Friday, December 07, 2007


New at Since Last Week:
The Golden Compass

As I’ve mentioned before, last December was pure insanity. Screenings day and night. We all lived on coffee and donuts. And then, after it was all over and I finally had the time to sit and relax, I got ridiculously sick.

This year, however, things are different—to the point that it’s a little bit creepy.

Believe it or not, I only went to one screening this week. Yeah, it’s December, and I only had one screening. It feels wrong.

Anyway…the one screening of the week was on Monday night. The whole thing was a bit of a scheduling disaster, since my knitting group meets from 4-6 and the screening was starting at 7 on the other side of town. I was also hoping to make it to my husband’s office to pick him up before I left for the screening. All of this is, technically, impossible. So I showed up for knitting at 4, hoping that nobody would show up. I know that’s probably mean of me, since I love the kids and all—but, well, sometimes I just don’t have time. Fortunately, though, the screening gods were smiling down upon me. I paced around for 25 minutes, and no one showed up—so I hit the road. I had just enough time to pick up my husband, drive him back home so he could change, heat up some leftovers, shovel down dinner, and hit the road.

By the time we got to the theater—at about 6:15—they were already letting people in. Normally, they wait until a half hour before the show—which gives the rest of us plenty of time to get in and get our seats before the general public starts showing up and ripping the “Reserved for Press” signs off the seats they want. Fortunately, though, Jason and Bill were already there, saving seats for the rest of us. We hadn’t seen Bill in forever, so it was nice that he decided to grace us with his presence again. Obviously, he’d been suffering from withdrawal—and, in his absence, his taste had suffered, since he spent the evening talking about how much he hated Juno.

As we were sitting around, waiting for The Golden Compass to begin, Jason and I discussed how very strange December was turning out to be. And, despite all the insanity of last December, we both admitted that we missed it. We missed those morning screenings at The Theater Everyone Loves. And even though they don’t give us free coffee, there was always someone willing to pick up donuts at Tim Horton’s before the show, and that made it fun. We hung out together pretty much every day, comparing notes on all the December movies that were supposed to be good but weren’t. We were all exhausted and strung out, but at least we had each other.

This year, however, we’re very, very alone. One reason is that there just aren’t that many movies coming out right now. Last weekend, only Awake was in wide release, and it didn’t even screen. This weekend, it’s just The Golden Compass, as well as a couple of others in limited release. The next three weeks, however, are when things start coming out (which means that the next couple of weeks will be a whole lot busier—though still nothing compared to last year). Another reason, though, is that we’ve been getting piles and piles of screener DVDs, which means that it’s not as necessary to drive out to the screening. In fact, if I hadn’t had so many screeners, I would have had to leave the house for three more screenings this week.

Just for the record, we all agreed that The Golden Compass wasn’t worth the hype. Jason and I kept giggling about the strange little discrepancies, and I pretty much stopped caring about the whole thing about a half hour in. My favorite part was the end, when, upon seeing the credits, one woman in the front of the theater shrieked, “WHAT?!” As we were making our way out, I did some eavesdropping on people who had read the book and were seriously pissed off about the movie. Basically, it looks neat, but it’s just a bunch of blah, blah, blah.

Though it was another slow week for screenings, this week was quite a week for award screeners. On Monday alone, I got six—half of which were for movies that I hadn’t already seen. Three more arrived on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we were hit with a snowstorm, which meant that I was overjoyed when another screener showed up—a screener for Atonement, which was scheduled to screen on the other side of town on Thursday morning.

On Thursday morning, after the snow had stopped, I made a point of spreading the front steps with ice melt. The UPS and FedEx guys have been stopping by so much lately that I wanted to be welcoming.

At 11:00—while some of my colleagues were, presumably, waiting for their screening of Atonement to begin—I began mine in the comfort of my own living room. I had a cup of coffee in hand, my notebook at my side, and my favorite blue afghan on my lap. Sure, there weren’t any scones, and I didn’t have the usual gang of yahoos to compare notes with after the screening. But it was pretty nice nonetheless. And I didn’t have to spend the extra time (and gas) driving to the other side of town. I even got to pause the screening at noon, long enough to make myself lunch.

I’m thinking, though, that I’ll have to spend the next year working on setting up a home theater in the basement. That way, I’ll be able to host my very own screenings next December. I’ll be able to enjoy screenings with my coffee and my afghan and all my favorite yahoos.

The strange thing about Thursday, though, was that I went a whole day without a single visit from a delivery guy. Despite the fact that I have a giant pile of screeners waiting to be watched—as well as a bunch of other screenings coming up—that made me sad. I felt lonely and neglected. I may have even pouted a bit as I watched the UPS guy and the FedEx guy speed past my window. I know it’s silly—especially since the last thing I need is another screener on top of the pile of nine that I still need to watch—but when you get used to running to the door once or twice a day to see what bounty the delivery guy has bestowed upon you, it sucks just a little bit when you have a day without a single delivery.

Fortunately, though, I got a visit from the UPS guy today, while I was grabbing some lunch. He didn’t deliver an award screener, mind you—but it was a DVD nonetheless. Add that to the pile….

Next week, things start to pick up a little bit. Everybody’s psyched for Tuesday, when we get to see I Am Legend—which we’ve pretty much been looking forward to seeing since September. We’re all pretty excited for There Will Be Blood, too, which screens later in the week. After that comes Sweeney Todd (which I’ve been looking forward to seeing since about March) and a pile of others. So I’m hoping we’ll have some good screenings between now and Christmas. Ho ho ho!

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