Friday, August 08, 2008

It’s That Time Again…

(Relatively) New on
Pineapple Express
Brideshead Revisited
Swing Vote
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
American Teen
The Wackness
Step Brothers
The X-Files: I Want to Believe

And by “that time,” I mean August, a time when the weather’s hot, and the movies…not so much.

Things have been pretty strange in Film Critic Land this summer. Some weeks (most of them, in fact), we’ll have just one screening. Maybe two. Then suddenly we’ll be bombarded by five in one week. Then we’ll go back to one the next.

This week, things were pretty up in the air. I had all kinds of random screenings on the schedule, but I wasn’t sure which ones I was actually going to attend.

For instance, on Tuesday morning, there was a screening of a French thriller. Despite the fact that I tend to enjoy both thrillers and French films, I just wasn’t feeling it. It was raining, and I was tired, and the screening was at the theater on the other frickin’ end of town. So as I was getting ready to leave, I called David.

“I’m not missing a screening, am I?” he asked as soon as he picked up. I explained that he was, in fact, forgetting about a Tuesday morning screening—but I was contemplating skipping it.

I did, however, offer a trade: The Midnight Meat Train. It’s a movie that we’ve all been obsessing over ever since we saw the trailer at the Good Luck Chuck screening last fall. Last week, while I was compiling one of my millions of weekly newsletters, I noticed that it was scheduled to open on Friday. Since I hadn’t heard anything about it, I did a little searching and found that it was, in fact, opening. At one theater in town—my old friend, The Cheap Theater. No kidding. It was opening directly to the discount, second-run theater.

Originally, the plan was to hit the theater on Friday afternoon—but Jason was heading out to New York for the weekend, and David had friends over, so we scrapped that idea. So, while we were discussing the French thriller that we were skipping on Tuesday, we decided to hit The Cheap Theater instead. It was, after all, Tuesday—which meant that it would cost a buck instead of $1.25. Talk about a bargain…!

The movie was scheduled for 12:25, and I was running behind, as always. To make matters worse, it seemed that (as is usually the case), I was the only one on the road with anywhere to be. Everyone else had no problem driving 15 under the speed limit and waiting at intersections after the light turned green, just to see if anyone else wanted to go through first. When I finally made it to the theater parking lot, I ended up behind two guys in a pickup, who were barely even idling. As I followed them, I figured that they were actually cruising for chicks in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I kid you not. Now, I realize that we don’t have beaches to cruise here—like the one we had back home in Michigan—but I didn’t realize that people here had taken to cruising the Wal-Mart parking lot as an alternative.

So I finally got myself a parking space, and I was rushing through the parking lot when my phone rang. David.

“I just went in there,” he told me. “It’s full…of old people.”

Apparently, he’d even walked out of the theater to check the sign again—to make sure that he hadn’t walked into the Horton Hears a Who! theater. But no. There it was. The Midnight Meat Train. Filled with senior citizens.

When I finally got inside, David was waiting in the lobby. And I got in line behind a woman who paid for three tickets with dimes. I wish that was an exaggeration, but it’s not. This was just my luck.

So we finally made it into the theater as the trailers were starting. And despite the fact that we figured we’d have the theater to ourselves, David was right—it was packed. At 12:25 on a Tuesday afternoon. And, yes, there were at least 20 elderly moviegoers already in their seats. I couldn’t help but wonder if they had any idea what they were in for.

I, on the other hand, knew what I was in for. Kinda. It was totally gruesome—more so, I think, than any movie I’ve ever seen. Sometimes, in fact, it was so over-the-top that David and I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. It was sick and twisted, but it was funny.

Strangely, though, David and I were the only people in the theater who were laughing. And that just made me laugh harder. I laughed so hard, it hurt. And then I felt a little bit ashamed of myself. But I couldn’t help it.

After the movie, David decided that he was hungry—though I’m not sure why, since I was pretty sure that I’d never be able to keep anything down again. Since there was a Tim Horton’s nearby, though, we walked over there—so David could get a sandwich, and I could get my iced coffee fix. While I was at it, I got a bagel, too. And I kept it down.

There, at Tim Horton’s, were even more elderly folk. David and I wondered how many of them had just seen The Midnight Meat Train. We then decided that, when we’re old, we, too, will go to crazy movies at The Cheap Theater and follow it up with a coffee at Tim Horton’s. It seems like something we’d do. We’ll invite our grown children to join us, and they’ll be extremely embarrassed. David’s pretty sure his son will have moved to Australia by then to get away from him.

After we finished our post-movie snack, we headed back to our cars and said, “See you in a few hours.” I then rushed back to the office to write up my review before I had to head back out for another screening at night.

Tuesday night’s screening was Pineapple Express. It had screened at random times for weeks, but the past weeks have been ridiculously busy, so I was waiting until the last minute to see it—so were David and Bill. But it was just us—and my husband…and Bill’s brother. It was a surprisingly calm and stress-free screening, really. It went off without a hitch. And I was surprised that I liked the movie a whole lot more than I expected to. So it was a good day all around.

On Thursday, I was planning to catch Tropic Thunder with everybody else. Since I’d already been to another screening, I didn’t have to go, but I wanted to—because it’s so funny that I wanted to see it again. The main purpose, though, was to take my husband, who had missed the previous screening. I’ve been talking about it ever since I saw it, and he was looking forward to seeing it, too. Unfortunately, he ended up having to fly down to Florida on Thursday afternoon, so the screening was out. Instead, I stayed home and watched North by Northwest, which I borrowed from David approximately eight months ago. So it was okay that I stayed home for once.

Next week, however, I probably won’t be so lucky. Nights off…HA! So far, I’ve got screenings on the schedule for Monday and Tuesday morning, along with Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night. We’ll see which ones I actually see. It is, after all, August. And watching five August movies in three days could probably be considered a pretty reliable method of torture. Perhaps they should look into using it in Gitmo.

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