Bob and Justin's Mad Movie Blog

My name is Bob. My friend Justin and I are aspiring filmmakers and we have pretty similar tastes in movies. This will include our take on what's going on in film and television today as well as updating you on the status of our own work.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Who I'm Voting For in '08

As I've noted before, I find politics to be thoroughly distasteful. But when someone comes along who moves me and shows that he or she can lead the way...well then I have to support that person as vocally as possible. This... This is the man for the job:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Across the Universe

Jude (Jim Sturgess) is a doc worker in Liverpool in the late sixties. He loves his girlfriend but needs to leave the country for a little while to find his father. Dad is a janitor at Princeton University. After a brief meeting, where his dad actually turns out to be an okay guy with a family of his own (he'd never known about Jude), they part ways. Jude's chance encounter with Max (Joe Anderson) brings him into a world of privilege that is a far cry from home. Coming home for Thanksgiving, Max introduces Jude to his sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), whom Jude falls for quickly. It's not long before Max drops out of college and everyone's having a great time living in a New York apartment with a large cross section of dreamers. That is until Max gets drafted.
"Across the Universe" is a musical (directed by Julie Taymor, "Titus"- the movie, not the TV show) consisting entirely of Beatles songs sung by the young cast. A few of them work very well and the movie starts out decently enough. Not all of the early musical scenes click, but enough of them do and the songs actually seem to reflect what's going on in the minds and hearts of the characters (what songs in musicals are, ya know, supposed to do). But right around the time we get to "Come Together" which inexplicably features Joe Cocker as a pimp, "Across the Universe" begins to unravel. Uncle Sam singing "I Want You" and Bono showing up only make matters worse. From that point on, the vast majority of the songs are just music videos that meander and meander. And meander some more. A few of the later songs are used effectively, particularly "Revolution" and "Hey Jude," but most of them are diversions that make "Across the Universe" come off as an interminable lament for the sixties.
I think my biggest disappointment with this movie was that even it's visual style was not that spectacular. Having seen what Taymor did with "Titus" I was really looking forward to what she would do with the look of this film.
I'll say this. The songs are well sung. Sturgess and Anderson prove to be formidable talents as actors and singers, while Wood (who's already shown she's one of the best young actresses working today) proves that she can sing as well. But that's why there's a soundtrack. All in all, "Across the Universe" doesn't...oh, oh, I'm gonna do it...come together. 4/10.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm going to rent "The Taxi Driver," okay!

I've been sick the last few days so I haven't made it to any movies in the theater. So now's the perfect time for an update of what's available on DVD! First off, today saw the release of mega-hit and instant classic "Knocked Up." The other big release (at least for me) today was a barely released movie from last spring called "The TV Set." I wrote a
  • review
  • of it last April. It's a very good movie and one that you should definitely check out. Also, "Chalk" which is still playing at the Varsity Theater is out on DVD as well. And I would be remiss if I didn't plug "Snow Cake" once again. It just came out on DVD a couple of weeks ago. Now it will be very easy for all of you to see this wonderful and uplifting movie. Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver (also of "The TV Set), and Carrie-Anne Moss all give incredible performances in the film from writer Angela Pell and director Marc Evans. SEE. THIS. MOVIE.
    And I recently caught up with Best Foreign Film winner "The Lives of Others" and Sarah Polley's "Away From Her." Both are excellent. "Lives" tells the story of an East German wiretapper slowly regaining his soul in the last days of the Berlin Wall. It's rare that the phrase "grabs hold of you and never lets go" actually turns out to be true. "The Lives of Others" is such a film. "Away From Her" is about a woman (Julie Christie) disappearing into the darkness of Alzheimer's and her husband's struggle to deal with it.
    So there's plenty of great stuff to rent right now on DVD. You won't be stuck having to bring home the latest direct to disc "Steven Seagal had to pay his taxes" movie.

