Friday, May 30, 2008


New at Since Last Time:
Sex and the City
Son of Rambow
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

This week, I’m having a ROGO special: read one week, get one week free.

Since there wasn’t a whole lot going on last week (or this week, for that matter), I figured I’d hold off for one entry this week. That, and it was the holiday weekend, and I had stuff to do. Like shop. And eat.

So anyway…it’s been nearly two weeks since our big Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull screening. And it was definitely one crazy screening.

The screening was set for 2:00 on Sunday afternoon—something that’s never been done before, but apparently Paramount was screening the movie for press across the country all at the same time. Knowing how packed these press-only screenings of big summer movies can be (last year’s screening of Pirates 3 was the same thing—only on a weeknight), I hustled my husband and brother-in-law out the door as early as possible. And we arrived at the theater at around 1:20. By that time, the area around the little theater was already filling up—with people I’d never seen before in my life. John and Clay were there, too, so I wandered up to talk to them.

When they finally started letting us in, I managed to be the second person in the door. I had to be—because I was the only one of the Rodents there. I had a bunch of seats to save. Between the three of us, we ended up saving an entire row—10 seats. And I managed to make a lot of new enemies in the process. The theater we were in was one of the tiny ones—so it filled up quickly. There were all kinds of people there who weren’t technically “press.” There was also one gigantic guy who had made himself his very own “press pass,” which totally cracked the rest of us out. We’re still considering making our own press sandwich boards.

I’m guessing a bunch of people didn’t RSVP, as requested—because the theater filled up so quickly that I was surprised that fights didn’t break out. People were forced to leave as other showed up. And I have to say that I felt really bad when the rep’s wife and kids were sent away—because one of our favorite I-won’t-waste-my-time-by-showing-up-early colleagues showed up at the last minute.

In the end, I was pretty impressed that everyone made it out in one piece—and that no punches were thrown. And, a few missteps aside, the movie was pretty good. Not bad for an exciting Sunday afternoon.

Another big fiasco that weekend, however, was The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. We’d planned to see it on Friday afternoon—but when Jason and I were the only ones who could go, we decided to cancel our plans. So Ed and I went guitar shopping instead. First, we thought we’d see it on Friday night instead. Then Friday night turned to Saturday night. And Saturday night turned to…“Um…maybe Monday?”

Finally, we made it to the infamous Movie Tavern on Monday night. I wasn’t all that impressed by the movie (neither were the kids across from us, who spent the second half screaming and running around). And I guess the person behind me, who made me violently angry by kicking my seat through about half the movie, probably wasn’t all that thrilled, either. But at least the experience was cool. In fact, I think it was the highlight of Ed’s visit. He was pretty thrilled to be able to eat dinner and drink a beer while watching a movie. And, really, who wouldn’t be?

But that was it for screenings for the rest of the week—until this Tuesday night.

This week, there are two wide releases: Sex and the City and The Strangers. And, unfortunately, they were screening at pretty much the same time. It was a tough call—because:

The Strangers started at 7:30 at the theater I like, and it was only 90 minutes long. Not only that, but it looked pretty cool. Whereas…

Sex and the City was going to be held at a random theater in the middle of freakin’ nowhere. It was scheduled for an 8:30 New York premiere red carpet simulcast, followed by a 9:00 movie, which would then last almost 2½ hours. And, well, I’ve seen only a few episodes of SATC, so I really didn’t care. I was, however, mildly intrigued.

In the end, however, I ended up going to see Sex and the City. I really didn’t want to—especially since it was late, and I was suffering from some nasty allergies. But John asked me to be on the show this week—and he seemed pretty intent on covering SATC (which, I suppose, is understandable). So he made my decision for me. Not that I was happy about it or anything.

So at 7:45ish, there I was, in the lobby of this random theater in the middle of freakin’ nowhere, surrounded by girls in (I kid you not) dresses and heels, along with guys in suits. There was a huge line of very excited women (and about five guys) snaking through the lobby. And then there were the critics: Bill (with his very excited mom), Jason (with his very excited girlfriend and mom), and me. And then came Hope, who pointed out, “You can tell the fans from the critics by their shoes.” And she was right—my Chuck Taylors do not have heels. And Hope wasn’t wearing a dress.

