Friday, September 28, 2007

Everybody Needs a Cause

New at Since Last Week:
The Kingdom
Eastern Promises
Good Luck Chuck
In the Valley of Elah

It seems like there are a million causes out there to support—each with its own color-coordinated ribbon.

Well, now there’s one more.

Last week, after we all saw Good Luck Chuck, we all needed some serious recovery time. In fact, many of us skipped the Thursday night screening of Resident Evil just to stay home and try to drink away the memories of the things we saw on screen on Wednesday night. Kevin went so far as to call for an end to Dane Cook movies in his review: “Please Hollywood, do us a favor. No more Dane Cook! I think I’ll make a ribbon for this cause and start wearing it.”

After reading Kevin’s review, I decided that his anti-Dane Cook cause was one that I could definitely get behind, so I emailed him to tell him that I, too, would support his cause. Because nothing terrifies me more than the thought of having to sit through another Dane Cook movie. It’s almost as scary as the thought of having to sit through another M. Night Shyamalan movie.

So after a bit of discussion, we agreed that on a nice poop-brown color for the ribbons. Not only is poop-brown underused in cause ribbons, but we also figured it would be a nice color to represent our cause.

At Thursday’s screening of Gone Baby Gone, Kevin arrived with a fresh supply of poop-brown Stop Dane Cook ribbons to hand out. I immediately pinned mine to my sweatshirt. And I will wear it with pride.

Soon, you, too, will be able to get your very own poop-brown Stop Dane Cook ribbon. As soon as I find out how, I’ll be sure to let you know.

So anyway…on to the rest of the week’s adventures.

I only went to one evening screening this week—because we had so many morning screenings popping up. I had actually planned on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night screenings—but then we ended up with Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning screenings, and I changed my mind. Sadly, The Rock’s new movie was dropped from my plans because of it. I may have to catch that one on DVD.

Tuesday night was The Kingdom. There was a screening about a month ago, but that was in the middle of the whole fallen tree / site outage / in-laws coming for the weekend fiasco, so I skipped it. The general reaction from the critics in the area was pretty positive, though, so I was looking forward to it—despite the fact that it was yet another movie about the Middle East.

The screening of The Kingdom took place back at the theater with the balcony. We don’t really get there all that often (the last time was for The Bourne Ultimatum), but it’s probably best that way—since the Balcony Brigade can get pretty crazy. Of course, that never stops us from sitting in the balcony anyway. And really, why should it? The seats are nice and cushy in the balcony. They’re roomy, and they’re leather. How could you not love that? So we’re usually willing to deal with a few annoyances in exchange for big, cushy seats.

This time, we walked in just as the previous movie was ending. And guess what it was. If you guessed Good Luck Chuck, you’d be correct. And, since the last part of Good Luck Chuck is some of the worst stuff in the whole horrible movie, it started our evening out on a very bad, very sickening foot. It did, however, help to promote Kevin’s new Stop Dane Cook movement.

For some reason, whenever we’re in the theater with the balcony, there’s some sort of a giveaway. Of course, these happen often at evening screenings—but usually, the people doing the giveaway don’t have a balcony full of people to consider. If you don’t give cheap, ugly one-size-fits-none T-shirts to the people in the balcony, they’ll get very angry. And if you do try to accommodate the Balcony Brigade, it means either having a really good throwing arm or the patience for the winners to walk all the way down from the balcony to claim their prize. Unfortunately, the people who do these giveaways have neither—so it always makes for an interesting evening.

Pre-screening giveaways always make us a little nervous—because giving people free movie tickets and free crappy T-shirts before the movie starts is like giving a five-year-old a bag of jellybeans before bedtime. Not a good idea. But, surprisingly, the Balcony Brigade calmed down by the time the movie started.

Of course, it probably didn’t hurt that we had to sit through almost a half hour of trailers before the movie could begin. I guess those trailers are good for something after all—besides seeing which movies Meryl Streep is releasing this year. Really—from the trailers we saw, you’d think that Meryl Streep was in 40% of all movies made. The other 60% go to Dane Cook. [Please…make it stop!]

