Thursday, July 31, 2014

Riske Business: 31 Days at the Movie Theater (Day 21-27)

by Adam Riske

Read Days 1-6 here, Days 7-13 here and Days 14-20 here

July 21st

Movie: Snowpiercer
I really want to stop going to the movies for a while (or until Guardians of the Galaxy or Lucy). When I got to the theater tonight I honestly did not have a plan. I didn’t even look at the showtimes. I just went because I knew I had to.

Inside the theater I was like a bum just wandering around, hoping to find some magic theater with a display that struck my fancy. Every corner I turned was Transformers this or Tammy that or How to Train Your Dragon 2. Ain’t nobody got time for dat.

I walked into Begin Again for a few minutes but was like “I’m sure I’ll need this later this month…I shouldn’t watch half of it now.” Plus, there was no one in the theater and for some reason that freaked me out like all of a sudden the theater would chant “PERSON ALERT” and the movie authorities would come in and whisk me away because they knew I was theater hopping.

Lucky for me, Snowpiercer was about to start so I saw that again even though I’ve seen it twice already. It’s very re-watchable. I’m unoriginal but I know what I like and I like Snowpiercer. More Kronole!

This just goes to show you how DESPERATE I am to find anything to watch on some nights. Man, I can’t wait for this month to be over. I may never go to the movies again. Note: I played two races on the Fast and the Furious arcade game in the lobby. Because RIP Brian O’ Connor.

July 22nd

Movie: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (D-Box)
All I wanted to do tonight was get into my pj’s and watch baseball but NOOOOOOO I had to see a movie. G-D Dammit!!

I chose seeing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes AGAIN because that’s all I can do at this point -- see movies AGAIN. It stinks. I just want to see something new and good. Hollywood should look into releasing seven new movies a week for people like me. It would have been so clutch if they did that this month.

I saw Apes in the DBOX motion seats (or Kobox as Patrick called them via text). It cost $18, which sucks but it’s ok -- I got change to throw. The seat seemed bored and indifferent...or maybe it internalized how I feel. It’s probably that. After a while every motion felt the same whether I was swinging with the apes or getting pushed to the ground like Jason Clarke does in that movie. When you’re sitting in a motion seat for Apes, you notice quickly how often people get pushed to the ground in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The only time the seat didn’t feel bland was when there was gunfire. That was anything but bland. It was like someone was rapid farting on your back. I paid extra for this? Smart move, Riske. Smart move. P.S. DBOX makes you into a Pissbox. I had to get up three times.

Note: Before the movie, the Muvico theater chain decided to close the box office so I had to use the automated ticket machine. Normally I like this because I can avoid lines, but this machine was so terrible. It took me literally five or more minutes to choose a movie, select a seat and pay. Every time I pressed the square to pick out a seat it would do nothing. I looked like an ape just pressing buttons randomly. When I succeeded, I clapped my hands and blew a raspberry at it.

I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. It feels like the right thing to do to quit at this point. When I think of sticking this out for nine more days it makes me sick to my stomach. I want life back. I don’t want to wait until August. BTW…what am I going to say on my date on Thursday when the girl asks what I’ve been up to lately? Should I tell her about this? Probably not. I’m all balding and fat (have I mentioned that I stopped exercising since this challenge began?) and seeing fucking movies for 31 straight days is probably not going to help my cause. I gotta clean my apartment, I’m eating popcorn for dinner, I’m depressed at work because I have to go to a movie every night but I can’t quit because people are telling me to stick it out….and I know this writing is pretty good and I don’t want to let them down and blah diddeee blah blah blah diddeee dooo…I have never wanted to drink more than I have this month.

July 23rd

Movies: Begin Again
So, yeah, sorry for my psychotic break yesterday. It was long overdue. I didn’t quit as you can probably tell. Nine more days!!!!!!!!! Boot and rally! Funk and Wagnalls!

I keep looking at the movie showtimes hoping that the movies will magically change. They never do. They never DO. So I’m going to see Begin Again AGAIN because it’s poetic to this challenge. I almost quit, so I have to begin again. It means symbolism or something. Btw is it just me or does Hailee Steinfeld have a little Zuniga/Justine Bateman thing going?