When the rep told us we could go in, we all made a break for it. Jason’s girlfriend, Milu, and I rushed past the cheesy red carpet that had been set up for the event. There was someone with a camera nearby, and we really didn’t want our pictures taken.

Once we got inside, we were hit with a barrage of SATC stuff on the big screen. It was like watching the DVD’s special features. Some crazy lady talked (very loudly) about the wardrobe. And that’s when I decided to try to tune it all out (which was difficult, since the volume was deafening). I chatted with Clay and his friend, Michelle, who had taken seats behind me. I laughed with Bill and Jason at the people walking in. And I marveled at the fact that I was, without doubt, the only woman in the theater who would be watching the movie with a straight man on either side—and, really, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We also made plans to create our own TV series. It’s called Two Guys, a Girl, and a Movie Theater. We’re currently entertaining offers.

At 8:30, we had to sit through a trailer of the movie—and then the red carpet hoohah began. It, too, was deafening. A crazed Stephen Cojocaru (who looked like he was so excited, he could pee himself at any minute) interviewed everyone who walked up, telling them all that they were, in fact, the most stunning person on the carpet. Our personal favorite moment, however, was when Jennifer Hudson and her scandalous cleavage took her turn with Cojo. When asked if she’d bathed in gold that day (thus her tight gold dress), she replied, “No, I just rubbed up against my Oscar.” Classy.

At a few minutes to 9, there were a couple of giveaways, which Jason’s mother was totally eager to win. Finally, to hoots and applause from our row, she successfully listed off all four starring actresses, and she won a shirt. She was thrilled.

Then, at 9ish, the movie started. Finally. And, instead of being deafeningly loud, like everything leading up to the movie had been, it was ridiculously quiet. I could hear the oohs and aahs from the people around me (not to mention Clay’s chuckles from behind me) better than I could hear the actual movie. It was annoying.

It was even more annoying when, suddenly, the print was thrown off, and the top third of the screen was black. Everyone’s head was down at the bottom of the screen, and all of the boom mikes were totally visible. This brought about snickers from the crowd, along with groans from the critics. Jason said something not-so-nice about the projectionist and his mental capacity, and I expressed how happy I was that we came to this theater in the middle of freakin’ nowhere.

Somewhere in the middle of the movie, as the crowd gasped at something said on-screen and Jason and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes, I realized that we really do have our own sit-com. We’re living it every single week. And even when I have to sit through movies that make my head hurt—movies that take place too late at night, at a theater in the middle of freakin’ nowhere—it’s still kinda fun.

When it was all over, the guys and I waited in the lobby as the moms battled the crowds at the women’s bathroom. It was pretty amusing to listen to everyone twittering away about the characters and their actions—as though they didn’t realize that they’re fictional characters. We did, however, note that the crowd wasn’t all that enthusiastic. Sure, there were “oooh”s and “aaaah”s and gasps and giggles at off-color jokes. But the enthusiasm definitely died down. There wasn’t a huge, thundering round of applause after the movie (as is often the case at public screenings). People just kinda left.

I couldn’t blame them, really. I mean, I wasn’t impressed at all. It was pretty predictable and fluffy and melodramatic. It was whiny. And it was totally melodramatic. I don’t want to give anything away, but at one point, Carrie decides to check her messages—while on the beach in Mexico—and after listening to one, she deletes it and melodramatically throws the phone into the water. Then the camera cuts to the phone as it slowly sinks below the water.

Ugh. So much drama. I know that was probably supposed to move me to tears or something, touched by the pain that Carrie was feeling—but, mostly, it just made me groan and roll my eyes.

And it really drove me crazy how, every time the four of them got together, it resulted in about a minute of shrieking and jumping up and down. Last time I checked, girls stopped doing that at around the age of 10. It hurt my ears. And it made me angry. I was even a bit insulted. I mean, really—is this the way that strong, independent grown women are supposed to act? Because, last time I checked, that’s more like the way spoiled 13-year-olds act.

But I wasn’t the only one who was less than impressed. Jason admitted that he’s pretty much seen the entire series—and the show was way better than the movie. So that made me feel a bit better. Personally, I’d been intrigued by the show. I’d always meant to watch it more—and whenever I caught it on TBS or whatever while I was flipping channels, I’d stop to watch. And I remembered liking those few shows much more than I liked the movie. The show seemed to be smart and funny. The movie was long and annoying.