    And now a look at the new fall TV season. I wasn't exactly bowled over by what I checked out last week (I'm not going to bother with "Back to You" again), but last night I checked out the new series "Chuck" and "Journeyman" along with the season premiere of "Heroes."
    "Chuck" is a spy-fi comedy about an ordinary guy named Leonard (no, I'm kidding, his name is Chuck), who works in the Nerd Herd at appliance superstore Buy More. We first meet Chuck (Zachary Levi) trying to escape from his own birthday party because he doesn't actually know any of the guests his sister invited. Before heading to bed for the night Chuck opens up an e-mail from his old college roommate. Turns out it was the final act of a murdered secret agent. The e-mail contained all of the government's secrets. If I tried to explain any further it would just sound silly. The thing is though, "Chuck" really works. It's very very funny (co-created by Josh Schwartz of "The O.C.") and it has a great cast, including Adam Baldwin (the man they call Jayne) as an NSA agent. "Chuck" is a lot of fun and it has a lot of great potential. I hope this one sticks around. (Mondays at 8 on NBC.)
    "Heroes" began what promises to be another year of wall to wall intensity very well. Mr. Bennett (Jack Coleman) is still the most interesting character on the show to me. It was fun to see him trying to fit in at the world's most boring workplace. Last night also introduced a character played by great character actor Stephen Tobolowsky ("Sneakers," "Memento").
    "Journeyman" is the story of San Francisco news reporter Dan Vassar ("Trainspotting's" Kevin McKidd) and his sudden trips through time. The premise is a bit like that of "Quantum Leap" except that Dan is always Dan (at least in the pilot). Dan's a loving husband and father and of course everyone thinks he's crazy when he tries to explain what is happening to him. The premiere episode is terrific and if you missed it you can catch it Thursday night at 7 on the SCI-FI channel. It will be interesting to see the details of Dan's past unfold over the course of this series, and also finding out what the deal is with his supposedly dead ex-girlfriend Olivia. Great new show! (Mondays at 10 on NBC.)

    So there you go. At least one night of your week has a solid block of great television. And now I leave you with the trailer for "King of California" which opens in Seattle this Friday at the Metro. I can't wait to see this one (I'm sure the actual movie will be without subtitles):

    Friday, September 21, 2007

    Adopt an Actor

    Fellow movie blogger
  • I, Splotchy
  • has recently started the Adopt an Actor program. It's a way for movie bloggers to sort of champion a character actor or actress on their own page and give them some of the press which they richly deserve but do not receive. It didn't take me long to figure out who my choice was. When it got right down to it it was quite simple. It's the man who would be
  • Withnail
  • ,
  • Richard E. Grant
  • . His work in "Withnail and I," "How to Get Ahead in Advertising," "The Player," "Jack and Sarah," and his first film as writer-director, "Wah-Wah," have distinguished Grant as one of the greatest talents working in film today. His book "With Nails: The Film Diaries of Richard E. Grant" is also a hilariously funny and honest look at life in and away from Hollywood. There's something to be said for a man who's spent as much time as he has there who has not been sucked in by it.
    Some Grant Facts: This British subject was born in Mbabane, Swaziland on May 5, 1957.

    He has been married to the same woman for over 20 years. Well he's definitely not from Hollywood.

    Despite the fact that he played arguably the greatest drunk in cinema history, Grant is actually a teetotaler.

    His daughter Olivia appears in his directorial debut, "Wah-Wah," which also happened to be the first ever feature film shot in Swaziland.

    Reunited with "Withnail" co-star Paul McGann earlier this year for the incredible short film, "Always Crashing in the Same Car."

    Thanks to IMDB, "With Nails," and other various sources (such as my own head) for these Grant Facts.

    So here is my official admission, Splotchy, to adopt Richard E. Grant. Thank you.

    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    "Southland Tales" Trailer

    Six years ago Richard Kelly made his directorial debut with what may be the ultimate cult movie of the last decade, "Donnie Darko." Now his long-awaited follow-up is finally set to hit theaters. I love the first minute of this and after that...well I'm still not sure what to make of it. If nothing else it's going to be interesting:

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Fall Movie Preview

    Currently: Eastern Promises (Cronenberg + Viggo= I very excite!)
    Across the Universe (It looks to be visually amazing…and incredibly whiny. Seeing it more out of duty than anything.)

