Friday, January 11, 2008

January Continues: Nominations and Awards and Parties and Bad Movies

New at Since Last Week:
First Sunday
The Kite Runner

Last night was the annual COFCA awards dinner, which unofficially marks the end of the awards insanity for another 10 months or so. If you want to check out the results, I posted the press release below.

I tend to forget that my busy season doesn’t really end with the last screening before the holidays. Over the holidays, I try to catch up on screeners and start making my lists. That continues right up until COFCA nominations are due (this year, I got mine in a whole 25 hours early, sending them in at 11 p.m. last Friday). Then comes voting (which ended on Wednesday night), followed by the awards party.

It wasn’t over then, either. I’d been so busy agonizing over my picks for the best of everything that I procrastinated on my picks for the worst of everything. But GAG award nominations are due today—so I sat down this morning and flipped through my lists until my nomination ballot was filled in. I got my GAG nominations sent in a whole eight hours before the deadline. Voting for that starts next week—so I guess I’m not completely out of the awards season fog yet, after all.

I have, however, made my picks. It was another tough one this year—even tougher than last year. As I trudged through the lists, checking and rechecking my notes from the year, my despair led me to create these T-shirts—because, after a while, I felt like I was just a cranky critic, unsatisfied with everything. If you share my despair, order a shirt. If you’d like to check out my thoughts on the movies of 2007, check out this year’s movie recap: “Movies 2007: Did I Miss Something?

Meanwhile, the January Blahs continue—and I’ve already begun creating a list of possible nominations for next year’s GAG awards.

On Tuesday, we gathered at the usual theater for a screening of 27 Dresses. Though it was supposed to be released this weekend, it was postponed a week, for some strange reason, putting it up against Mad Money and Cloverfield next weekend. But since I’m a week ahead of the release date, I can’t really say too much about the movie. The whole screening experience in general was pretty subdued, too—other than the post-screening re-hashing of our award nominations. At this time of year, critics tend to get a little feisty, taking sides and making bold statements. On Tuesday night, Bill remained solo in his I Hate Juno Club. Jason gave another “Why I Totally Hated Into the Wild” speech (which are always highly entertaining). And Bill and I are both proud members of the The Orphanage Scared the Crap Out of Me Club.

The real excitement of the week, however, came on Wednesday, when we headed to The Theater With the Balcony for a screening of First Sunday. It takes a very strong critic to tackle both an Ice Cube/Tracy Morgan movie and the Balcony Brigade—and only a few of us were up for the challenge.

As it turned out, getting there was part of the challenge. That night, the Dancing with the Stars tour was in town, and the worst drivers in the state were out in full force, making left turns from the right lane, making right turns from the left lane, and generally having no clue where they were going. But, fortunately, I did eventually make it. When I got there, the crowd was already lined up around the corner, and Bill and Kevin were waiting inside. We headed straight for the balcony, where a security guard did a very good job of trying to keep us out—until he found out that it really was okay. I was pretty proud of the security guard, though—sticking to his guns and all. Perhaps that would mean that he’d also throw people out for playing with their cell phones and blinding people during the movie.

Once we made it to the balcony, we chose the front row—where we figured that at least we wouldn’t have to deal with loud, obnoxious Balcony Brigade members in front of us. Shortly thereafter, the crowd started filling in. As usual, it was a crazy crowd—so crazy that we had to yell at each other in order to have a conversation. And when the giveaways began, it got even worse. Once again, Team Balcony backed one another up—and the demands for equal treatment/prizing eventually turned into personal attacks on the poor guy who was half-heartedly acting as host. There was much yelling. If there’s one thing that can be said for the Balcony Brigade, it’s that they’re loud. So loud, in fact, that nobody paid any attention to the poor security guy’s warnings. So loud that when the first trailer started—and it was totally blurry—the whole place erupted in shouts and boos. Really. It was crazy.

What’s crazier, though, is that the movie was even more obnoxious than the crowd. After listening to the crowd bickering for 45 minutes before the movie started, the last thing I wanted was an hour and a half of characters bickering on-screen. But that’s what I got.

As we walked out of the theater, Kevin just turned to us and said, “Well, welcome to January.”

Next week marks the release of the highly-anticipated, over-hyped geek-fest, Cloverfield. The closer it gets, the more concerned I get. But we’ll all be there to see it—and we’ll most likely be there early for a few preparatory happy hour drinks. Of course, the whole hand-held-camera thing mixed with alcohol probably isn’t the best idea, but I’m willing to give it a shot. I’ll have to remember to bring my barf bag.

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