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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