And if I get hate mail for saying so, so be it. Personally, I’m kinda glad that no one around here really knows who I am—because if they did, I’d probably get my eyeballs scratched out while walking down the street after giving the movie a D on the radio this week. I know that people are really attached to the show. I know they’ve been looking forward to the movie. And that’s fine. It’s not their fault that the movie’s not good—nor is it mine. But, well, I’m sure it’ll make a boatload of money anyway.

So did I mention that on Tuesday, before the movie, I was hit with some nasty allergies? Well, I was. And they only got worse on Wednesday. That made me a little worried about recording the show yesterday morning. Then again, considering how congested I was, I guess it wouldn’t be a big deal—it would just sound like John was doing the show with deep-voiced Clay, as usual.

Fortunately, though, everything went relatively well, considering that I spent most of the show willing myself not to hack up a lung—while finishing off a couple of bottles of water. In hindsight, it probably would have been best to record the show today—since I sound way better this morning. But, well, who knew? And, really, it didn’t turn out all that bad, after all (you can have a listen for yourself).

So anyway…next week, we’re back to a more normal schedule: two screenings next week. In fact, we’ve already got at least two screenings a week scheduled for all of June. That’s more like it. This whole one-screening-a-week thing was weird. I was starting to forget how to write reviews. And I found myself scrambling to fill my schedule each week. So I’m glad things are picking up again—even if it means having to watch You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and Kung Fu Panda on consecutive nights. I won’t even complain. Much.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

One Crazy Night

New at Since Last Week:
What Happens in Vegas

This week’s screening schedule was exactly as this week’s title suggests. We had just one evening screening, and it was pretty much insane.

Tuesday night was the Son of Rambow screening, which was held at The Theater Where Nobody Shuts Up. And that always makes for an entertaining evening.

Since the theater is way on the other side of town, we decided to carpool—so Neil showed up at our place, and we drove down from here. We were planning to leave by 6:15ish for the 7:30 screening (both because it’s quite a hike down to that part of town and because the theater has absolutely no parking, so you have to show up early to get a spot that doesn’t require a two-mile hike). But Neil stopped at Kevin’s place before the screening and ended up playing with the baby for longer than expected. Fortunately, though, we’ve got backup. So while we waited for Neil to show up, I picked up the phone and called Jason, who was already on his way. So if we weren’t there before the doors opened, we’d still have a seat. It’s cool how that all works.

So anyway, we ended up parking on the street and still making it into the theater before the doors opened. But when we got there, we were greeted by one big, happy surprise: goody bags. Jamie, the lovely Paramount Vantage rep, had put together goody bags, filled with all kinds of fun, sugary ‘80s goodies. As soon as the bags were in our hands, we regressed about 20 years, and we were all like little kids on the playground, trading my Boston Baked Beans for Neil’s Snow White Pez dispenser. It was awesome. We had already been pretty excited to see the movie—and suddenly we were both excited and wired on Air Heads. Did I mention it was awesome?

So anyway, once the doors opened, we got ourselves some seats—right in the middle, right where we usually sit. We got to sit around and get caught up, since we hadn’t seen each other in a while week. It’s pretty strange, really, not seeing everyone several times a week. I actually kinda miss them. So it was nice to get caught up again.

Eventually, the theater started filling up, and, as is usually the case with The Theater Where Nobody Shuts Up, we ended up surrounded by entertaining characters.

Behind us, for instance, there were two Pepper Pots in training. I believe they were rather young, but they were still very Pepper Pot-ish. By that, I mean that they were absolutely mortified by everything in the movie. There’s a mouse on-screen, there are two “EEW!”s behind me. The kid’s drawing is a bit violent, there are two “UUH!”s behind me. There was an “OOOH!” or an “UUUH!” or a “EEEW!” for everything. Even pinecones, apparently, mortified these women. And if they weren’t expressing some form of horror and outrage, they were chatting up a storm.

But that’s only the beginning.

Then there was the guy in front of us. Now, I know that the movie was about a couple of kids in the early ‘80s, but I didn’t think that the screening necessitated costumes. But this guy definitely had a great costume: long, scraggly brown hair, black leather vest. He looked like a cast-off roadie from an ‘80s metal band. He had clearly smoked an entire pack before entering the theater, and I’m pretty sure that isn’t all this guy’s been smoking—since, from the sound of it, something fried the guy’s brain cells years ago. Oh, and he sounded just like Sam Elliot.