So anyway, after one evening screening this week, the endless procession of daytime screenings began. Now, this is a good thing and a bad thing. On one hand, I don’t have to worry about scarfing down dinner and spending a whole ten minutes with my husband before rushing out to screenings every night of the week. It also means that we can watch in the comfort of our very own theater, with a cup of coffee—and without all those people who make loud, stupid comments in the middle of the movie. And at least we all turn off our cell phones. On the other hand, it means that I have to get my butt in gear in the morning to get a few things done before leaving at 10:15ish. Then I get back to the office at 1:30ish. Now, it’s cool to be able to hang out with the rest of the COFCA crew, but that’s three hours of normal catching-up-on-reviews-and-stuff time that I spend driving to the other side of town and watching some movie. So I guess what it all comes down to is that I actually need to work 13-hour days just to get everything done.

On Wednesday, I arrived for The Jane Austen Book Club—the first screening in our Morning Screening Marathon. There weren’t many of us there for that one. Go figure. Perhaps because there aren’t a lot of chick film critics. But Lori was there, and Joyce was there, and Margaret was there, and I was there. And I, for one, liked it, thank you very much.

What I didn’t like, however, was the fact that they’d removed the booths at the theater. We knew it was bound to happen sooner or later, but it still didn’t make me happy. I loved pulling in each morning and sliding into my booth to chat and eat my cookie before the screening. I miss my booths.

On Thursday, we returned (and the crowd grew—and increased in testosterone levels) for Gone Baby Gone. There was a bit of confusion Thursday morning, though, since it was absolutely pouring on Thursday morning (to the point that people were driving 25 on the highway, which caused us all to reminisce about the time we all attended the Norbit screening despite the blizzard that had hit that day). And since the theater is pretty old, there was some leakage. Through the walls, actually. So we had to move from our regular theater—and not to the second largest theater, but to the teeniest, tiniest theater I’ve ever seen. There were—and I’m not even exaggerating here—six rows. And the screen was approximately the size of the screen that we had in our apartment, back when we used to have a projector for a TV. It was definitely the tiniest theater I’ve ever been in. But, well, it was just us, so I guess it didn’t really matter. It was just weird.

The crowd grew even larger for today’s screening of We Own the Night—which made for a fun Friday morning screening. We were even back into our old theater—which, I’m guessing, was cleared of its worst water damage.

The funny thing about today’s screening, though, was that there was a security guard. It always cracks me up when they have guards at press-only screenings. Do they honestly think that we’re going to be stupid enough to try to pirate movies at press screenings? But, hey, as today’s guard was quick to point out, we’re clearly used to the metal detectors. We know what he needs to check and what he needs to know. We know our cell phones have to be turned off.

After the screening, though, we still had one adventure left before calling it a week. This weekend is Oktoberfest here in C-town—and, according to tradition, if there’s a fest of some sort, John, Clay, and I head there for lunch on Friday. So today we walked to town to get ourselves German beer and some tasty cabbage and noodles (which, the surly German man assured us, was, in fact, German food). It was an absolutely gorgeous day for the walk—sunny and 70s. And I’ve gotta tell you—after a bowl of cabbage, half a cream puff, and a beer (all enjoyed at a nice sunny table in the middle of a beautiful, grassy park), it’s pretty tough to get back to work. But alas, I’ve gone to lots of screenings this week—so many, in fact, that I’ve barely had time to write about them. In fact, I still haven’t finished my review of yesterday’s movie. So it’s time to get to work.

It looks like next week will be more of the same. So far, we have daytime screenings on Monday and Tuesday (yes, that makes five in a row). And I just got an email that another one is in the works. And I’ve already got a couple of evening screenings planned. You’d think it was December or something….

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Movie Reviewing Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

New at Since Last Week:
Sydney White
2 Days in Paris
The Brave One

There are some weeks when I love my job. And then there are other weeks, when I realize just how much of a pathetic loser I am. This week was the latter.

This week’s light screening load started on Tuesday morning. I rushed to the theater—running behind as always—realizing that I was absolutely starving already. That’s never a good sign, since morning screenings run well past lunchtime, and I was already starving at 10:30. That meant that I ended up sitting through a very long screening of Paul Haggis’s In the Valley of Elah, trying to muffle the sound of my growling stomach. I was unsuccessful.