    9/21: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (One of the ones I’m most excited for.)
    In the Shadow of the Moon (Doc about the Apollo program. Just hope I can get past the MPAA’s warning about “incidental smoking.”)

    9/28: The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson! Won’t miss it for the world.)
    King of California (A comedy with Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood. Should be interesting.)
    The Kingdom (I’ve heard good things and it’s got Jason Bateman.)
    Trade (Stars Kevin Kline, a guy we just don’t see enough of these days.)
    Lust, Caution (Ang Lee’s war drama.)
    December Boys (Daniel Radcliffe not playing Harry Potter. If you’ve seen his episode of “Extras” you know he’s got some range on him.)

    10/5: The Good Night (Simon Pegg and Martin Freeman. It’s all I know and all I NEED to know.)
    Michael Clayton (George Clooney in a thriller. Usually a good thing.)

    10/10: Control (Biopic about Joy Division’s Ian Curtis. Very excited.)

    10/12: Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Cate Blanchett reprises her role as the queen in an excellent looking film.)
    We Own the Night (Not that excited but it should be good. Phoenix, Wahlberg, and Duvall.)
    Lars and the Real Girl (Ryan Gosling is more than just an “it” boy and early buzz is that it’s far more than a seeming one joke premise.)
    Sleuth (Michael Caine in another re-make of one of his own movies. Jude Law co-stars.)

    10/26: Run, Fatboy, Run (Simon Pegg. I’m there.)
    Dan in Real Life (Steve Carell, hooray! Dane Cook…yeah, not so much. Seeing it for Steve.)

    11/2: American Gangster (As long as Denzel doesn’t give another overwrought “Training Day”-style performance this should be great. Besides, Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor. All good things.)
    Bee Movie (Jerry Seinfeld voices a bee. Yeah, I’ll watch that.)
    Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (Love the Clash so I’ve gotta check it out.)
    The Kite Runner (Marc Forster’s becoming one of my favorite directors and he never makes the same movie twice.)

    11/9: Fred Claus (It might be fun.)
    No Country For Old Men (The Coen Brothers and Tommy Lee Jones. Word.)
    Southland Tales (Richard Kelly’s long-awaited follow up to “Donnie Darko” has been declared a disaster or a masterpiece depending on who you ask. I’ll see for myself.)
    Lions For Lambs (Could be great. Or it could bludgeon us over the head with a political message stick.)

    11/16: Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (From Zach Helm, the writer of the underrated “Stranger Than Fiction.” Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, and Jason Bateman. Looks like a lot of fun.)
    Margot at the Wedding (From Noah Baumbach who made “The Squid and the Whale.” Darkish comedy with Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Jack Black.)

    11/30: Cassandra’s Dream (British drama from Woody Allen starring Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell. If it’s anywhere near as good as “Match Point” then it’s going to be great.)

    12/7: Atonement (Joe Wright’s follow-up to “Pride and Prejudice” with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy is already being hailed as a masterpiece.)
    Leatherheads (George Clooney directed comedy about old-time football with John Krasinski and Jonathan Pryce. Heck yeah!)

    12/14: I am Legend (Will Smith is the last man on earth but he still has things to kill. Oh you know I’m seeing this one.)
    Juno (Jason Reitman’s follow-up to “Thank You For Smoking” with “Hard Candy’s” Ellen Page and “Arrested Development” and “Superbad’s” Michael Cera.)

    12/21: Sweeney Todd (The sixth pairing of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Haven’t gone wrong together yet.)
    Walk Hard (This actually looks really awful to me but I like everyone involved with it. Here’s hoping it’s a great movie with a lousy trailer.)

    12/26: There Will Be Blood (The movie I’m most excited about the rest of the year. From “Magnolia’s” Paul Thomas Anderson.)
    The Savages (Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney as a brother and sister in a family dramedy.)

