Thursday, July 24, 2014

Riske Business: 31 Days at the Movie Theater (Days 14-20)

by Adam Riske
I’m about to crack.

Read Days 1-6 here and days 7-13 here.

July 14th
Movie: Obvious Child
The boost I got from seeing Life Itself again on day 13 was short lived. Day 14 was quite the sucky day at the movies. I went to re-watch Obvious Child. I think it’s a smart and brave comedy with a wonderful performance from Jenny Slate. It’s all the more impressive because it put me in some awkward places philosophically. The issue had nothing to do with the movie itself. The problem was an elderly couple talking.

I used to think teenagers were the worst moviegoers in terms of being disruptive, but no, it’s elderly couples. They comment on the dumbest shit (at least teenagers are trying to make each other laugh, which makes sense to me), they’re loud, they sit directly in front of you, etc. How in the hell can they not know any better by now? Do they just not give a shit?

Elderly couples are mostly retired, so I’m assuming they see each other all the time. Don’t you think they can find a way to manage to be quiet for two hours?

If you are an older person who reads this column, know that I’m not talking about you and also thank you for reading. But please, someone explain to me why seniors are the worst when it comes to going to the movies.

My biggest movie-related pet peeve is talking (in any language -- they all make sound, which sometimes people seem to forget). Question for the readers: what do you do when one of those talkers is your friend or your spouse? It’s a tough position to be in. I wave my hand at them like “shutup, shutup, shutup, not right now.”

July 15th
Movie: Think Like a Man Too

I really didn’t want to go out to see a movie today. I watched Snowpiercer and Jodorowsky’s Dune again on VOD yesterday and was reminded of how wonderful watching a movie at home can be. But, in the spirit of this challenge, I had to go out and see a movie. The problem is THERE IS NOTHING LEFT TO SEE!!!!! Ugh!

I’ve seen everything. I’ve got no options. It’s down to Third Person, Think Like a Man Too and seeing the X-Men movie I didn’t even like again. This challenge sucks and it’s not even half over. AAAAAAGGGHH! There are movies I want to watch on VOD but that doesn’t count. Stupid movie theaters. Why can’t you show The Congress or Video Games: The Movie? GRRRRRRRR!

Before going to the theater (still having no idea what I would see, I’ll pick when I get there), I went out to have some dinner and texted my friend Nick:

Me: “I think I’m going to quit the movie challenge tonight.”

Nick: “Don’t do it man! You’re going to be so mad at yourself.”

Me: “Fuck.”

Nick: “You’re too far along.”

So I went and saw Think Like a Man Too, which is not very good despite a likeable cast. The first one was better but neither are worth seeking out. But the lowlight of the moviegoing experience was can be best described by a text I sent to Nick when I entered the theater.

Me: “2 people are basically fucking in the back of this theater.”

July 16th 
Movie: Pretty Woman
I’m still feeling depressed by this challenge. I need a sure thing. I’ve had two bad experiences in a row at the theaters and I need a pick me up. So why not from a hooker? Hence, Pretty Woman.

AMC was screening Pretty Woman as part of their classics series and apparently demand was not high to see Pretty Woman in a theater because I was one of three people in a huge auditorium to see this movie. The print was awful. I am guessing it was digital, but it looked like a VHS copy. The experience itself was nice because I enjoy the movie and I haven’t seen it in a long time. That Julia Roberts was pretty charming back in 1990, right? And I think I’m coming to the realization that I’m a big Richard Gere fan, which is interesting.

Note: I have a crush on Kit more than Vivian. She looks like she’s better at sex is what I’m saying. I would have picked up Kit for those 1990 bargain basement hooker prices.

Note #2: Don’t pick up hookers. You don’t know where they’ve been and you deserve better. F real people with home addresses and parents who love them.

July 17th

Movie: Sex Tape
Thank goodness for new releases on Thursdays. I was out of movies to see and now I have Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, Wish I Was Here and Boyhood to fill up a few days. Tonight I’m going to see Sex Tape at the movie theater/restaurant by my place so I can knock out eating dinner and seeing my movie of the day all at once.