Afterwards, I walked down the street with Clay to grab some lunch. And over a delicious salad (I know…I ate a salad, and John wasn’t even there to witness it!), we actually had the following exchange:

Clay: So what do you have planned for this fall?
Kristin: Well…nothing really beyond Thursday.
Clay: What’s Thursday?
Kristin: Um…we have a screening.
Clay: So that’s the extent of your life, huh?
Kristin: Pretty much.

Okay, so maybe that’s not the whole extent of my life. Looking ahead, I’m going to a hockey game in October. And I have tickets to see Spamalot in November. I also have approximately 10 screenings on my schedule so far—and there will be many, many more to come. So you can probably imagine that those little buggers tend to outnumber everything else.

So anyway…that night, we had another screening. It was an early one, so I had to gulp down dinner and race out the door. I wasn’t even out of the neighborhood before the fuel light went on in my car. I tried to decide if I’d have enough gas to make it to the theater, but then I realized it would just mean trying to find a gas station after the screening, when, most likely, I’d just want to go home and crash. So I decided to take a couple extra minutes to stop on the way. The problem, however, was that getting gas on the way meant that I couldn’t take my extra-speedy back roads—and after my tank was full and my car was happy, I pulled out into bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Realizing that I could possibly show up at the theater after they’d let in the riff-raff, I called David (who wasn’t actually going to the screening) to ask him to call Jason (who was) for me and ask him to save me a seat. While we were talking, David told me to put in the comedy CD he’d handed me that morning. And I’m so glad I did. By the time I got to the theater, I wasn’t quite so angry anymore.

But then, just as I was walking through the parking lot to the theater, it hit me: I’m a grown woman, and I’m walking into a movie theater by myself on a beautiful Tuesday night—to see an Amanda Bynes movie. How pathetic am I?

Of course, it could have been worse. I could have been one of the grown men who joined me at the theater that night. And, fortunately, Sydney White was actually quite entertaining. So that made me feel better.

On Wednesday night, however, we all sunk to the deepest depths of pathetic-ness. By 6:45, I was once again back at the theater—this time, to see Good Luck Chuck. When I got there, there was already a line of people waiting to get in. That’s nothing new, really. There’s usually a line. But this time, the line was huge.

“Do all those people realize which movie’s playing tonight?” I asked. “I mean, it’s Dane Cook.”

And it got even crazier. We were in one of the hugest theaters available, and it was absolutely packed. The security guard kept coming in to tell everyone to squish into the middle of the row, to allow as many people as possible to get in. The rep even came up and made us move over, saying, “If the press aren’t already here, they’re just not getting a seat.” Yikes! Then again, I wouldn’t have wanted to show up late and have to fight the crowd that was actually gathered in the front of the theater, looking pathetic and begging for seats.

Really. I’m not kidding. People were that desperate to see Good Luck Chuck. I was tempted to tell one of those poor schmucks that I’d be willing to give up my seat for a price—and then I could have gone home and done something less pathetic with my evening. But alas. I stayed.

Before we could even see the movie, we had to endure the usual pre-screening giveaway. This time, they had a million T-shirts to give away, and people were flinging them all over the place. One of them bounced off my seat, just inches from smacking me in the head—so I decided I should probably pay a little more attention. I felt like I was at some crazy baseball game—one played with about 15 different balls, all at the same time, and if you didn’t pay attention, one could come from any direction and give you a concussion.

Finally, the lights dimmed, and the trailers rolled. We actually sat through a trailer for a movie called (and no, I’m not even kidding—look it up) Midnight Meat Train. That’s got to be the best movie title since Snakes on a Plane. And when I saw it, I laughed so hard, I almost fell out of my seat. Midnight Meat Train? Seriously?

All I can say is that I hope they screen that one at a theater that’s within walking distance of a bar with a good happy hour.