    To catch up with on DVD: Once
    Rocket Science
    Talk to Me

    I’m sure there will be some other things along the way but this ought to do for now.

    Bugs Bunny in...Edward D. Wood, Jr.'s "Glen or Glenda"

    "'Pull the string.' I like that!"

    Monday, September 17, 2007


    The mockumentary has never been more in fashion. The seeds sown by "This Is Spinal Tap" in 1984 have led to countless entries in this comedy sub-genre over the past several years. Some, such as both versions of "The Office," have been scripted, while others, such as the films of Christopher Guest have had improvised dialogue. "Chalk" falls into the latter category.
    "Chalk" is all about high school teachers and the trials they face everyday trying to maintain discipline, get respect, and hopefully, help a kid out. Like other mockumentaries it serves up the comedy with a side of squirm. What separates "Chalk" from other mocks is that it actually has some serious points to make along the way, and it makes them effectively. It even opens with the sobering statistic that 50 percent of teachers quit within the first three years. One of the subjects, Mr. Lowrey (Troy Schremmer), is in his first year as a history teacher and over the course of the year we see his slow but steady progress. He gives "Chalk" its heart and as the film nears its end we sincerely hope that he will come back next year.
    "Chalk" is not a great movie, certainly. Some of the jokes fall flat and some situations seem to far-fetched given the tone that has been established. Still, it's got a lot going for it and a cast of talented actors who have clearly put a lot of heart into their first film. Plus, it will give you an even greater respect for teachers, who deserve all they can get. "Chalk" is currently playing in Seattle at the Varsity Theater. 7.5/10.

    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    "Control" Trailer

    I have mentioned many times my love of the music of Joy Division. The story of it's tragic frontman Ian Curtis is coming to screens this October. The film, "Control," is directed by Anton Corbijn.

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    2 + 2= Violence

    It's one of the most commonly heard phrases in the English language. "Violence is never the answer." But in film it seems, violence is always the answer. So I hope to get a new phrase out into the world. One that will catch on and become a part of the lexicon. With any luck you will someday buy a t-shirt that says this and I will receive a royalty check of 18 cents for it. A t-shirt that reads "2+2= Violence." ("2+2= Violence" is an official trademark of BobCorp. and cannot be copied or reproduced without the express written consent of Major League Baseball.) The last three films I've gone to have all shown very different sides of violence. So here we go. Let's get our violence on.

    This is England- Shaun (newcomer Thomas Turgoose) is a 12 year old boy in 1983 England. His father was recently killed in the Falklands and it's just he and his mother now. Bullied at school and clearly overwhelmed, Shaun is rough around the edges but not a bad kid. On his way home from the final day of school, having been picked on yet again, a forlorn Shaun crosses paths with a group of older kids. Unlike his own peers however, these strangers are nice to him. Woody (Joseph Gilgun- remember that name) in particular takes a real shine to Shaun and makes him a part of his little gang. Instead of committing violent crime these kids take out their frustrations by doing damage to an abandoned house. In this early scene writer-director Shane Meadows shows the therapeutic nature of just bashing an inanimate object (one that doesn't clearly belong to anyone) as hard as you can. It's a far cry from what is to come.
    Sitting around at a party one night, the group of friends are interrupted by a large angry bald man with a weapon. Turns out he's just messing with them. He's brought his cell mate Combo (Stephen Graham) with him. Combo and Woody are old friends, but they've gone down considerably different paths. Like his old cell mate, Combo's got a shaved scalp and a head full of rage. When he rants about England's involvement in the Falklands Shaun takes offense and lashes out. Combo can't help but be impressed by little Shaun's bravery and takes him into his gang, one that Shaun can't really understand. Woody and most of the others know what Combo is up to and want no part of it.
    What follows is a stark and genuinely unflinching look at what true hate based on nothing can reduce people to. Watching 12 year old Shaun take part in these violent and senseless crimes makes it all the more powerful. It shows that these movements really do "get 'em when they're young." I'd only seen one Meadows film prior to this, "Once Upon a Time in the Midlands." This is a huge step up. I wouldn't have known it was the same filmmaker. The young cast of unknowns are all terrific in this, particularly Turgoose and Graham. You may remember Graham as Tommy in "Snatch," proving that this is a man with incredible range. He's my early contender for Best Supporting Actor. This is an often difficult film to watch and one that genuinely left Justin and I speechless. What can you say after a movie like this? "This is England" is currently playing at the Varsity Theater in Seattle. 9/10.