I used to not like movie theater/restaurants, but now I’m coming around on them a bit. They’re kind of nice in a way. For example, Sex Tape was flabbergastingly terrible, so at least I could say the experience wasn’t all bad because I had a BBQ Chicken Pizza and a Diet Coke, which were delicious.

Don’t go see Sex Tape. It’s the worst. It’s barely a movie. I laughed twice – once with the movie and once at the movie. It’s not nearly as raunchy as it should be and skinny Jason Segel looks like a CGI version of himself. I was embarrassed for the actors in this movie to be honest. It plays like one of those horrible '80s comedies that a cast member from Cheers would have done during the show’s summer hiatus.

I left the theater bummed out and wanting this challenge to be over. I called my parents when I got home to complain about my month and whine a little bit.

Note: Cameron Diaz looks super foxy in Sex Tape, so that was at least nice.

July 18th

Movies: The Purge: Anarchy, Chef
Well, with the new weekend movies off to a poor start, I was really hoping The Purge: Anarchy would deliver the exploitation goods. After all, it stars Frank Grillo, who is a cool actor.

The experience was weird. Have you ever noticed how sometimes when you see a “tough guy” movie, the people in the theater take on a tough guy stance? I had that happen this time. I swear I got the stink eye for some reason from two people who made Purge Face at me. Oooh, scary! I kid but it actually was kind of scary.

Before The Purge: Anarchy, I saw a trailer for a spinoff of The Conjuring about the doll, Annabelle. That sounds sweet. Scary Movie Month!!!! I also saw the trailer for Get on Up for the billionth time. I hate that trailer for three reasons: 1) are they just going to overlook that James Brown regularly beat up his wife? 2) Mick Jagger mentions that every download and CD I own is influenced by James Brown. Bullshit. I own Silverchair’s greatest hits. How is that influenced by James Brown? and 3) Chadwick Boseman needs to get a brand new bag (see what I did there). Who is he going to play next? Rosa Parks?

I did not care for The Purge: Anarchy, though it is better than the first movie. My beef is with the stance the movie takes that all rich (white) people are evil and want to kill all the non-rich people. For a piece of entertainment, it just feels icky to me. I’m probably overreacting, but whatever, it’s how I honestly feel.

In fact, I was so bummed out by The Purge: Anarchy that afterwards I went and watched the last half of Chef just as a pick me up.

Note: In the lobby I saw a cardboard standee for Annie and I just have to say that trashy Cameron Diaz looks super cute – like Kit in Pretty Woman.

July 19th

Movie: Wish I Was Here, Boyhood
Double feature Saturday! JB sent me a text saying that Boyhood was a masterpiece, so I was anxiously awaiting seeing it but first I had to see the new Zach Braff movie, which I’ll go into detail on elsewhere – i.e. in my review.

The usher took my ticket, saw that I was seeing Wish I Was Here and asked me to let him know what I thought on the way out. So I saw the movie and I did. It’s always flattering when someone asks me for my opinion. I don’t know. It sort of makes my day.

Then I went to see Boyhood and oh…my…G-D! It’s fucking fantastic. Boyhood is now my favorite movie of 2014. I don’t even know where to start except to say it’s wonderful, sweet and insanely involving. Go see it as soon as you can.

P.S. Ethan Hawke deserves to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Boyhood. Was he always this good? Or did he get this good over time?

When I see a movie like Boyhood, I am elated and the thought of having 12 more days of this challenge left seem like a piece of cake. I am no longer movie depressed. Until tomorrow when this all might change again. It’s a roller coaster, people.

July 20th
Movies: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (70mm) and Patton (70mm)
The Music Box Theatre is in the middle of a two week 70mm festival which I unfortunately did not have the opportunity to make it to until today. I caught the last half of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, which I had never seen before, and I loved what I saw. It helped that it was a packed theater full of people who LOVED what they were seeing as well. They laughed -- a lot and loud. I haven’t heard that much laughing and cheering at a movie in a while. I’m eager to rent it and catch up on the first 90 minutes that I missed. I also saw Patton for the first time, which needless to say is very good as well. Man, I love the Music Box. They have such creative and interesting programming. I mentioned before in my columns that this theatre’s schedule has sort of acted as my post-collegiate film studies syllabus and I am indebted to the folks at the Music Box, especially the programmers, for helping to guide me to so many classic and alternative films.

