Friday, February 08, 2008

…In Which I Miss Out on All the Fun

New at Since Last Week:
Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show

Every once in a while, things get exciting at screenings (as they did at December’s I Am Legend screening). But this week, I missed out on all the fun.

This week’s schedule started with a super-early screening of Will Ferrell’s new movie, Semi-Pro, on Monday night. Will was going to be in town this week for a comedy show, and a bunch of people were interviewing him, so we got to see the movie more than three weeks before its release.

I got out of knitting early on Monday night, so I had an extra hour to kill before I needed to leave for the theater. I could have gone home for a few minutes, but I decided just to head to the general vicinity of the theater instead and grab some dinner at the friendly neighborhood Wendy’s. It was a quiet night at Wendy’s, and it appeared to be ‘80s night on the Wendy’s Radio Network—so it was the perfect place to hang out for a while, get a little work done, do some reading, and kill some time (while singing along with such greats as George Michael and, I think, Wang Chung). Wheee! That, mixed with some food I probably shouldn’t eat (or at least that’s what John would tell me), had me in a pretty good mood by the time I got to the theater.

Since we were there for a super-early screening, we were in a tiny theater, which felt like one big family reunion. Though the theater was topped up with non-press, we took over much of the theater, which meant there was plenty of wandering around and chatting before the movie began. Colin brought a few left-over McLovin T-shirts (which, just for the record, I was thrilled about—and I’ll wear it with pride), and he filled John and me in on a college screening of Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins that he’d attended. He warned us that it was absolutely horrible—in fact, he couldn’t stop talking about how horrible it was. And that made me consider skipping the Tuesday night screening.

Not long before the screening was going to start, Neil arrived with his roommate, Richard (AKA Richard the Producer from Fat Guys at the Movies). We hadn’t seen Neil since Sundance, so he had plenty of stories. In fact, I don’t think I’d seen him at a single screening all year. So we had all kinds of catching up to do. Like I said…family reunion.

Since it was such an early screening and all, apparently they hadn’t worked out the glitches with the print—like the fact that we didn’t have any sound in the beginning. So Jason sang the opening jingles for us. He’s thoughtful like that.

It also seems as though we may have had the same cell-phone-obsessed security guy for this screening as the one we had last week. Usually, when a security guy is cell-phone-obsessed, it means that he harasses anyone who might have a cell phone on. And that’s a good thing. This guy, however, actually keeps his on. Last week, he was chatting on his phone during the screening. This week, I think his phone actually rang during the screening. Apparently, it’s okay for him to have his phone on during the screening—but not anybody else.

On Tuesday morning, we were all (well, some) back together again for a screening of Persepolis, which we’re still bitter that we didn’t see during awards season. Despite the fact that I still hate driving to the other side of town for morning screenings, it was kinda nice to be back. Not only that, but they’d baked fresh chocolate chip cookies for the occasion, and they were still warm and gooey. So there were no complaints from me this time around. Of course, it meant sitting down in seats that lost their padding sometime around 1982. But, well…there were fresh cookies—and that makes it okay.

After screenings on Monday night and Tuesday morning, I wasn’t exactly eager to go to another screening on Tuesday night—especially not for Roscoe Jenkins, which Colin had warned us about. Not only that, but we had another screening on Wednesday night—and I had a meeting scheduled for Thursday night. So I figured I’d take a night off. And, from what I’ve heard about the movie, I didn’t miss much there. I did, however, miss out on all the excitement.

During the usual barrage of emails on Wednesday afternoon, I found out that there had been an, um, altercation at the screening. So when I got to the Fool’s Gold screening on Wednesday night, I was eager to have Jason fill me in.

I had already heard that the screening was packed—because I’d given an extra pass to a guy from my husband’s office, and he didn’t end up getting in. So things were already a little tense. But that’s only the beginning. Jason and Bill had gotten there early and were saving seats for the rest of the gang. Jason had his coat on the press seat beside him to reserve it for someone. Suddenly, his coat was tossed on his lap, and some guy sat down in the seat he’d been saving.

“Excuse me…” Jason said to the man beside him. “You didn’t have to throw my coat on the floor.”

“I didn’t throw it on the floor,” the guy huffed. “I threw it on your lap.”

The two of them then got into a discussion about whether or not the other guy (who was not press) could sit down in a seat that was both (a) reserved for press and (b) being saved for someone. He was pretty sure that he could sit wherever the heck he wanted. There were words exchanged, after which the guy ended up mimicking Jason like a four-year-old.

Eventually, Molly, the rep, showed up to try to find more press seats—because they were running low—and told the guy that he was going to have to move. He told her that he could sit wherever he wanted, and she couldn’t tell him what to do. Molly explained to him that she could, in fact, do whatever she wanted to. And he could either find another seat or she could throw him out. In hearing about the exchange, I suddenly gained a whole new respect for Molly.

In the end, the obnoxious guy somehow managed to keep his seat—which seriously irritated everyone else. But the incident is sure to become Critic Folklore (along with the crazy I Am Legend screening and our screening of The Pursuit of Happyness, when we had to stop in the middle and wait an hour for the projectionist to finagle the print—clearly Will Smith movies are unlucky for us). It’s one of those stories that we’ll tell and retell for years to come. We’ll share it with young critics who someday join our merry band. We’ll tell the story so many times that the youngsters will start to wonder if the senile old folks just made it all up. It’ll go down in Critic History. And, sadly, I wasn’t even there to see it.

It did, however, make the screening of Fool’s Gold more entertaining. Because Jason’s story was the most entertaining part of the night. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one who thought so—because I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people blatantly playing with their cell phones during a movie (except, perhaps, during Happily N’Ever After, the longest 75-minute movie ever made).

Now, after all those screenings, I’m trying to get caught up on my reviews—after which I’ll dive into some of the DVDs that have started piling up on the coffee table again. And then I’ll write more reviews. And then I’ll start all over again on Monday—when we’ve got a morning screening and an evening screening. There’s just no better way to start the week off at a ridiculously frantic pace than with two Monday screenings.

I’m going to have to make sure that I stock up on coffee over the weekend…

In other news, the official invitations for the Cleveland International Film Festival Columbus Preview went out this week. I couldn’t find the information on CIFF’s site, but, as I said before, it’s Monday, the 25th, from 5:30 to 7:30. There will be munchies and prizes and things—so mark your calendars now.

Oh, and by the way…Clay wants everyone to know that what I said about him and John and their harem in last week’s post is totally untrue—but I’m pretty sure he’s just worried that I might have scared prospective harem members away.

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