Fortunately, though, Sam Elliot enjoyed every minute of the movie. He was laughing. And clapping. And talking to the screen. He was having a great time. And as we sat behind him, snickering, his girlfriend was hunched down in her seat, and his friends, who were sitting next to him, were chuckling in embarrassment and leaning the other way.

So, yeah. It was another night at The Theater Where Nobody Shuts Up. Fortunately, the movie was a whole lot of fun. Neil’s looking forward to seeing it again at the screening he’s hosting this week—mostly because it’ll be nice to see it once without Sam Elliot’s commentary.

But that was it for the week. Kevin actually made the drive to Cincinnati last night for the Prince Caspian screening, but at $4 a gallon for gas, the rest of us figured that, if we really wanted to see it, we could pay to see it here instead of driving 200 miles round trip to see it for free. We were actually planning to see it today over lunch at the Movie Tavern, but then Neil decided to take a nap instead and David realized that he had a scheduling conflict, so Jason and I scrapped that idea. Since my brother-in-law, Ed, is in town this weekend, I took him to Guitar Center instead—and we had lunch at the only Friendly’s in town, followed by a stop at the only Dunkin’ Donuts in town. And we might just head to Movie Tavern tonight instead.

So this weekend’s a busy one. On top of having Ed here—which means some shopping, some hanging out, and maybe a trip to the zoo—I’m also heading over to the WCBE yard sale tomorrow for a while. (If you’re in the area, it’s from 10-2, and there will be cool stuff. Be sure to stop in!) And Sunday is the Indiana Jones screening. And we still have to re-watch The Last Crusade sometime between now and then. So I’m sure that’ll make for one crazy weekend. After that, though, there’s nothing. Seriously. Nothing at all. There are two screenings on Tuesday night, but they’re both movies that I will have already seen. So there isn’t a single screening this week. It’s going to be a quiet, lonely week—but, on the bright side, that means that I’ll be able to catch up on DVDs and books and music and stuff. So I’m not going to complain…

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Those Lazy Days of Summer

New at Since Last Week:
Speed Racer
Made of Honor

May seems to be a pretty sleepy month for movies. And by that, I don’t mean that the movies are boring. I just mean that there aren’t a lot of them. For instance, last week, two movies opened (in wide release, that is): Iron Man and Made of Honor. This week, it’s What Happens in Vegas and Speed Racer. Next week, it’s just Prince Caspian. The week after, it’s Indiana Jones. In other words, all kinds of big movies that no one wants to try to battle at the box office. So while each week brings an exciting new adventure for us critics, they’re few and far between.

This week, we had just two screenings—both on Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, we were scheduled to see What Happens in Vegas at The Other Theater (the one where we rarely have morning screenings—but where we totally prefer to have them). Since it’s much closer to home, that meant that I could leave at the same time and still make a stop at the nearby Tim Horton’s. It’s a good thing that I had plenty of time, though—because the poor kid working the counter clearly had no idea what he was doing. He greeted me when I walked in and asked what he could get me, and I said, “I’ll have a chocolate chip muffin…” and I paused to let him do whatever he needed to do. Instead, he just stared at me. So I went on. “…And a small hazelnut iced coffee with no cream and a little bit of sugar.”

His response: “A chocolate chip muffin.”

At that point, I knew I was in trouble. This one took a whole lot of explaining on my part—and when I walked out, I ended up with a regular iced coffee with no nothin’, but I wasn’t about to complain. The movie would be over by the time I got what I wanted.

But at least I had my muffin. And some sort of coffee.

When I got to the parking lot, David was already there, eating a breakfast burrito in his car. (I’ve mentioned that film critics have a glamorous life, right?) And Jason had just followed me from the Tim Horton’s drive-thru. So we gathered in the lobby to wait for the others.

Apparently, everyone was a bit burnt out after seeing Made of Honor last week—because very few people showed up for the screening. And when it began, I, too, was a little (okay…more than a little) worried. But, fortunately, it turned out to be much better than Made of Honor (not that the bar was set all that high).

