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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