Friday, February 15, 2008

Snowstorms and Cancellations

New at Since Last Week:
Definitely, Maybe
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Fool’s Gold

It’s been another crazy week here in movieland. Screening-wise, though, only the beginning of the week was crazy. It started bright and early on Monday morning—and you all know by now how much I do love a Monday morning screening. They always make my Mondays so…frantic.

As soon as I got to my desk on Monday morning, I had to get right to work on one of the site’s weekly newsletters. On Thursday, I send out the Weekend Reminder, but on Monday, I send out a newsletter to my contributors. As with everything else, it seems to take more and more time every week. So there was that. There was also the fact that I hadn’t finished a review that I had scheduled for publication that afternoon. So, needless to say, I was scrambling. I ran out the door to the screening about 10 minutes later than I would have liked, and by the time I got to the theater, I was totally frazzled. And it was only 11:00.

The screening was for Jumper, which was a bit of a big deal because it was Fox—and they were allowing us to see something earlier than the night before release. It was also a bit of a big deal because it was Doug Liman, and we were looking forward to seeing it.

The screening was pretty high security. We’d gotten an email on Friday, telling us that we were each allowed to bring one guest. When we got there, there were separate sign-in sheets for critics and guests. And our favorite security guys were there, reminding us to turn off our phones. They had metal detectors and stuff, too, but they rarely use those during the day.

Our usual spot was pretty packed for the screening—thanks to guests and all. And I suppose it was only fitting that, for Take Your Friend to a Screening Day, we had to deal with the regular screening mishaps. Even more so this time, actually. Apparently, the people running the projector had never actually seen a projector before. There were all kinds of aspect ratios attempted—aspect ratios that I’ve never actually seen before. There were little tiny squares and big, stretched out, vertical rectangles. Sometimes, they projected on the floor, sometimes on the ceiling. Fortunately, they got it figured out before we were too far into the movie, but we did miss all of the trailer for the new M. Night Shyamalamadingdong movie.

The trailer itself (despite the fact that we only saw parts of it, and in strange proportions) was quite exciting. Because as soon as it was over, David and I looked at each other and said, “Laser tag!”

You see, after I saw Lady in the Water (on the same night that David ended up at a screening of My Super Ex-Girlfriend), I was so angry that I begged David to save me from future Shyamalan movies. Because I fall for them every time. I keep falling for his shameless self-promotion and his undying self-love. And I keep seeing his movies, thinking that it’s going to be something brilliant—only for it to end up being…Lady in the Water. When I saw the last one, I was even tired, sore, and heavily medicated, having just broken my rib. It took real effort to get to the theater. And I was repaid for my efforts by having to sit through Lady in the Water. It was a cruel, cruel joke. So, after that, David promised that he wouldn’t let it happen to me again. So we agreed that, on the night of the next M. Night Shyamalan movie, we’d go out and play laser tag instead. We’ve since discussed other options—such as go-karting or bowling. But, needless to say, we’ll be doing something other than attending the screening.

As my fellow blogger friends would say, “Woot!”

Anyway…after the screening, I high-tailed it out of the theater (mostly because I’d been given a medium Diet Coke instead of the small that I asked for, and I was in serious need of a bathroom). There wasn’t a whole lot of chatting for me—because I had to rush back to the office to get back to work. I’d had an hour and a half to work before the screening, and I would have just a little bit more than that before I had to run out the door to my knitting group. When Miss A showed up to start knitting, I was still scribbling notes from the morning’s screening—so I wouldn’t forget anything before I had to go to that night’s screening.

Once again, I got out of knitting early—and I had an hour and a half to kill before I had to head out to the next screening. I though about heading home for a bit, but it seemed like a waste of time and mileage—especially since my husband was in physical therapy. So I headed back to Wendy’s again.

I’m thinking I’m going to have to find a new place to hang out before Monday evening screenings—because my regular Wendy’s is just a little bit scary. Sure, there were a few normal-looking people there—most of them dining alone, like me. There was the old lady who sat down to read in the exact, same booth as last week. There were a couple of college kids. And then there was some crazy homeless guy. And there was another guy who was dining by himself—but who, from time to time, would randomly burst out in the most terrifying laugh I’ve ever heard. At one point, he just went off in this conversation about (I believe) someone who’d gotten his hands on a bunch of guns. The interesting thing is that I don’t think he had a cell phone. After I finished taking a few more notes and writing a review or two, I quietly made my way out the door—hoping that I’d be able to walk out with my life. The crazy guy shrieked something as I left. I didn’t understand, but I wasn’t about to turn around and say, “I’m sorry, were you speaking to me, crazy man?” Instead, I hurried out and spent a few minutes in someplace much more refined. And safe. Barnes and Noble.