    3:10 to Yuma- Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is a broken man. Left with a bad leg from his service in the Civil War, he is a humiliated rancher. His oldest son William (Logan Lerman) is enraged by his father's lack of action when their barn is burned down by members of Ben Wade's gang. Evans has a family to look after and wants no part of a fight. But it becomes clear to him that that is what he must do to protect them. After Evans and his posse capture Wade (Russell Crowe) they have to get him on the 3:10 train to Yuma so he can be hanged. What follows is the study of these two very different men discovering what it is that makes them different and what they are surprised to learn they have in common. Crowe and Bale are both great and play off of each other very well. As Crowe's right hand man trying to catch up to the posse, Ben Foster does a fine job as well.
    James Mangold's re-make (I've never seen the original) is pretty well put together, there are some very good sequences and the acting is very good all around. So it's a shame then that "3:10 to Yuma" just didn't quite grab me the way I hoped it would. It just feels like a lot of very good elements that almost come together to make a good film. I think part of the problem is that I could never figure out over the course of the movie why Wade never makes a real attempt to escape when it's made clear throughout the film that he easily could. Is he biding his time? It never really makes sense. Not a bad movie by any means, but not the movie it had the potential to be either. 6.5/10.

    Shoot 'Em Up- I grew up on Looney Toons. Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, and most especially Daffy Duck. My brother and I would sit and watch them for hours on end and he's still the one person I can say "Well now I wouldn't say that..." to and get the proper reaction. Maybe that's why I loved "Shoot 'Em Up" so much. It reminded me of those old cartoons and afternoons with Mike.
    "Shoot 'Em Up" really is, for all intents and purposes, a live-action, bullet-ridden Bugs Bunny cartoon, right down to the way that Mr. Smith (Clive Owen) chews on a carrot in the opening shot. He does a lot of carrot chewing over the film's brief running time. He also does a lot of killing.
    The film opens with him sitting on a bench, eating his carrot in peace, when a woman in labor runs down the street, trying to flee a man with a gun. Rolling his eyes, Smith takes care of business, and when one gunman becomes twenty he REALLY takes care of business. This opening action sequence sets the tone for what is to come. After giving birth, the mother is killed and Smith is left to look after the baby. With Mr. Hertz (a wonderfully evil Paul Giamatti) and his enormous gang of thugs coming after him, Smith takes the child to the one woman he knows, Donna Quintano (Monica Bellucci). The rest of the film is one cartoon-like shoot out and action spectacular after another, with Smith trying to keep Donna, baby, and himself alive.
    The sequences imagined by writer-director Michael Davis are elaborate, inventive, and executed brilliantly. Like last year's "Crank," "Shoot 'Em Up" doesn't spend one moment taking itself seriously and relishes in over the top action. Unlike "Crank," this is a movie that has a point or two to make (along with a few choice rants from Smith- "You know what I hate?"), but it's really all about the gun play. I had an absolute blast watching this one. Twice. If you love Looney Toons (which I still do), lots of guns, and AC/DC during a skydiving sequence (and who doesn't?) then you must go see "Shoot 'Em Up." "Besides," as Mr. Hertz puts it, "violence is one of the most fun things to watch." 9/10.

    Monday, September 10, 2007

    Title of the new "Indiana Jones" is...

    Here is the official press release:

    New Indiana Jones Adventure to be Titled
    'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'

    HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (Sept. 9, 2007) – The title of the new Indiana Jones adventure, now in production under the direction of Steven Spielberg, is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it was revealed today by actor Shia LaBeouf.

