My mother is in town this weekend. Her hotel is close to my favorite movie theater. I’m working Saturday and I get out at seven. What would be better than to go to the movies with my mom on a Saturday night? But I can’t do that. While watching The Artist, I vowed not to go see another movie for at least two months. I’d say that’s a long enough period of abstinence.
Here’s my reasoning:
I have seen five movies in the new year, all of them bad.
I agree, for the most part, with Mr. Parfitt’s review. The movie’s lousy and disappointing, even though I shouldn’t have had such high hopes.
One For The Money / The Grey
You can read my article below. If you don’t want to, I’ll say this: this double feature made for a depressing afternoon.
Haywire / Joyful Noise
Same. Except it was a depressing night. (I am not counting Haywire as one of my movies of the new year because I immediately walked out.)
Though not bad, Carnage did not leave me with any kind of impression. My friend left me a message right before he left for the theater. His girlfriend wanted to see it. “I don’t know much about it,” he said. “It’s supposed to be two New York couples yelling at each other or something.” I liked the photography, and Christoph Waltz was great. Jodie Foster was not. All this to say, it was no Happy Feet Two, or even Moneyball, which I hate to say it, were the best movies of last year.
Then I saw The Artist.
It isn’t that I think the movie was a total piece of shit, because it wasn’t. Jean Dujardin’s smile is so incredible; I felt like it had the elements of life in it: humor, perversion, sadness, insecurity, doubt, love, beauty, distrust. A great smile. But that went away once the plot took over. Aside from the smile, what did the movie give me? Nothing. The woman, Peppy Miller, played by Bérénice Bejo, does not have the star power the filmmakers think she has. And without that, the movie has nothing to rely on. Think about it. The man whose smile can light a candle stops smiling, and the rising star does not have star power. I could care less about the plot. And I feel like the filmmakers felt the same. The Artist was about its idea: the movie within the movie and all that bullshit. If you want that – though I don’t know if it stands the test of time – watch Living In Oblivion starring Steve Buscemi.
Okay, so what have I been doing with my time now that I’m not going to the movies anymore? Mostly, I’ve been watching movies at home. Here is a quick list of the movies I’ve watched since The Artist:
The Exterminating Angel (dir. Luis Buñuel, 1962)
Tedious artsy bull.
True Lies (dir. James Cameron, 1994)
I don’t think I can watch this anymore. In essence, it’s a movie made by an asshole. I’m not going to watch it again for at least two months.
Anastasia (dirs. Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, 1997)
Turned it off immediately.
The Gift (dir. Sam Raimi, 2000)
Loving it but then the disc skipped. Rented another copy from Blockbuster, and the disc skipped. I hate DVDs.
Howard The Duck (dir. Willard Huyck, 1986)
Howard The Duck functions as my head cleaner for my VCR. It’s really strange, but it works every time. I’ve seen Howard The Duck only when I need to, and I turn off the volume. The movie seems unbelievably bad, but it holds a special place in my heart, and I’m grateful that tape is in my life.
When Harry Met Sally… (dir. Rob Reiner, 1989)
The best. Don’t try to fuck with it.
The Thin Blue Line (dir. Errol Morris, 1988)
Good but made me tired.
American Movie (dir. Chris Smith, 1999)
Fucks with When Harry Met Sally…
The Shining (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
I thought after a midnight screening a year and a half ago that I had met my threshold with The Shining. But I probably never will be done with this movie. This time around, I saw it in an SUV on a rainy day. A first.
The Iron Giant (dir. Brad Bird, 1999)
Fucks with everything. Including myself, on a very emotional level. Brings tears to my eyes when just about every other movie cannot.
One last thing. There are three parts to going to see a movie:
The arrival: sometimes you’re late, you get lost, it’s stressful; or you have a nice time with your friends, laughing, etc. But it’s exciting. You buy the ticket. Then you buy popcorn for eight dollars.
The second part is the movie itself.
The third part is the conversation outside the theater – scratch that if you saw the movie alone, unless you enjoy pick-up conversations with strangers – and the departure back to the world.
For me, going to the movies was no longer fun except for the first part. Filled with denial, I always think I’m going to have a great time. I always think that the movie will be good. Even when I know it will be bad. Even when I have so much experience it’s going to be misery once the movie starts and I will end up walking out. But goddamn do I crave sitting in a dark theater with popcorn. I wish that was all it was, and the second part didn’t matter. Like The Drifters say:
“Saturday night at the movies
“Who cares what picture you see?
“When you’re hugging with your baby in last row in the balcony.”
But then they were talking about sex.