I didn’t have long to hang out at B&N, though—because I had to get to the Definitely, Maybe screening. Before it started, we were all still talking about our new favorite critic folklore—last week’s big Roscoe Jenkins brawl. Really, this stuff never gets old.

After the screening, we compared notes on the rest of the week. There was a Tuesday morning screening scheduled for Francis Ford Coppola’s Youth Without Youth, which I would have seen had it screened in December. Now, however, I was four movie reviews behind (let’s not even talk about the books and CDs), and I’d heard bad things about the movie—so I figured I’d skip it. Tuesday night was Step Up 2 the Streets, and I figured my publication schedule was already full enough, and I could do without another dancing movie. That just left Thursday night—the screening for the eagerly anticipated Be Kind, Rewind. There was a bit of confusion over the whole thing, but most of us had it down for Thursday night—so we were all planning on it.

When we’d finished our post-screening note-comparing, we left the theater to find the entire parking lot covered in white stuff. My husband had warned me that we were supposed to be dumped on, so I was prepared for it. I figured we’d just get a little bit and be done with it. As it turned out, though, we got more than a little bit. It was cold and blowing, and it was so bad that my husband’s office was closed on Tuesday. So that just confirmed my decision not to see Youth Without Youth.

On Tuesday morning, I checked my email and found one from David, pointing out that Thursday’s Be Kind, Rewind screening had been dropped from our schedule. That had happened before—when they pushed the release date back. But I checked my schedule, and he was right. It wasn’t there. After checking with the rep, David confirmed that the screening had, in fact, been cancelled. Apparently, New Line had cancelled a whole bunch of their screenings around the country.

There are usually certain kinds of movies that don’t screen. Horror movies, in general, don’t screen—because it’s probably best to keep the critics away. Other generally crappy movies don’t tend to screen—movies like Strange Wilderness, which, again, it’s probably just best to keep away from the critics. Larry the Cable Guy movies, in general, don’t screen (but they do promote—more on that later). There are other movies that don’t screen, too. Snakes on a Plane didn’t screen for press—because the studio figured they had so much Internet buzz that they didn’t need the extra press (and we all know how that worked out for them). There are all kinds of reasons. But there’s no reason why Be Kind, Rewind wouldn’t screen. It’s one of those movies that could probably use the extra press—and, since it’s one we’d actually been looking forward to seeing (and we’d already heard great things about it from Neil, who saw it at Sundance), it was pretty likely to get some good press.

When Neil heard about the whole thing, he was not happy. From his seat at Panera (where he’d stopped to rest up after missing the Youth Without Youth screening, due to horrible roads), Neil (who was angry from having missed the screening and a bit cranky from not having eaten breakfast yet) wrote about it. The response was an interesting email from a vice-president of something at the theater, who claimed that they hadn’t cancelled screenings at all—and, to prove his point, he included a list of all the cities where they’d screened it (or were going to screen it). The funny thing, however, was that Columbus was on the list—which, obviously, isn’t completely accurate. Sure, we’d had a screening scheduled, but it had been taken away. And we’re all pretty bummed about it.

But, I guess, on the bright side, it meant that we all got to take Valentine’s night off.

And…speaking of Valentine’s Day…the DHL guy stopped by to deliver a package on Thursday. I’d been expecting a DVD, so I wasn’t surprised to see him. I was, however, surprised to see two packages waiting by the door for me. I ripped open the non-DVD one first, curious as to what it might be. Inside, there was a Valentine’s Day card. From Larry the Cable Guy. No, really. I got a Valentine’s Day card from Larry the Cable Guy to promote Witless Protection. And then I got a migraine.

As David once said, if you want to send stuff to film critics to promote your movie, send booze. Do not send pillows with Ben Stiller’s face on them—or Valentine’s Day cards from Larry the Cable Guy. They will be entirely lost on us. In fact, they’ll most likely make us angry. Happy Valentine’s Day. Blech.

Next week, we kick it into high gear again—with three morning screenings. So I’ll be spending the weekend polishing off my travel coffee mug.

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