After the screening, we all went our separate ways, heading back to our offices to try to write something up before racing back to the theater again that night for Speed Racer.

Since most of our evening screenings have been at the same time and same place lately, I didn’t even think to double-check the time of the screening—until we’d finished dinner. It was then that I realized that the screening was at 7—not 7:30—and we had to race to the theater. I called David to ask him to save us seats, and we headed out—dirty dishes all over the kitchen. It looked like a tornado had just gone through—but we had places to be.

Of course, we were still there plenty early. So no worries there. We were, however, displaced from our usual seats—this time, not by the usual rep, complete with entourage, but by one of our own. He had taken the center seats, leaving the rest of us either to split up (which sucks—but we do it if we have to) or to sit at the very side of the theater, right by the steps (which would mean that half of the movie would be blocked out by the constant parade of kids heading to and from the bathroom). Though Jason asked him politely if he could move down just a couple of seats, he refused—first stating that they were press seats (apparently assuming that the rest of us were just pushy fanboys) and then announcing, “No, I’m good here.”

It’s not like someone was asking him to sit up front—or way off on the side. They were just asking him to move a seat or two over. We do it all the time. No big deal. But apparently it would have meant the end of the world for this guy. Eventually, Jason got the rep to ask him to move over—which, I’m sure, made us look a little spoiled, but we didn’t really care. At least we didn’t have to deal with the parade of kids headed to the bathroom.

As it turned out, though, not only did the guy refuse to move over, but he also refused to let anyone sit next to him, preferring to save an extra seat for his coat. Now, in many cases, that’s okay. The theater doesn’t always fill up. But, in this case, there were more passes than seats—and there were all kinds of people who were turned away. The reps in charge asked (several times) if anyone had extra seats around them, but he never said a word. So someone was sent home that night because his coat needed a seat. Now, I understand that some critics like to have their “buffer seat”—but even John, who loves his buffer seat, will give it up when there’s a full house. So I’d say that this guy ranks right up there with the one who, upon showing up late for I Am Legend and demanding a seat, told the guy who showed up on time and still got thrown out, “Yeah, like you’d lose your job if you didn’t see this movie.”

So when people tell me that film critics are jerks (and yes, people have), I guess I can’t totally disagree. Some are. But I swear that most of us are totally cool. Really. So please don’t throw things at us or send death threats via email. We’re really not that bad.

But anyway…Speed Racer was, as expected, one crazy movie. Needlessly complex but totally crazy. When we walked out, Bill announced that he was going to go home and stare at a blank screen for a while, just to recover. A few guys complained of headaches. And I couldn’t actually see normal colors—everything was red and blue and swirly polka dots and stuff for hours after the movie ended. But, well, it was kinda fun anyway.

The kids, on the other hand, were barely effected—unless, of course, you count the fact that they came running out of the theater and ran around in circles and bumped into things. Other than that, though, they seemed happy.

After the screening, Kevin had to head back to greet his in-laws, who moved in for a few days to take care of Kevin’s two little guys while Kevin and his wife, Carolyn, brought the third little Kevin into the world. And on Wednesday afternoon, we got the news—along with the unauthorized photos—of the birth of the latest Carr, Nicholas Ronon. In a couple of years, he, too, will be wreaking havoc on movie theaters and running into things—and I look forward to it. Believe it or not, little Carr kids are really quite adorable. Why, just last week, at the Iron Man screening, the youngest walked up to Neil and, out of the blue, announced, “I love you, Neil.” Of course, this is the same child who, right after the Speed Racer screening, also exhibited is talent for farting on cue. So, yeah—cute…and entertaining.

But that’s it for this week—just one crazy day of screenings followed by a few days to recover. Next week will be even quieter. We just have one screening scheduled for next week—Son of Rambow (yeah!). Of course, there’s no Prince Caspian screening—so we’ll all be heading out on Friday to see it at the Movie Tavern (where there will be fried pickles). My brother-in-law, Ed, the coolest brother-in-law ever, will be showing up for a visit on Thursday night, so he’ll get thrown right into the craziness that is known as the COFCA Mafia (AKA “The Internet Mavericks,” AKA “The Rodents”). It’s sure to be quite an adventure for young Ed. Perhaps I’ll drag him away from the Wii long enough to guest blog for me on Monday, following his movie-filled weekend.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Hurray for Summer!

