Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Day At The AMC Oscar Showcase

The following article was initially published in the DePaul University newspaper:

Last Saturday, the AMC River East 21 theater, in conjunction with other major AMC theaters around the country, held a showcase of all five Best Picture Oscar nominees. The films were run marathon-style, at a length of twelve hours total. I went with two friends, and logged my time there. Now, for those of you with less time on your hands, here’s what it’s like to spend an entire day in a movie theater (warning: plot spoilers ahead):

11:00 – “Michael Clayton” begins. We haven’t yet boarded the El.

11:25 – The announcement comes over the El that the Red Line is on elevated tracks today. Well, this sucks. The Grand stop is the only fast route to this theater.

11:50 – We get off at State and walk the rest of the way, and arrive to find that the theater, to our surprise, is packed. Front row seats and neck pain for us.

12:20 – Tom Wilkinson’s character gets killed. He’s really good in this. It’s a shame he has no chance at winning the Oscar.

12:40 – My friend was kind enough to fill her purse with enough contraband food to last us the entire day. Can the human body subsist on Mike & Ikes? Let’s find out.

1:00 – One movie down. I’ve seen it before, but it’s still pretty good. Most people are talking about the other movies coming later in the day. Not a good sign for its Oscar chances.

1:20 – “There Will Be Blood” begins. We get slightly better seats. Two rows back, but hey.

1:40 – Daniel Day-Lewis in this part = Gold.

2:00 – I leave to pick up a tripod from the CTI building.

2:40 – Fun Fact: People stare at you like you’re a freak when you sprint down Michigan Avenue with a tripod around your back.

3:00 – I’m back. Daniel Plainview just killed his brother, and we’re now on to the awesome part of the movie.

3:40 – The guy’s drooling, screaming about milkshakes and killing a man with a bowling pin. The ending to this movie might be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

4:00 – Second movie over. Nobody gets it. Loud-talking girls behind me start yelling about how excited they are for “Juno” later. Ugh.

4:20 – “Atonement” begins. Friends hid the tripod a row down so as to make me flip out. Not cool. Also, we upgrade seats again.

4:40 – This entire movie looks like a perfume commercial.

5:00 – Apparently, when you write steamy letters, you get convicted as a rapist and sent to fight in wars. Am I the only person who finds this a logic jump? Anyone?

5:20 – So the whole movie’s about the little girl? I hate her. And thus, I greatly dislike the movie. Fantastic visuals, though.

5:40 – The already-classic Dunkirk one-take shot. For a film geek, this is nirvana.

6:20 – Third movie over. Okay, it picks up somewhat in the third act, but this was better than “Into The Wild” or “Sweeney Todd” how, exactly?

6:40 – We now get a dinner break. Time for Chipotle. We’re almost out of overpriced Country Market food.

7:00 – “Juno” begins. My friends and I enjoy burritos in the theater. I need to do this more often...

7:30 – I came into this open-minded, but I still don’t get why this is apparently the best thing ever.

7:50 - The above statement still applies, but I think I’m in love with Ellen Page. Me and about a million other people. Sigh...

8:10 – I’m one of two people in the theater to laugh at a Sonic Youth joke. Double sigh...

8:30 – Alright, the ending is adorable. However, still not the amazing movie it’s being made out to be. Still better than “Atonement” though. Seriously, that movie was terribly mediocre.

9:00 – They saved the best for last. “No Country For Old Men” begins. This is now my fourth time seeing this in theaters.

9:10 – My friend swoons over Chigurh. I start getting very scared.

9:30 – Javier Bardem is absolutely horrifying in this. The Prince Valiant haircut just adds to it.

9:40 – Every time I see this, I marvel a little more at how Josh Brolin is pretty much a descendant of MacGyver in this movie. He can do anything with any random assortment of objects. Also, he was Brand in “The Goonies”. Double points.

10:05 – Woody Harrelson pops up.

10:20 – Woody Harrelson dies. That was short-lived.

10:30 – Brolin’s dead too. Ah, time for the uber-anticlimax. I’m waiting for the
audience to be pissed.

10:40 – I love how the entire audience shouts expletives in fright every time Chigurh appears onscreen.

10:50 – Tommy Lee Jones looks like my grandfather, I swear to God. Also, having read the book this was based on, he was the perfect guy for this part. The audience is starting to ask what’s going on.

11:00 – The last film of the day ends. That’s still the best movie of the films nominated. As it’s been at the other screenings, people are either preaching its brilliance as we leave, or complaining about the ending. I still say it symbolically fits.

11:15 – We leave the theater. It’s really late, and I couldn’t be more satisfied at having spent my Saturday in this fashion.


Jacqueline said...

Fabulous Dominick. A great read all the way through. Now I am looking forward to seeing No Country for Old Men.

Amy D. said...

This one time when I was convicted as a rapist through these letters that I sent, I was sent to war too. So I think Atonement is totally relatable. But that's just me.