Unfortunately, the Midnight Meat Train trailer was probably the highlight of the entire night. Because the movie was astonishingly bad. In those 96 minutes, I saw things that I never, ever, in a million years, needed to see. Things involving Dan Fogler and a grapefruit. And I am forever traumatized. I never once had to cover my eyes during the screening of Apocalypto last December. I even watched those guys have their still-beating hearts cut out of their bodies. But I covered my eyes repeatedly throughout Good Luck Chuck. And if I could have simultaneously plugged my ears, I would have done that, too. When it was all over, one of the guys looked at me and said, “You look stunned.” And stunned I was. Stunned at the sheer badness of it all.

And after it was over, I went home and drank half a bottle of Pepto to try to calm that horrible feeling in my stomach. But I don’t know if Pepto is all that effective in curing disgust and revulsion.

So anyway…there were actually a couple of screenings scheduled for Thursday night, too—one was the new Resident Evil movie, and the other was that new movie starring The Rock. But after sitting through Good Luck Chuck on Wednesday, I decided that I really deserved a break. So I chose to stay home and watch bad reality TV instead—and it made me feel much better.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Underwater Singing—And Other Screening Catastrophes

New at Since Last Week:
The 11th Hour
In the Shadow of the Moon
The Brothers Solomon
Shoot ‘Em Up

This week was another slow screening week—but it was far from uneventful.

It all started right away on Monday. My husband was once again gone for a few days this week (Dallas this time), so I started the week on my own again. This is not a good thing, but it definitely makes me appreciate my husband even more—because it shows me what a mess my life would be if I didn’t have my structured engineer-type husband to keep things in order. But more on that later.

Anyway, we had a screening of The Brave One scheduled for Monday night. In my planner, I had it written down as 7:30—which meant that I’d be able to go to my kids’ knitting group in the afternoon and still have time to grab dinner at Wendy’s or something and get a little bit of work done before the screening. It’s a good thing that I checked my pass when I left the group at 6, though—because the pass said that the screening was at 7 instead of 7:30. So I dug a smushed SlimFast bar out of my bag (I keep them there for emergencies such as these—which reminds me…I need to restock) and called it dinner. I ate it in the car on the way to the theater, while talking on the phone to my mom…and then my husband…and then my mom… I swear I’m going to get myself killed doing that. But, fortunately, I made it through this week without incident.

I made it to the theater just as Bill was making his way through the parking lot (and right after our pal, Hazel, had made her way inside). Bill had just spent the weekend setting up his new computer—one that we’re all quite sure could launch missiles. I’ll be sure to be extra-nice to him from now on.

You never know what kind of a crowd you’re going to get when you go to a screening. Sometimes, they’re just fine. Sometimes, they’re filled with babies and people who can’t shut up—like Monday’s screening. Personally, I would think that if you’d gotten a free pass to a movie, you might be able to spring for a babysitter for your toddler (And hello! A movie about a woman who goes vigilante and starts shooting people? It’s not exactly a Disney movie, people.). But maybe that’s just me. Still, there were a bunch of babies at the screening—one or two of whom were gone before the first Michael Clayton trailer started (we got to see the trailer twice—but it still didn’t make any of us any more excited to see the movie).

So we were still left with a couple of babies—and one loud, crazy man who was sitting right behind the rather substantial row of critics. The guy felt it was his duty to add his own sound effects and shout out totally random comments at inappropriate times throughout the movie. At first, it was funny. A little bit. And then it just got irritating. At one point, after one totally random outburst, Jason looked at me and said, “Jeez, does this guy have Tourettes, or what?”

Finally, Kevin (who was way down on the other end of the row) had enough. And after yet another random outburst, he responded with, “Dude. You’re not funny.” Fortunately, that shut the guy up—though I was totally waiting for a brawl to break out. And I didn’t walk out into the parking lot with Kevin, either. Just in case.

On Tuesday, I’d been planning on heading to an evening screening of The Game Plan—but it had mysteriously disappeared from our schedule. There weren’t any other screenings scheduled for that night (no screenings on a Tuesday night—very strange). So I was left with a free night. A whole night free. I’m not used to those, and I really had no idea what I’d do with myself. Since my husband was still gone, I ended up working until 7. I would have worked later, actually, but I was getting hungry. (Did I even eat lunch on Tuesday afternoon? I have a feeling Tuesday’s lunch consisted of a cup of coffee…) So I ordered myself a giant bag of Chinese takeout and threw myself down on the couch, got out my chopsticks, and picked out one of the DVDs from the pile on the coffee table. After I finished my General Tso’s chicken and crab rangoons, I went back into the kitchen and cracked open a bottle of wine.