    LaBeouf, who stars in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone and John Hurt, announced the title during today's MTV Video Music Awards, which were broadcast live from Las Vegas.

    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a Lucasfilm Ltd. and is being distributed by Paramount Pictures. It will be released in the U.S. and simultaneously in most territories worldwide on Thursday, May 22, 2008. Frank Marshall returns as producer, with Kathleen Kennedy joining George Lucas as executive producer.

    Bob here. So I've gotta say I'm not loving it...yet. It might be one of those things that sort of grows me. In fact that's kind of what I'm thinking. Well whatever it's called I'll be first in line to see it. I have to. For we are all just passing through history, but this...This IS history.
    I'm sorry. I just can't resist quoting Belloq.

    Still to come...
    Reviews of "This Is England," "3:10 to Yuma," and "Shoot 'Em Up."

    For now I leave you with these amazing trailers:

    "The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford" (September 21):

    Full length for "There Will Be Blood" (December 26):

    Friday, September 07, 2007

    2 Films in Paris...and "Halloween."

    Gotten a little behind so here we go:

    2 Days in Paris- Marion (Julie Delpy, "Before Sunset") and Jack (Adam Goldberg, "Saving Private Ryan") have been traveling Europe for the past two weeks. Before they head back home to New York however they're stopping over for a quick visit with her parents in Paris. Already exhausted from the previous couple of weeks, the couple are a bit edgy. Early on Jack takes it out on an American tour group, intentionally sending them off in the wrong direction when they want to find the Louvre.
    These two have clearly been together for awhile. They're able to snap at one another one moment and be perfectly fine the next, transitioning with ease. They still have trouble communicating, particularly when Marion insists on speaking her native French to people they meet on the street. She knows this drives Jack crazy. He just wants to know what the conversation is about and he's the odd man out. This happens throughout the film, with her parents (played by Delpy's real parents), old boyfriends, and a racist cabbie.
    Delpy's directorial debut comes from her own script and what's really impressive is that she seems to be very critical of herself. Marion is extremely irrational and hypocritical. It's fine for her to flirt with all of her old boyfriends but when she spies Jack just having an innocent conversation with her sister red flags go up.
    Like the film she previously co-wrote, the amazing "Before Sunset," "2 Days" is a film where all of the character and story development is based upon conversation. Some of it seems a bit contrived here and there but for the most part it clicks. I look forward to Delpy's next stab at directing. It's currently playing in Seattle at the Harvard Exit. 8/10.

    Paris je t'aime- Well it only took me three months but I finally made it to this collection of short films from filmmakers from around the world. These are all about finding love in Paris and are all very unique. Some highlights include one from the Coen brothers about a tourist in a subway station (a literally speechless Steve Buscemi) who makes the mistake of making eye contact. The story of a grieving mother (Juliette Binoche) trying to find some peace, an engaged couple (Rufus Sewell and Emily Mortimer) looking for Oscar Wilde's grave (a bloodless offering from Wes Craven), Tom Tykwer's story of a blind man and an actress (Natalie Portman), and Alexander Payne's tale of a middle-aged American woman traveling through Paris alone. Some of these shorts are comic, some dramatic, and while some are decidedly better than others, none of them are truly bad. Unlike "The Ten" and "Coffee and Cigarettes," these shorts come together well as a complete film, even if it is still a bit inconsistent. "Paris je t'aime" is currently playing in Seattle at the Metro. 8/10.

    Halloween- With my second attempt to view it successful I am now able to say I actually saw Rob Zombie's re-make of "Halloween." First I have to admit something terrible. I've never seen the original John Carpenter film. I know, I know. I'll see it one of these days. Just judging this movie on its own merit however, I've gotta say it was surprisingly pretty good. This film attempts to explain the background of the silent masked killer, Michael Myers. Zombie does an effective job of this during the first 45 minutes of the film. Daeg Faerch is genuinely chilling as the ten year old Myers and Sheri Moon Zombie does a fine job as his frustrated but loving mother. Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) tries to help the boy in a mental institution but is unable to do so and on Halloween night, a decade and a half after his first killing spree, Michael breaks out and goes on another rampage. It's all pretty straight forward and yes, it's a bloody mess. For whatever reason this movie just sort of works for me. Zombie is a talented filmmaker. He puts together horror sequences very well and has assembled for himself a good cast, including Brad Dourif, Udo Kier, and William Forsythe. The highlight: At about the halfway point Ken Foree (Peter from the original "Dawn of the Dead") shows up as a trucker who has a run in with the escaped Michael. If you're interested this is worth checking out. Just see it during the day so you have a chance at a decent audience. 7/10.

