Friday, March 07, 2008

Burnt. Out.

New at Since Last Time:
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
The Other Boleyn Girl
Be Kind, Rewind
In Bruges
Vantage Point

This is a really difficult time of year for film critics. For the last two months, we’ve been sitting through all kinds of mediocre movies. Every once in a while, we walk into the theater with a slight sense of hope (sometimes even eagerness), only to walk out two hours later feeling horribly disappointed. Then we walk out of the theater into the cold, gray Midwestern afternoon. Fortunately, though, there have been a few pleasant surprises (like Penelope) and a few movies that have lived up to our expectations (like In Bruges). Sometimes, we get to really, really hate a movie, which spices things up a bit. But, mostly, when we’re asked what we thought about a movie, we tend to shrug just a little bit and say, “Eh.” The movies have been about as dull as the weather. I can imagine that the film critic suicide rate must be pretty high this time of year.

This week has actually been a busy week for screenings. It started out on Monday morning again, with the American remake of Funny Games. But it wasn’t funny at all. Or at least the movie wasn’t funny—but my fellow critics’ reactions to it were. On one side of me, David groaned. On the other, Jason heckled. In front of me, Kevin threw up his hands in frustration. And, elsewhere in the theater, John giggled. David was so angry that he almost threw the remainders of his morning soda at the screen (and I’m looking forward to reading his review—since I believe he may have threatened the director with bodily harm).

While we were standing at the theater on Monday morning, waiting for the screening to begin, we got an email about a screening of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day that had been scheduled for Tuesday morning. But as I was getting ready to leave on Tuesday morning, I got a call from David, telling me that he’d gotten a call that the screening had been postponed. The print hadn’t arrived at the theater yet, and they’d let us know when it showed up. I quickly called John, who had just gotten into his car.

Considering that I was scheduled to appear on It’s Movie Time this week—and the Tuesday morning screening of Miss Pettigrew was the only screening of this week’s movies that was early enough to make it onto this week’s show—I was pretty disappointed that the screening had been postponed. But, on the other hand, I was thrilled that they’d called to let us know. That’s never happened before. Usually, if the print doesn’t show up, one or two people get a call, and the rest of us end up driving out to the theater anyway. So, in the grand scheme of things, I really didn’t care about the whole print-not-showing-up thing. I was just relieved that I found out about it before I ended up going on a very long and pointless roadtrip.

After a series of phone calls and emails on Tuesday, we ended up having the screening rescheduled for both Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. I chose to go for the Tuesday afternoon screening, even though it meant I’d have to drive home in rush-hour traffic like all those people who work in all those office buildings in the city. I didn’t really mind—I just wanted to get it over with. And besides, we already had a screening scheduled for Wednesday night—and if I can avoid having to go to two screenings in one day, you can bet I will.

On Wednesday morning, I spent the entire morning agonizing over this week’s It’s Movie Time reviews. You see, another one of the frustrating things about this “movie wasteland” part of the year is that, after a couple of months, you run out of things to say. You become numb. You can no longer come up with words for “eh.” So it took longer than usual. But it had to be done, so I hunkered down and put something together.

At night, we had two screenings to choose from: 10,000 B.C. or College Road Trip. Ever since I’d seen the first trailer for College Road Trip, I’d been dreading it just a little bit. And ever since I’d seen the first trailer for 10,000 B.C., I’d been morbidly curious. And though Kevin really kinda wanted me to see College Road Trip, since I was also doing Fat Guys at the Movies this week, and since he was seeing 10,000 B.C., I left the decision up to my husband. Since he goes to one movie a week—and he had Wednesday night free—I figured I’d like him choose. So when I asked if he wanted to see College Road Trip or 10,000 B.C., he responded with, “Well, I could see 10,000 B.C., or I could just stay home.” So 10,000 B.C. it was. And, to be honest, I was relieved.

Now that I’ve seen 10,000 B.C., though, I kinda wish I’d gone with College Road Trip. At least I knew what to expect. With 10,000 B.C., I was thinking that it could actually be good—despite the whole cavemen-speaking-English thing. But it was low on action and high on [unintentional] comedy. Sure, it was entertaining—but not necessarily in a good way. But at least the two infants in the front of the theater who spent the entire movie babbling loudly seemed to have enjoyed it. So there’s that.

After the screening on Wednesday night, I rushed home to try to get to bed early—because Thursday promised to be the longest day of my life. Let’s break it down minute-by-minute, shall we?