Now, I realize that my night was, by comparison, totally lame. I realize that most women, when faced with a husband-free night, would call up the girls and head to a bar. But (a) all my girls have babies. And (b) I was just too lazy to leave the house (other than to pick up my General Tso’s). I also realize that it’s pretty pathetic that I technically spent my night working. But just wait—it gets worse.

So after I finished my first DVD, I realized that it was only a little after 9. I picked up another screening from my pile and noticed it was only 96 minutes long. So I refilled my wine glass and settled in for a double feature.

Yes, I do realize that I’ve lost my mind.

I was interrupted once by a phone call from my husband in Dallas, after which I got out some ice cream and a spoon and had dessert while watching the end of Movie #2. By the time it ended, it was after 11, so I figured I’d call it a night. Although I usually stay up late and sleep in when I’m home alone, I knew that I needed to get up at the crack of dawn on Thursday—because I needed to be downtown at the station to record the radio show at 8:30—so I figured I’d better stick to a somewhat normal schedule.

The problem, however, was that I couldn’t sleep. Apparently, my brain isn’t used to sitting on the couch all night and then going to bed. It’s used to rushing through dinner, to the theater, through the screening, and then heading back home to take a few notes before hurrying off to bed and willing myself to sleep right now. My brain isn’t used to spending a whole night chilling out. Eventually, I stopped trying. I just got up and worked on a review until 2 and decided to try again. So much for getting to bed early.

Wednesday was, strangely, another free night—one that I once again spent attempting to get to bed on time, to no avail. I must say that Thursday morning’s 6:30 wake-up call came much to early. But I had a show to do, so I got my ass out of bed and grabbed a Coke for the road. The rush hour gods were smiling on me, and I even got to the studio early. I was all crazy and jittery and sleep-deprived, but I somehow made it through our recording. And you can listen to this week’s show at

We made it out of the studio by about 10 and headed straight for the theater for our 11:00 screening. We had more than enough time to grab a cookie and a much-needed coffee. And as we sat and recapped the show, we found out that there was a bit of a glitch with the screening. Apparently, Eastern Promises is at some random aspect ratio that the theater didn’t actually have. Now, you’d think that a movie theater would be able to accommodate all the aspect ratios out there, but I guess you’d be wrong. We were told that they had to use a different lens, and they had to tape it off. So if the heads were cut off a bit, that wasn’t the director’s fault.


To add to the strange aspect-ratio thing, at one point, about a half hour or so into the movie (just when Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel are hitting the brothel), it just cut out. And the lights went up. I started having flashbacks, back to last December, when about 2/3 of the way through The Pursuit of Happyness, the print was suddenly backwards and upside-down. After about an hour or so of sitting around, we got to watch the last part. Fortunately, though, we didn’t have to wait a whole hour this time—but we did get to sit and chat for a while before seeing the rest of the movie.

And it was more of the same today. When I was on the way to the screening, I got a call from David, who told me that the parking lot was already full, and he was driving around the streets, trying to find a spot. Now, it’s bad enough when there aren’t any spots left in the lot, but that happens often, since there are only about 20 spots to begin with. But now they’re doing work on the streets around the theater, too, so the street spots aren’t available, either. It means that we have to walk three or four blocks from our car to the theater. I’m all for exercise and all (and I realize that I should probably get a little more of it), but I really don’t want it forced upon me—especially not when I was running a bit behind to begin with, and it’s only ten minutes until the screening’s supposed to start. It’s a good thing morning screenings never start on time—because I still had enough time to down a cookie and grab some coffee before the screening started.