In summation of Week 3, most of it was a drag but the weekend gave me the spurt of energy I desperately needed. I’m starting to think, however, that this challenge will change my moviegoing habits beginning in August. I don’t think I’ll ever give up going to the theaters, but I can see myself going less and staying home to watch more movies on Blu-ray or Netflix streaming. The allure of going to the theater is slowly evaporating for me.

Tune in next week as I’ll discuss monster fests, apes kicking my ass D-Box style and if I can still manage to see a movie the same night I have a date. The challenge is in doubt. Will a fair maiden get in the way of me completing this epic quest?


  1. I enjoy reading about your progress and it's great you are finding the motivation to see it through. At the same time, it is probably good that you plan to reduce the frequency come August.

    1. Thanks Ivan! I'm really looking forward to August. I've been meaning to start watching movies from home more often for a while and this seems to be the cure to really motivating me to do that.


  2. John MurphyJuly 24, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    I hate to say it, but your pain is my pleasure in this scenario. It's very entertaining to read about your experiences, whether they be good or bad. That said, I'm glad things picked up for you at the end of the week.

    - Only a little a little over a week longer until I can see the masterpiece that is Boyhood! I can hardly contain my excitement and anticipation! I'm glad you loved it as much as everyone else seems to.

    - Another thing about Wish I Was Here: I hate that title. It sounds dumb, and possibly grammatically incorrect (shouldn't it be "Wish I Were Here," since it's referring to a hypothetical situation?). That movie bugs me on multiple levels, and I haven't even seen it yet.

    - Old people were the culprits who hampered my Dawn of the Planet of the Apes showing. I was with my dad seeing the movie, and after a while he finally had to go over there and shush them. A few minutes later, the husband of the couple came up to us (while the movie was still going, mind you) and said something like "I'm sorry, my wife and I don't hear to well," which completely baffled me because if you don't hear well, why are you trying to talk over the thing you should be focusing on listening to? Or was he talking about the conversation he was having with his wife that he couldn't hear, causing him to talk louder, which he shouldn't have been doing in the first place? Either way, it was a total bummer. I hope I never get old.

    But as far as what to do regarding someone you are close to being the talker, I still don't think I'd sugar coat it. I would just politely whisper, "please be quiet, your talking is affecting my experience."

    1. I really hope you like Boyhood. Let us know what you think when you see it. It's something I look forward to revisiting later this year when I'm rewatching stuff for my top 10 list.

  3. Great column, Riske - keep up the good work! Except...

    Being a follower of yours on Twitter I've been privy to your crisis in real time - I just assumed the commitment of it was driving you a little crazy, as it would to me. I didn't know there was a GIRL involved - that changes everything! Our own Dr. David Banner offered you some words of encouragement from Rocky. Well, I'd remind you of something else from Rocky - he doesn't win the fight! And he doesn't care! Some might say he's triumphant because he went out there and tried his best and did better than anyone thought he would. F that. He's triumphant because he's got Adrian and nothing else matters (until Rocky II - then the fighting matters because whatever bitch I've got my own life to live) - love conquers all!

    I admire your perseverance and I'm not sure if the fair maiden gets in the way of your completing your quest or not - I'm hoping she doesn't - but if she does, I understand. I mean hell, if Leia had suggested she and Luke go make love in the jungle and skip the Battle of Yavin, he'd have been all, "Later Biggs!"

    P.S. I'd take Laura San Giacomo over Julia Roberts any day!

    P.P.S. In double-checking Biggs' name I discovered his full name is Biggs DARKLIGHTER. Fuck off.

    1. I stand by the Rocky advice, because it wasn't about whether he won or lost, it was about going the distance and proving he could last 12 rounds against the champ.

      Also, totally agree on Biggs Darklighter. Names like that (Jek Porkins? FUCK YOU.) pull me out of a movie faster than just about anything.

