the Balcony Brigade.

Other than this morning’s screening, that was it for the week. Things have been eerily quiet lately. We’ve had a few screenings—but lately, all the biggest releases haven’t been screening. This week, for instance, we saw Superbad and Death at a Funeral, but we didn’t get to see The Invasion or The Last Legion. If this continues, we may have to start doing what Kevin and Neil did on their show right before Kevin went on vacation: psychic reviews. We’re just going to have to start writing our reviews based on what we guess the movie is going to be like. Just for the record, I psychically give The Invasion a D+. And The Last Legion gets…a C+ (mostly just because Colin Firth is in it).

Next week is another ridiculously slow week. Apparently, there’s a screening on Tuesday—because I got a pass for it, even though it isn’t on any of our schedules. There’s also a screening on Thursday night—for a movie that doesn’t come out until late next month. And there’s an obscure documentary (I think that’s what it is) screening on Friday. But I guess that’s okay. It’ll give me time to catch up on the pile of DVDs that showed up yesterday morning…

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