New at Since Last Time:
Iron Man
The Visitor
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
CJ7 (Cheung Gong 7 Hou)
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?
Forgetting Sarah Marshall

I know…I know…I didn’t post last week. I could give a big, detailed explanation as to why I neglected my Friday blog duties, but, really, the reason is pretty simple: I just ran out of time. If you would like, however, I could give you a list of the things that I did do last Friday. After all, it’s all still in my planner—even though it technically took place last month, and those pages should already have been removed from my planner. But, considering I just finally found the time to remove my March pages last week, they’ll probably be there for a while.

I will, however, give you a quick overview of last week—just so you won’t feel left out: I only went to three screenings last week. Two were morning screenings, and both were bad. I also went to an evening screening of Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, which was insane—as I’m sure you can imagine. There were some crazy guys sitting behind us, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were stoned. They were loud, and they climbed over seats as though they were in their own living room. But, really, what else can you expect from the sneak preview crowd for a stoner comedy? Not a whole heck of a lot, really.

Also, I made my third consecutive appearance on It’s Movie Time—this time, with both John and Clay. Clay and I had to share a microphone, so we were all very close and cuddly, but it was still great fun. In fact, I’d gotten so used to getting up and heading to the studio on Thursday morning that it felt weird not to go to the studio this week. I miss that crazy place.

In other WCBE news, though, if you happen to be in the Columbus area, be sure to mark your calendars for May 17th (that’s a Saturday)—the WCBE yard sale. The guys and I will be wandering around, schmoozing and trying to sell CDs and posters and things. Be sure to stop in—and bring cash! That day is also the annual Fort Fest, so there will be food and music and all kinds of fun, artsy stuff.

Okay…so now for this week.

This week was a very exciting week for all of us—because this week marks the beginning of the Summer Blockbuster Season. And, believe me, it comes not a moment too soon. After surviving four pretty crap-heavy months, we could use a couple of big popcorn movies to reward us just a little bit for making it through the dull winter months without having a complete nervous breakdown.

First, though, we had to see Patrick Dempsey in Made of Honor. My husband was once again out of town on Monday, so, after leaving my knitting group, I headed to Panera for dinner. I read and ate a very tasty chipotle chicken sandwich. Then I made my way to campus for the screening.

When I showed up, Neil was already there, talking to Jennifer, one of our favorite reps, about Wednesday’s Iron Man screening. According to Jen, Wednesday would be insane, so she advised us to show up early. No problem there. Neil was so psyched to see Iron Man that he, Kevin, and David were planning to drive up to Cleveland for their screening on Tuesday—after which Neil and Kevin (but not David, who was on baby duty on Wednesday) were seeing it again on Wednesday. Really, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Neil had just driven back from Cleveland on Tuesday night and headed straight to the theater here, so he wouldn’t be late to see it on Wednesday. He was that excited.

Anyway, though…I was talking about Made of Honor. The big surprise of the night was that Kevin arrived with his wife. Now, that in itself is not a big deal—but the fact that Kevin’s wife happens to be ready to give birth at any second is. Apparently, though, she once went into labor while watching a bad romantic comedy, so perhaps they were just trying to speed up the process a bit. They’re having a boy, so maybe they thought he’d want none of that, so he’d just decide to head out early.

But alas, there were no mid-movie births to add excitement to the evening. All we had was a really bad chick flick. Now, I didn’t expect this one to be the greatest movie ever, but I did go in with an open mind—but, boy, was it bad. And when it was all over, I had a very strong urge to go home and drink. So I did. I mixed myself a vodka tonic and got to work on my review.

Tuesday was a no-screening day for me, so I ended up diving into my pile of DVDs at home instead. Since my husband hadn’t gotten home yet, I figured I’d watch P. S. I Love You. And by the time he got home—at around 9—I was one big sniffly, teary mess. And then we went downstairs and played tennis on our Wii, and I felt much better.

And then came Wednesday. In the morning, we had a screening of the David Mamet movie, Redbelt. Every once in a while, I walk out of a movie, and I don’t have a clue what to say about it—and Redbelt was one of those movies. So I had to head back to the office and sort through my thoughts and figure it all out as I started my review.