    Monday, September 03, 2007

    How Not To Be An Audience Member

    "You're going to burn in a very special level of Hell. A level they reserve for child molesters... and people who talk at the theater."- Shepherd Book, "Firefly."

    I have been to a great many movies in my time. One of my absolute favorite things to do. I love sitting in front of that screen and getting sucked into a story, another world. And nothing, absolutely nothing does more to ruin that experience than people who don't know how to shut up. It's one of the rudest things imaginable.
    You're in an audience full of other people. For many of them it may be their one chance all week to relax and truly enjoy themselves. All they want is to sit there and be entertained, or moved. And what do you decide to do? You decide to chatter. To walk in and out of the theater repeatedly three people at a time and make sure that everyone else notices you. To text message throughout the movie, the light shining for everyone nearby to see. (JUST TURN THE PHONE OFF! Don't silence it, don't set it to vibrate. TURN. IT. OFF.) To make comments at full volume that no one actually wants to hear. To laugh at things that aren't even remotely funny. To laugh at things that aren't even unintentionally funny. To bring your baby to a movie that starts at night. A horror movie at night. And then when someone turns around and asks you to stop talking, what do you do? You look around at your friends and you look puzzled as to how anyone could possibly be annoyed by your constant chatter and utter disregard for anyone but yourself.
    Absolutely every single example I just gave you occurred last night at the 10:35 PM screening of "Halloween" at the Marysville 14. The worst part is I'm not sure if it's the actual worst audience I've ever been in. My "X-Men 3" (also Marysville) and "Miami Vice" (Alderwood Mall) experiences are right up there too.
    Throughout the film Justin and I stewed in silence, trying in vain to enjoy the movie (and what I saw of it was actually pretty good, surprisingly). At a certain point it just started to become comical. We'd been taken out of the movie so many times that it almost didn't seem to matter anymore. But then it started to get to me again. The guy behind us had walked in 20 minutes late and made sure to speak at full volume as he walked in and sat with his friends. He then had to make constant comments about who or what was happening on screen. It's like he was trying to impress people with his VAST knowledge of film. "That's Sheri Moon Zombie," he'd say. Or, "Oh, they can't kill her. She's the one who becomes Jamie Lee Curtis." Thank you, IMDB. I'm so glad that you could take human form and educate me while I'm watching it. Are they recording DVD commentary tracks in actual theatrical screenings now? With people who had absolutely nothing to do with the making of the film? I hope so 'cause you rock, man!
    I finally did what I've never actually done before as an audience member. I stood up, turned around and said, "Can you stop talking please?" I sounded pretty mad but I was actually a lot more polite than I could have been or wanted to be. The reason I never do that is because you never know how a stranger is wired and I don't want to be pummeled for making a reasonable request to an unreasonable person. But this guy was different. He outnerded even me. I felt tough. After saying this he and his friends looked at one another utterly confused. They were all so shocked that someone didn't want to hear all of their clever and insightful remarks.
    Justin turned to me, and like someone who actually cares about the people around him, even when they don't deserve it, whispered. "You wanna just go?"
    "Yes," I said. And so we walked out. Quietly. Not sending text messages. Or pounding on the wall as we walked down the hallway. I could write a whole other one of these about snickering Seattle people at art house movies but I'll save that one for another day. My only hope is that Michael Myers actually stepped out of the screen and treated everyone in that audience the way he treated his on screen victims. Then maybe I can watch a movie in peace.
    This has been a public service announcement.