by Adam Riske
Seeing a movie in a theater for 31 straight days is a ludicrous undertaking, but before I continue I would be remiss not to acknowledge that this has been done before FOR A YEAR! That journey is chronicled in the book A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey by Kevin Murphy. But he’s not Adam Riske so, yeah, read my account instead!
Why am I doing this? That’s a good question. I think some of it has to do with boredom. Another part of it is after returning to video stores for 30 days last summer, I was looking for a new summer movie challenge. Or perhaps I just wanted to destroy my life and love of movies. That last part is a joke. I think. We’ll find out as the month progresses.
In any event, I’m hoping this experiment will make for an entertaining and interesting series of Riske Business columns. This experiment will be the focus of my non-review writing for the next five weeks. I hope you enjoy it and I encourage your comments and suggestions as I go along. My journey will include attending the Music Box’s 70mm film festival, visiting an array of mom & pop stand-alone theaters with gimmicks like having a connected deli or a soda fountain, buying the most expensive movie ticket I can find at one of those rich people theaters and going back to the movie theater I went to all the time when I was in college at Indiana University (I’m visiting the campus as a trip of nostalgia after graduating 10 years ago). If you have a request such as “Go to a drive-in,” I’ll take it under advisement and will probably do it if it’s not something goofy, dangerous or expensive.
My goal with these columns is to not only discuss the movies I am seeing and provide my opinion of them, but to also put you in the brain of someone conducting this experiment and detail what it is like for an avid filmgoer.
This first column will cover the first six days of the challenge.
Note: In prep for this undertaking, I did not see a movie in theaters for 10 days leading up to July 1st. This was my palette cleanse before the Scarface mound of movies I snort throughout all of July.
Movie: Begin Again
Don’t you just love the feeling you have after seeing a movie that connects with you? On my way home from Begin Again, I listened to the radio and felt lifted up. A good movie makes music sound better and compels you to start singing. You just want to get home to post on Twitter or text friends that the movie you just saw was something special. This was a great way to start my 31 day challenge.
Note: Before the movie, I saw the trailer for The Hundred-Foot Journey. It looks terrible, but now I cannot stop saying “I will turn the music down, but I WILL TURN THE HEAT UP!!!!”
Movie: Transformers: Age of Extinction
Edge of Tomorrow and snuck into Transformers. They’re not getting my money.
To my surprise, I didn’t hate the movie. In fact, it’s probably the second best in the series after the original. I didn’t enjoy it, though, so don’t get confused and think this is a recommendation. It’s way too long and pretty boring. However, the comic relief is cut way down and the robots are easier to tell apart this time. So, you know, progress or something.
One thing worth noting is that I saw the movie directly after work and seeing a movie in your business clothes sucks. I was antsy the whole movie because I didn’t want to be in a dress shirt and dress pants any longer. So I took them off.
Movie: 22 Jump Street
Being that the theater was nearly empty and I was sitting in the back, I decided to text myself my thoughts to put into this column for later. Here’s what I wrote:
“Why am I doing this?”
“They don’t make enough good movies to go to the movies 31 straight days”
“I kinda don’t want to go to the movies for a few days”
“What am I going to see all of these days?”
I was on a movie high after Snowpiercer which is simply great, imaginative science fiction. It’s exciting, interesting and fresh. Definitely seek this movie out. Man, is it great to see an awesome action movie on the 4th of July.
Note: Before Snowpiercer, I saw the trailer for A Most Wanted Man for the umpteenth time. I love Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s accent in that trailer especially when he says Bearrrr-rrra-coooo-daaaa.
Movies: Aliens and Chef
Four days in and I’m doing fairly well. Having two out of the first four movies be really good certainly gave me the boost to keep going. But on the fifth day, I hit a wall and felt like quitting for the first time.
I decided for day five to knock out my movie as early as possible by seeing a midnight show of Aliens at the Music Box Theatre. Unfortunately, not knowing how traffic would be after the fireworks on the 4th of July, I left my apartment way too early and got to the Music Box around 10:45pm. Shit, I’m going to have to kill time for at least 45 minutes, which means walking around Wrigleyville alone. So I did. I got to see many DIY fireworks shows by the twentysomethings of the neighborhood. It was fun and also a little tiring. Try walking for 45 minutes and then being in the mood to see a movie. It’s tough.
So I sat down for Aliens and immediately felt groggy. I felt a walkout in the works. Fuck. How should I count this? Does it continue the streak? Or if I bail does that mean I can’t count the movie for day five?
The print for Aliens was cool. It was all beat up and scratchy like a grindhouse movie. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough and I fell asleep in the theater. After 90 minutes I woke up and walked out so I could drive home. Movie fail! I was going to have to do a make-good.
Later in the day I went to a single screen mom and pop theater called The Catlow, which is connected to a deli. The Catlow is an interesting place. It’s a theater that stayed open, when it was on the ropes in 2002, because of the release of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which was so popular at this theater that it played for almost six months straight. Keeping that in mind, Chef PLAYED at this theater. It was like I was at the premiere or something. The people at The Catlow loved this movie.
Movie: Deliver Us from Evil
I kept hearing about the iPic Theaters and how nice they are, so I decided to try one out for the first time for an early morning showing of Deliver Us from Evil. The movie itself is skippable. It starts out ok but gets tedious and less interesting as it goes along.
As for the theater, I was super impressed with it in some ways. First off, I was alone in the theater, so it was like having a private screening room with a butler service bringing me food. I felt like a rich person, so that part was great. Plus I got a pillow, blanket and a recliner to sit in. It was sweet!
The bad part about iPic (something I knew going in) is that IT IS a rich person’s theater. I got food and purchased a ticket and guess how much seeing fucking Deliver Us from Evil cost me? 58 dollars!!!!!
The experience was a blast, but it’s not worth $58 for one person. For $58, I should have two bathing girls feeding me grapes. For $58, they should offer a happy ending and I’m not talking about for Deliver Us from Evil.
The scariest part of the movie was when the servers snuck up on me in the theater to check if I needed more food. It was the sole jump scare of the experience.
So, that’s it for week one. So far, so good. A couple bumps in the road but I’m not hating life.
Tune in for more next week.