Today was Across the Universe, the Julie Taymor movie with all the Beatles songs. Now, if you were to think of the worst thing that could go wrong during a screening of a musical, what would that be? If you guessed “sound problems,” you’d be right—and that’s exactly what we got. At one point, most likely at the beginning of a new reel, the sound went all weird. Remember back in the days of cassette tapes, when the sound would go all wonky right before the player ate the tape? That’s what it sounded like—for about a third of the movie. Once the first wonky song began, Jason quipped, “Are they singing under water?” But that’s exactly what it sounded like. One of the guys even got up to complain, but it didn’t do any good. It was seriously annoying—and it caused much grumbling from the crowd of critics. For me, the worst of it was that it destroyed Bono’s song. And I love Bono. Screwing with Bono is just not right.

Okay. So clearly this week wasn’t the best of weeks for screenings. But hey—you win some, you lose some. I’m just going to cross my fingers and hope that next week is good enough to make up for this week.

Stay tuned to find out…

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Friday, September 07, 2007

What Day Is It, Anyway?

New at Since Last Time:
3:10 to Yuma

This whole holiday weekend thing always throws me off—and I’ve spent the whole week trying to figure out what day it is. But my planner tells me it’s Friday, so I’ll run with that.

This week was a short one, but we still managed to squeeze in three screenings. Tuesday night was another late-night screening. Those 9:00 screenings tend to be ridiculously exhausting, but what can I do? There was no other way to see Shoot ‘Em Up, and I absolutely love Clive Owen, so there was no way in heck I was skipping it.

Then again, my husband was away on business this week, which means that my schedule was way off anyway. I worked until 6:30, at which time I ran to the grocery store to pick up some husband’s-out-of-town necessities (microwave dinners and a pint of coffee Haagen-Dazs) before inhaling a Lean Cuisine pizza and some ice cream in front of the TV before racing out to the screening at 8.

I didn’t know what to expect from Shoot ‘Em Up, since Colin (a.k.a. McLovin) told me a few weeks ago that he didn’t like it. And that says a lot, coming from a guy who will admit to having a man crush on Clive Owen. But, having seen it, I have no idea what Colin didn’t like about it. In fact, it seems like it’s right up his alley—but hey, what do I know?

From the first shot of the movie—the close-up of dark, serious, tough-guy Owen…taking a big ol’ bite out of a carrot—I couldn’t help but love it. Sure, it’s unnecessarily violent, but that’s just part of the fun—that, and its all-out B-movie campiness. As I pointed out after the screening, it was like Crank—only good. It was definitely worth the late-night screening.

As soon as I got in the car, I scribbled down some notes. When I got home, I mixed myself a drink and prepared to write my review. Sure, it was late, but my husband was gone, so I had no reason to get to bed on time—because no one would be pulling my ass out of bed at 7. I had the best of intentions. I was going to crank out a draft and head to bed. But I ended up staring at my computer screen for an hour or two before giving up and calling it a night.

Though I’d set my alarm for 8:30, I woke up at 7:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep. So much for getting my 7 hours. For a while, I refused to get up. It wasn’t fair. But I couldn’t sleep, so I crawled out of bed, took a shower, and started brewing up the coffee.

I spent most of my day staring at my Shoot ‘Em Up review (or at least a blank screen that was supposed to be my Shoot ‘Em Up review (I did, however, have the movie’s title neatly typed in at the top of the page). There was, however, one nice thing about not being able to write my Shoot ‘Em Up review—while I was unable to write that particular review, I did manage to finish a book review that I’d been unable to write for the past week. So there’s that.

By the time I had to leave for Wednesday night’s screening, I still had little more than a few scribbles.

Wednesday night’s screening was The Brothers Solomon—a movie that we knew would be best after a few drinks. Fortunately, the movie was screening on campus, so we decided to meet up for happy hour before the screening. We were supposed to show up at 5:30, but I figured I’d leave a little early, so I could get a good table on the balcony. It’s a good thing I left as early as I did, though, because I ended up stuck in traffic. Why is it that people always decide to have accidents during rush hour? According to the sign on the highway, the accident was, conveniently, right at the exit I needed to take. So I ended up taking advantage of the fact that everyone was merging over to the left to avoid the lane closures, and I took an earlier exit. Of course, this was an exit I’d never taken before, so I’d have to figure out where I was and somehow make my way to campus.

On the bright side, I don’t live in Boston anymore. If that had happened in Boston, I would have been screwed. But this is Columbus. Columbus is based on the convenient Grid System. So if you know the direction you need to be in—and, better yet, if you know a few street names—you’re good to go.

