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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