I’m so tired of the refreshments at movie theaters. Why can’t they have spaghetti instead? The theater was mostly empty but that didn’t stop two fuckwads from ruining the experience. They were chatting all through the previews so I was on full alert that they might be a problem. Then when those stupid AMC Theaters Dots came on-screen, the guy went “Hmmmmm….” Why would you ever have to “Hmmmmmm” the AMC DOTS?????!!!!!! What is interesting or curious about them? I hate this guy. He is not AMC Amazing. These are the nights I hate most about this challenge. It’s a work night, I’m at a late show and people are treating the auditorium like it’s their living room.

And if I see that goddamn Get on Up trailer one more time I will never watch Rocky IV again.

July 24th

Movie: Lucy
Date night was tonight. It went ok. I met up with a girl I used to do improv with back in the day. I told her I’ve been to a movie theater for 23 straight days. She grabbed my neck and pushed me up against the barroom wall, looked me crooked in the eye and asked me if I’d paid my dues and then I stared that improviser right back in the eye, remembering what ol’ Jack Burton always said when he went to the movies for 23 straight days: “Yes m’am…the check is in the mail.”

The date ended with an ass-out hug so we’ll probably never see each other again. Don’t despair. It was a conscious uncoupling.

I had time to see a late showing of Lucy with my friends JB and Jan. I love having company at these things! It makes it so much easier.

We saw the preview of The Hundred Foot Journey again because of course the crowd for Lucy cares about THAT movie. They should retitle it Bitchy Woman Eats Omelet. We also saw the trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey which I turned to Jan and told her was a lot like my life. The preview got a fair amount of uncomfortable laughter in my theater. Dakota Johnson’s stardom is dependent on how we react to her orgasms. Good luck with that, Daughter of Griffith.

Lucy was a solid pick-me-up. As you can read in my review, I had a good time and those are in short supply this month so consider day 24 to be a win.

July 25th

Movies: Magic in the Moonlight
Ah, yes, opening night of a new Woody Allen movie. There is not a dry diaper in the house. Magic in the Moonlight was not bad Woody Allen, but not great either. It falls somewhere in the middle. I thought it was cute and amusing with strong lead performances from Colin Firth and Emma (Emmer, because Firth is British) Stone, though it’s weird to see them as a romantic pair especially after she hit her head so hard in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Remember when that movie came out? It feels like a billion years ago.

BTW, one thing I noticed about seeing movies for a month straight is that everything feels like it’s been out for a really long time. Like, Transformers came out four weeks ago but feels to me like it’s been at the theaters for seven years. You lose all track of time by going to a movie every day. July has felt so long, which is cruel because I just want it to be Scary Movie Month already. I’m a Fall man myself. You can have your Summer. I don’t need beaches and fireworks and hot dog barbecues to be happy with my life.

But getting back to Magic in the Moonlight, I have to tell you about two old women who were talking in the theater. In the movie there’s an exchange where one character says “Only G-D will forgive you” and the other person says “But you don’t believe in G-D.” Without skipping a beat, one of the old women in the audience turns to her friend and says “she won’t be forgiven”. This is why G-D made home theaters. In fact, I’m convinced there was never a golden age of moviegoing where people didn’t talk or act stupid. I think that’s an illusion we all made up.

July 26th

Movies: Hercules, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster
Double feature Saturday! Oh wait, I’m not excited anymore. Hercules was really boring. Mark Ahn agrees with me. We had a burger afterwards and discussed this, so it’s confirmed. In fact, the Demi Lovato song on the radio between the theater and the burger place was more enjoyable to me than the movie Hercules. Mark and I had a good run of making fun of Megan Fox at the end of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer where she goes “That’s stupid, they’re ninjas.” It’s like impossible for her not to sound like a crotchety young woman.

Then I went with JB to the old Portage Theater Monster Show, but this time it was not at the Portage (which has re-opened, #MyDumpTheatreIsBack!!!) but instead in an auditorium at a nearby high school. And the experience of watching movies on a digital projector in a high school auditorium is just what you think it will be like – depressing. I only stayed for one movie, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, because I didn’t want to be there. I know I sound like a jerk here but seriously, it felt poor. I wanted to get out of there as soon as I got in there. It’s day 26, yo! No compromises! How was the movie? I don’t know. I fell asleep. I didn’t even see the monsters fight at the end.