God bless Columbus.

So I was late, but not verylate. When I got there, Jason was leisurely sipping his Coke and perusing the menu. And as soon as the waitress showed up, I wasted no time in ordering my $2 Long Island pitcher. It was hotter than Hades in a heatwave on Wednesday, but we sat outside anyway. It’s probably best that way—because it means we were alone, which means we couldn’t irritate any other customers. We could drink our pitchers in peace while trying to think of some movie—any movie—that we’re looking forward to seeing this fall. I came up with Sweeney Todd and…Sweeney Todd.

Kevin arrived after I did, but he still managed to suck down three pitchers of Long Island before we had to high tail it over to the theater. Since I had somehow forgotten to eat lunch that day, I figured one was enough for me (though I did help him out just a tiny bit with pitcher #3).

Sadly, however, no amount of alcohol could have prepared us for The Brothers Solomon. By about halfway through, I was begging Jason to kill me. By three-quarters through, I was curled up in my seat, begging the characters to shut up. Meanwhile, the guys ahead of us were busting a gut. They were laughing and stomping their feet. Clearly, they were way drunker than I was. But that’s just plain sad. Wanna know what else is sad? As Jason and I were walking into the parking garage, we heard a group of people talking about what we can only hope was some other movie. One of them said, “I’m so glad we went! So many people missed out because they thought it would be bad.”

Jason and I just looked at each other and shook our heads. It’s pretty sad that people are so starved for humor that they’ll even laugh at The Brothers Solomon. And, to name another fine example, Norbit.

Somebody did, however, get hit by a bus, so Kevin vowed to give it an extra star just for that.

There was, however, one [other] good thing about The Brothers Solomon. It was short. So I was home by about 9—early enough to take some notes before hitting the couch to watch Top Chef. Then I headed back to the office to stare at my Shoot ‘Em Up review before giving up and going to bed.

As of Thursday morning, I was officially Way Behind. My Shoot ‘Em Up review was halted at three paragraphs, and my Brothers Solomon review was nothing but notes. But I had to head out to see The 11th Hour at (you guessed it) 11. By that point in the week, I was pretty much staying alive via caffeine drip—but even that wasn’t enough to keep me coherent through Leo DiCaprio’s new Inconvenient Truth. I did manage to stay awake, but let me tell you—Leo didn’t make it easy for me. And that’s saying a lot, coming from someone who managed to stay awake through an entire semester of college astronomy.

After the screening, John and I took a walk down the road to Cosi for lunch. Since I figured I’d probably end up having nothing but coffee for lunch again on Thursday, it was a nice change. And it was the perfect day to sit outside and eat a salad.

After lunch, I spent the rest of the day in an unsuccessful attempt to finish anything. By the time I gave up at 7:30, I had a whole pile of unfinished reviews sitting on my computer. But I had laundry to do, and I was starving, so I just called it a day and went to watch a DVD or two instead.

Finally, last night, I figured out what I’m doing next week. For a while, I was planning to head to Toronto for the film festival. Then, for a while, I was thinking about ditching Toronto and heading to Dallas with my husband for a few days. Now, however, it looks like I’m going to be sticking around here, catching a bunch of screenings and getting up early on Thursday to head to the radio station.

Perhaps it was all of the indecision that was keeping me blocked—because I got up this morning, made myself some coffee, and got to work on finishing those three unfinished reviews, much to my great relief. I was tempted to take the rest of the day and just goof off to celebrate, but I still have seven others on my list of reviews that I was supposed to finish this week. Since it’s 4:00 now, I suppose I should get to work…

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Everybody Loves a Holiday. Especially Me.

New Reviews at Since Last Time:
Exiled (Fong Juk)
Death Sentence
El Cantante
Balls of Fury
September Dawn
Resurrecting the Champ

After a wonderful long weekend on the beach, I’m tanned and happy and ready to face a new week. But first, let’s talk about last week, shall we?