6:45: Alarm goes off. I stumble off to the shower.

7:45: Husband leaves for work. I try to squeeze in a few minutes of work while printing off It’s Movie Time stuff.

8:00: Leave for WCBE. Get stuck in traffic, due to accident on highway.

8:40: Arrive at station (10 minutes late). John, of course, is already there. Rehearse the show, only to find that we’re way under our time allotment for the week. Scramble to beef things up a bit.

9:00: Head into the studio. Try one take, which is much too short, followed by a second take that we forget to record. Manage to record the third take, which I’m not thrilled with, but I figure it’ll do. Begin producing show.

10:30: Realize that, in order to produce the full five-minute show, we’ll end up using 20 seconds of music. It’s acceptable and all, but John and I are pretty picky. So we decide to save what we’ve got and try one more take.

11:50: Take four actually turns out really well, and John and I produce the show, agreeing that we totally lucked out. As we’re leaving the station, we start talking about the 30-second N& promo that Kevin wanted me to do for Fat Guys. John starts making up a great script, and we run back into the studio to record again.

12:20: Finally head out of the studio again—with a finished show and a saved N& promo.

1:00: Get back to the office and eat lunch while checking email. Try to decide between taking a nap and getting coffee. Decide that there’s no time for a nap. Choose coffee.

2:15: Head to Tim Horton’s, where I order a medium iced coffee and sit down at the sunny table by the window to try to write up my review of 10,000 B.C. End up writing, “Holy crap, I’m burnt out. I can’t seem to write a coherent thought. This week, I hate movies, and I don’t feel like writing about them, but I have to anyway.” Put review aside and decide to work on something else instead. Do some editing. Flip through film festival guide.

3:30: Head back to the office to work on 10,000 B.C. review (for real this time). Actually get something written.

5:15: Make myself some dinner and sit down in front of the TV to watch last night’s episode of America’s Next Top Model. Get through the makeover part and the photoshoot and have to turn it off to get ready for screening.

6:30: Leave for The Bank Job screening. Meet up with the gang. Shake our heads while talking about the movies we’ve seen this week.

9:45: Get out of screening and head home for a few minutes to caffeinate.

10:30: Get the call that Kevin’s on his way to the Magical Studio in the Sky. Say good-night to husband and head out the door again.

10:45: Arrive at studio and try to set up for the show. Discover that Neil’s the one who knows where everything is. Neil is in Austin for SXSW, and he’s not answering his phone. Crawl around on the floor, trying to find cables and things.

11:59: Finally ready to start recording show. I’ve been drinking Diet Coke for about two hours straight, and I now feel a terrible urge to belch. Probably, that would be okay on Fat Guys at the Movies, but I refrain anyway. After all, I’m a girl, and my mom told me that girls don’t burp. I’m also fighting the urge to slip into a coma.

1-something: Finally finish recording the show. Have been up for what feels like three days. No longer coherent. Not entirely sure of what I said on the show. Am hoping that Kevin will just edit me out. Play back part of the show on chipmunk speed. Start clearing up the studio. Or at least Kevin does. I mostly just stare blankly into nowhere.

2:30: Head home from the studio. By the time I get there, I’m shaking like a strung-out junkie. Am exhausted and over-caffeinated but strangely wide awake.

3:00ish: Climb into bed, consider sleeping through Friday.

Clearly, after all this movie-wasteland burnout, I’m desperately in need of a film festival. Fortunately, the Cleveland Film Festival is under way (Clay’s there right now, in fact). I’ve already printed out copies of the schedule, which I’ve been agonizing over for weeks. The choices are phenomenal this year—which is a good thing and a bad thing. On one hand, it means that I should be seeing all kinds of great movies next week. On the other hand, during some time slots, there are as many as three or four great movies playing at the same time—and, since I still haven’t figured out how to be in more than one place at a time, I’m going to have to make some tough decisions.

Since I’m on my own on Thursday, I’m thinking I’ll just fill up my schedule. I figure I’ll make it two five of the six possible movies, grabbing some grub from the food court whenever I have a break between shows. On Friday, John shows up, which means there will be martinis. And on Saturday, my husband shows up—and we’ve already figured out our schedule for Saturday and Sunday.

Though I’m still not entirely sure which movies I’ll be seeing next week, I know that I’ll be just what the doctor ordered: a few days away from the usual grind, a hotel with a maid and free waffles for breakfast, a martini or two, some movie-loving friends, and a whole bunch of great independent films. I can’t wait!

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home