Friday, June 20, 2008

Comedy Showdown

New on Since Last Time:
Get Smart
Then She Found Me
The Incredible Hulk
Kung Fu Panda

Okay…let’s start with a quick overview of last week—since I missed last Friday’s entry. Really, the only exciting moment in last week’s schedule was when we showed up for our first morning screening in ages, only to be told (by the terrified new manager of the café next door) that we’d have to wait a bit to see Kit Kittredge because no one was there to set it up for us. Apparently, whoever had scheduled the screening forgot to tell anyone about it. So we got to sit around and drink coffee and eat sandwiches (or, for John, quiche) while kicking ourselves for choosing to show up for the screening instead of, say, sleeping in.

Though we were told we’d only have to wait a half-hour, we knew that was just an optimistic estimate. Instead, we ended up waiting an hour. And after sitting through the movie, we were all kicking ourselves for sticking around and waiting (except for Clay, who eventually gave up on trying to watch the movie and took a nap instead).

So that was last week. This week, then, was Comedy Showdown Week. You see, studios tend to plan their release dates pretty carefully during the summer—so they won’t have to go up against similar movies for opening weekend box office dollars. For instance, you wouldn’t see Iron Man and The Dark Knight opening on the same day—because you’d be forcing superhero movie fans to choose between the two. But, this week, two comedies are going head-to-head, choosing comedy fans to make a choice: Steve Carell or Mike Myers. This was supposed to be a big fat deal—but, after seeing them both, I can tell you that there’s just no contest.

Tuesday night, we headed to The Theater With the Balcony to see Get Smart. They had started letting people in early, so the balcony was already filling up by the time we got up there. We’d been assured that there were seats reserved for us, but I was a little bit confused about that whole situation.

You see, there were fancy, laminated “Reserved” signs placed throughout the balcony, but they were all in random spots. There would be one on the end of a row…and then another one a few seats down. I didn’t know if that meant that they were all reserved—or if they were even reserved for me. You never know—sometimes they reserve seats for various groups, and these signs didn’t actually say “Reserved for Press.” So I decided to wing it. I took a few seats, saved an extra or two for anyone else who might show up, and waited for the screening to begin.

A while later, a couple ended up and decided to sit in the seats that I’d saved (by putting the “Reserved” signs down on them. The woman loudly announced that she was sure that they were supposed to have reserved seats—even though I had no idea who she was. Since the rest of the gang hadn’t shows up yet, though, I figured they either weren’t coming or they’d decided to sit downstairs.

But then the couple beside me did something that totally surprised me. When the rep was giving his usual spiel, he mentioned that those “Reserved” seats were reserved for press (who, he jokingly added, “Think they’re special,” thereby allowing people to hate us even more than they already do). The couple realized that they were sitting in press seats—so they got up and went somewhere else. I was both surprised and delighted. So, you see, there are still some polite, respectful people out there after all.

Not long after that, the rep called up to me from below to check to see if there were still a few seats left for David and Bill. As suspected, they had ended up downstairs. But after Hazel, the crazy lady who insists that she’s press (which she proves by wearing a homemade “PRESS” badge around her neck) came and sat down by them, they decided to see if I was upstairs—and if I happened to have seats there for them. Fortunately, that kind and respectable couple had gotten up, so there were, in fact, a couple of seats available for them.

Finally, once we were all settled in, the screening began. And, believe it or not, the Balcony Brigade was a great crowd—for the first time ever. No one talked through the whole movie. No one kicked the back of my seat repeatedly. I couldn’t believe it. The only explanation I have is that the theater managers must have forced the Balcony Brigade to take Movie Theater Etiquette 101 before letting them in. But they were a dream. I’m still stunned. Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that the theater smelled like bologna sandwiches. But that’s another issue altogether.

Though Steve Carell is sometimes one of those hit-or-miss comics, I found myself enjoying Get Smart. I laughed quite a bit—and I hardly ever cringed (maybe just once). So, all around, not bad.

And then came Wednesday.

Wednesday was the one that I was dreading: The Love Guru. With every new trailer that came out, I feared it just a little bit more. But, well, it was a hockey movie, so at least it had that going for it. Or so I thought.

Pretty much everyone had made their excuses and steered clear of Wednesday night’s screening, leaving Jason and me to suffer through it alone. And though I secretly hoped that it would turn out to be surprisingly funny, it didn’t. It was terrible. Horrible. No good. Very bad. In fact, there are not enough synonyms for “bad” to describe it. I spent most of the movie with my mouth slightly open and an expression of sheer horror on my face, in utter disbelief. I couldn’t believe that any movie could be that bad. It was just one big, crazy mess of male-genitalia gags (65%) and midget jokes (30%), with a few stupid acronyms and ridiculously long book titles thrown in for fun (making up the remaining 5%). But perhaps the most unbelievable thing about this movie was that some people were actually laughing. Then again, as John always says, people will love any movie if it’s free.

After I got home from the screening, I was too angry to sleep—so, despite the fact that I had to get up early on Thursday morning to record the show, I stayed up and wrote my review before getting a few things ready for my crazy Thursday morning.

Thursday morning was another crazy studio session. Traffic was surprisingly light, so I was even a few minutes early for our 8:30 designated rehearsal time. Of course, Clay never shows up for rehearsal time, so I probably could have slept in a little bit longer. But I consider it my warm-up time—it gives me a chance to relax and wake up (and get caught up on all the good gossip) before having to do the show.

Since John, Clay, and I were all doing the show, that meant that we needed to do some finagling again. This time, John and I shared a mic—and it was much like a game of Twister. But we all survived with minimal injuries, and we made it out on time for John and Clay to catch a screening of Mongol. Though I saw it in Cleveland in March, I was tempted to see it again—because it’s really that good—but I figured that I should probably head back to the office and get some work done instead. And since I had another screening this morning, followed by lunch with the boys, I figured it would be best for me to hold off on seeing it again until it comes out on DVD.

Next week is another busy one, with screenings of both WALL*E and Wanted—both of which I’m looking forward to seeing. There’s also Origins, the annual game fair, which I intend to check out on Thursday and maybe for a while on Friday, too. It’s definitely an interesting event—and I never really know what I’ll find when I get there. Last time, I ran into William Hung in the hallway. That was really…weird. I missed it last year, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to the craziness again. So if you happen to be heading out to Origins, be sure to stop me and say hello. I’ll be the one female in the building who isn’t dressed up like a medieval princess or a witch or something. You can’t miss me…

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