    2. Heheh - wasn't dissing the Rocky advice, just augmenting it! :)

    3. Thanks everyone. I'll go the distance. No lady will stand in the way. That's what August is for - love.

  4. You've found the theatergoing equivalent of binge-watching horror in October. Come November all I want are Disney movies and romantic comedies. At least Scary Movie Month has thousands upon thousands of movies to choose from instead of three or four terrible ones.

    That said, keep it up man! You can do it! Fold in your dating life. It worked for the people in the back row at Think Like a Man, Too.

    1. I can't wait to binge watch horror in October. Doesn't it sound so great right about now? I usually am still in horror mode until mid November and then I'm ready for lighter movies and Oscar bait. My horror jones usually kicks in right around August.

    2. I'm in Guardians of the Galaxy mode right now, but in a couple of weeks I'll be looking down the barrel of Fall and feel that Scary Movie itch.

  5. You can do it Alpha!

    1. Thanks Brad! I love that montage. It's the best part of that movie :-)

  6. I want to go to the movies with you, Adam!!!

    I really wanted to go to the PRETTY WOMAN screening... it sounds like I did not miss anything?!!? That makes me feel a little better. But only a little.

    1. If it helps, you and I can just spend the weekend quoting to each other.

    2. We can double date and see The Fluffy Movie. Erika and Patrick. Adam and Kit. She's a sure thing.

  7. You sure do whine a lot.

    1. I would whine too, Adam. This sounds just miserable. Godspeed, August is only a few days away. #BluRay #Streaming #Couch

    2. Oh man, does BluRay Streaming Couch sound great!

  8. Rarely have I seen such commitment. This is like "Super Size Me" for the F This Movie audience. Thanks Adam!

  9. You definitely have to check out Mad World in whole. I'm pretty sure it's the only 2.5 hour comedy that works start to finish. I was there Sunday and it was the first time I saw it with a crowd of people and it made it that much more special. The audience's response to all of the cameos was nuts. Hang in there Adam!

    1. That crowd was incredible. One of the best I've ever been in at the Music Box.

  10. You're a brave man. This is a fascinating column. Now I'm interested to know if this is strictly a "too much of a good thing" scenario, or with the advancement of home theaters, was theater going already going by the wayside for you?

    Keep on keeping on.

    1. Before this month I was going to the theaters a lot. I think it's a too much of a good thing scenario. I'll still see the August releases I want to see (in theaters) but I think I'll take about 2 weeks off after this challenge is over. Going to the movies doesn't feel very special right now and I want to get that back.

    2. Too bad there's not a drive in by you. I would love to read a write up about that adventure.

    3. There are a couple not too far but they're showing stuff like Planes 2 :-(

  11. Great column Adam, hang in there only a few days to go. I'm stuck in Orlando right now (Chicago movin up this fall!) and my theatre options while on the technical side are pretty great, the audiences tend to be the WORST! with little kids in the audience at the Purge Anarchy and phones galore. My one area of cool is the Enzian theatre in downtown Orlando which has an outdoor bar and restaurant as well as cool seating with movies shown on good old 35mm film. Nowadays I still love seeing movies at the multiplex but I avoid theme park theatres and seeing movies on the weekend.

    Once you get away a bit Adam you'll be all good man.

    1. Early welcome to Chicago! Go to the Music Box immediately when you get here.

    2. I have to take this moment to bond with my Orlando brother Tom (who is apparently leaving me?), here. I agree with his assessment of some of our theaters being filled with audiences that are not the greatest, especially around Disney, and the Enzian is, indeed, the best! It's the only place in town I know of that is showing Boyhood in the next few days. Thank goodness for theaters that get smaller releases!

    3. I'll always remember seeing that Tyrese movie Waist Deep at the Pleasure Island theaters on the Disney property. There was a dude who was imitating a high speed chase as it was happening on screen, complete with kicking my seat because it was apparently the gas pedal.

    4. Yep, that sounds pretty much par for the course with Pleasure Island.

  12. Thanks Adam, I actually was up in Chicago last year and got to see Pee Wee's Big Adventure at a midnight Musicbox screening, it was pretty awesome.