We started the week with a Monday night screening—which meant I got to have a Slim Fast Bar dinner in the car, as I drove from my kids’ knitting group to the theater. We were all in rare form for a Monday, though. Or maybe we were all just excited about seeing Christopher Walken. But we were laughing to the point of tears before the movie even began. It could have had something to do with the attendance of both of our favorite regulars. Hazel is the crazy old lady who claims to be press—even though no one knows her. Somehow, though, she’s figured out how to get passes to all kinds of screenings—and then she shows up early with her very own made-up press badge, to harass the reps. There’s also Chester, the homeless guy—though we’re pretty sure he’s secretly a multi-millionaire, and his scruffy look is just a cover-up. But our giddiness on Monday night also had something to do with an absolutely brilliant idea that popped into our heads as we were waiting for the movie to begin. I can’t talk about it right now, but I’ll just say it’s brilliant. Really. Just trust me on this one.

After all the giggling before the movie, we couldn’t help but giggle through the movie—even though it wasn’t nearly as funny as some of us had hoped it would be. I, however, went into it with very low expectations (I expected nothing but a little bit of Christopher Walken hilarity). So I wasn’t disappointed.

We topped off a fun night with a post-screening outing to Champp’s (a restaurant that annoys John to no end, due to the extraneous P in its name). Since I didn’t have dinner, I inhaled some chicken fingers and a beer as we celebrated Bill’s new (and much better) job. The food was good and the beer was, too, but the company was the best of all.

After Monday’s screening, we had Tuesday off. Then came Wednesday, when we once again headed to the theater to see In the Shadow of the Moon. This time, we actually got to see it—and I’ve been recommending it to pretty much everyone ever since.

Thursday was the big day of controversy—but not because of the morning’s screening. We all knew we were going to see The King of Kong. There was just no skipping the documentary about competitive arcade gaming, as it relates to the arcade classic Donkey Kong. We’d all heard great things about it—and all those great things were right. It’s pretty troubling to see how important video game championships are to the guys in the movie—but the result is absolutely hilarious (in a totally sad but really, really funny way).

Thursday night, as you may recall from last week, was the night of the Great Back-to-Back Screening Challenge. As of Monday night, Kevin, Neil, and I were still talking about doing the double-header. I told Kevin that if he could procure a getaway vehicle to pick us up at the first theater and take us to the second, I’d be in. But no such vehicle was found—and Kevin decided to do his own kind of double feature, by going to the 9:00 screening of Death Sentence before catching the midnight showing of Halloween. The rest of us decided that Kevin has clearly picked up a crack habit, and we ended up choosing one or the other.

Since I wasn’t exactly thrilled about Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween (which was screening at 7), I opted, along with David and Neil, for the 9:00 Death Sentence screening. I read a few of the guys’ reviews of Halloween today, and it’s pretty obvious that I didn’t miss anything there—but the payoff wasn’t all that great. Instead of skipping a really bad movie for a really good movie, I ended up skipping a really bad movie for a stupid movie. I got to see Kevin Bacon running like Mr. Bean. I got to see a totally unbelievable story and some painfully bad acting. On the bright side, I did not get to see Kevin Bacon’s butt. And I got to laugh quite a little bit. But when it was over, I just looked at David and said, “I am way too dedicated to my job.”

After the screening, we decided that we, the members of COFCA, really do need to get matching flasks, engraved with our logo. Does anybody know where we can get good (and cheap) customized flasks? Anybody?

Fortunately, there weren’t any screenings scheduled for Friday morning—because I had more than enough to keep me busy. Though I had every intention of staying up on Thursday night to crank out my review, it was nearly midnight by the time I got home, and I was tired, darnit. So I got up on Friday morning to write two movie reviews and edit a few book reviews (all of which had to be done before I left—because they were scheduled for publication over the weekend) before throwing some shorts and T-shirts and swimsuits into a bag and heading out the door for my parents’ cottage.

The weekend away was just what I needed. It was hot and sunny, and I spent the weekend either (a) eating, (b) in a chair on the beach, my face in a book, or (c) eating some more.

Fortunately, this week’s screening schedule isn’t an especially demanding one—so I may stay somewhat relaxed for part of the week. We do, however, have another 9:00 screening tonight, so I’d better load up on caffeinated beverages. And, while I’m at it, I think I’ll do a little flask shopping…

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