At around 5, though, I had to give up—because Neil, Jason, Bill, and I had decided to meet up for dinner/drinks before the big Iron Man screening. A still very excited Neil and his friend, Brian, picked me up at 5-something, and we met up with Jason and his girlfriend, Milu, at our favorite pre/post-screening hangout, Champpppppps. We ordered up some Blue Moons and indulged in the happy hour menu (I got a cute little pizza) and celebrated the coming of summer. By Wednesday afternoon, Made of Honor was behind us—and we were ready for the first big blockbuster of the season.

Somewhere during the meal, we all got messages from Kevin, who was already at the theater with his kids. Since another movie was still playing in the designated Iron Man theater, they weren’t going to start letting us in until 7—so he told us to take our time (which we did). We did, however, end up heading over early anyway—just to be a part of all the insanity. By the time we got there, we could see that the line was all the way through the theater and curled up around the side. No surprise, really—and we were glad that we hadn’t waited until the last minute to show up. That way, we could be safely inside before the inevitable fist fights started breaking out.

The theater lobby was absolutely packed—which only added to the excitement of the night. For the most part, I don’t tend to get really excited about screenings. Yeah, I’ll look forward to some movies more than others, but I don’t really get excited. But I’ll admit that I was totally psyched for the first big screening of the summer. That’s allowed, right? Because the first big movie of the summer is an event. And what an event this one was!

The press were all corralled over to one section of the lobby. Though there are often quite a few of us, there were tons of us this time. This is one of those screenings when everyone shows up—even those people who never usually show up for screenings (those who, let’s face it, haven’t actually written a review in ages but are still on the list anyway). There were people there that I’d never seen before—and I heard names that were previously nothing more than a name I read on our weekly emails. But, hey. It’s Iron Man.

Finally, the press were allowed in, along with a bunch of other “special guests.” It all worked out quite well, really. Everyone waited their turn. We stood in line (which we never do) and slowly made our way into the theater. Of course, by the time we got in, the usual rep had already taken our seats and reserved them for her own entourage, leaving us to sit at the side of the theater. But, well, at least we got seats, I guess.

Though we were expecting all heck to break loose, everything went really smoothly. Matt, one of our other favorite reps, did an excellent job of wrangling the crowd. Unlike The Great I Am Legend Fiasco of 2007, no one had to fight for seats. No one ended up standing in the theater, begging for a place to sit. And even the two critics who couldn’t be bothered to show up on time had seats when they arrived.

A few minutes before the movie was supposed to start, I decided to head out to the bathroom one last time. Bill and I used the Buddy System, heading out of the theater together, slightly worried that one of those people who hadn’t gotten into the theater would see us with our bathroom passes and beat us down for them. But, much to my surprise, even the lobby, things were totally calm. I was highly impressed—and I was happy to make it back in one piece.

As for the movie, well, as Michael Bay would say, it was awesome. Unlike last year’s first blockbuster, Super-Man 3, which left me feeling rather let down, Iron Man was just what I hoped it would be. And, like Neil, I could easily see it again. In fact, I have a feeling that, by now, he’s already seen it three times.

So Wednesday night was a great way to usher in the summer. And though we don’t have a lot of screenings scheduled for this month, they should be fun. I mean, who knows if Speed Racer will be any good—but at least it should be crazy fun. And the same goes for Indiana Jones (the screening of which my brother-in-law is flying down from Toronto to attend). The one screening that’s missing? Prince Caspian. Much to our shock and dismay, Disney has decided to screen it in Cincinnati only. In fact, even when Kevin and Neil found a theater that was willing to screen the movie for us for free, Disney declined. Sure, we’ve been invited to attend the screening in Cincinnati, but it’s hardly worth it. They’re screening it the night before release, which means that not only would we have to deal with a four-hour round trip (which, with gas at $3.50 a gallon, isn’t a small thing) but then we’d get back at midnight or so, and we’d have to scramble to get our reviews written in time for Friday publication. So we’re going to forget about that and see it on Friday afternoon at the Movie Tavern instead. No long commute, and it comes with a side of fried pickles. No complaints here. Or at least not many. But Prince Caspian gets the infamous Preemptive Suck nonetheless.

Right now, I’ve only got two screenings on the schedule for next week. Fortunately, I’ve got plenty of DVDs accumulating on my coffee table—so that should keep me plenty busy.

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