July 27th

Movies: Big Trouble in Little China
I took a power nap at home and headed back out for the midnight on Saturday night screening of Big Trouble in Little China at the Music Box. I did this so I could crank out my day 27 movie right away, like how I wanted to do on day 5 for Aliens. AND THE MOVIE WAS IN THE SMALL THEATER. AGGRRRGGGGHHHH! You know what though? The small theater actually kind of worked out this time. Instead of being in the main auditorium at the Music Box, which seats 700, the audience and I instead were in a sold out 100 seat or so theater enjoying a cult movie together at midnight. Everyone was in a great mood and the experience was a blast, with people sounding out the movie when the sound went down for a minute and laughing at just about all of Kurt Russell’s kick-ass line deliveries. I go back and forth on the movie itself. I loved it the first time I saw it. Didn’t like it at all the second time I saw it and, this being the tie-breaker, I thought it was OK. It’s a fun “let’s go everyone!” adventure but I think it gets kind of tedious after a while. What do you all think?

So, week 4 was up and down, just like each of the other weeks. As I see the finish line, something surprising is happening to me. I’m getting a little sad it’s almost over. What is wrong with me? It’s like in Swingers, where Ron Livingston says you almost miss the pain because you’ve lived with it for so long.

Tune in next week as I’ll discuss Guardians of the Galaxy, recap my month at the movies (with bullet points!) and look ahead to where my life will lead going forward.


  1. Re: Big Trouble in Little China - " I thought it was OK. It’s a fun “let’s go everyone!” adventure but I think it gets kind of tedious after a while. What do you all think?"

    I think that's lunacy. Especially considering you watched "Life Itself" 4 times and "Begin Again"; again and again! The fact that you have seen those more times than BTiLC is mind blowing to me.

    Sorry for the fanboy shit. I feel like one of those Star Wars asshole right about now. ONE MORE DAY TO GO, Adam! Godspeed.

    1. Thanks Chaybee. I came to Big Trouble in Little China late (around 5 years ago) so I don't have a long history with it. It's fun but I keep going back and forth on it. It wears me out.

    2. BTILC wore me out, too. I think I finally snapped when the D&D monsters started showing up.

  2. I thought that you kept falling asleep during Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. FULL DISCLOSURE: So did I.

    1. I'm realizing this month that I'm not as big of a Godzilla fan as I originally thought.

    2. Don't judge based on this month, which is apparently leading you to hate the very experience of watching movies.

      Heath: I share your glare.

    3. Hi Steve K - I have a plan on regaining and refining my love of movies and going to the theaters. More on that next week.

  3. Adam, I doubt there was ever truly a golden age of cinema, but I do think people used to be more respectful of others around them. Just like people used to get all dressed up to get on an airplane, going to the movies used to be (until very recently) a slightly more formal experience. I can't imagine some of the things I've seen crowds do in a theater happening in an earlier time, like that lady loudly flossing her teeth during Apollo 13. I feel like audiences even five years ago seemed just a little bit more conscious of others in the theater than they are these days. Maybe it's just my theaters here, though.

    1. I'm starting to think the best time to see a movie is right away. The first show usually has an audience that is excited enough about the movie that they keep their bad behavior in check.

    2. Good point - maybe I'll got check out GotG tonight after all...

    3. It puts me in a happy place to think of Heath going to movies in a suit, hat, and cane, smoking a pipe that only smells of common decency. Sort of like an Atticus Finch as Sherlock Holmes.

  4. I just watched Big Trouble in Little China during Junesploitation and I loved it!

    This is sounding pretty rough - there's not a chance in hell I could ever do it here in Hali - I'd have to watch EVERYTHING 3 or 4 times.

    Sorry to hear the date wasn't great - wish I could be there to help - I'm a good wingman. I like the McFly Method - I pretend to rape them and then you come in and sock me one. No ass-out dancing at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance for you after that!

    Now if I may vent: I finally made it to DotPotA (about to finish the podcast so I'm not going to comment on the movie itself here) and with only about a dozen people in the theatre I had my worst experience to-date. Firstly as I'm standing in line for some popcorn, I see an couple probably in their late 50s that appeared to be drunk come out of one theatre, loudly ask the usher where DotPotA was playing and joke about how they might have sat in there all night watching the wrong movie. Fuck, I thought. When I went in I saw they chose to sit in almost the bottom row so I went up higher than usual to afford plenty of buffer space. It wasn't enough - more on them later. Next some guy came up and sat directly behind me - not a bother usually but dude was fucking drenched in cologne. Ladies, I gotta ask, is there anything about that you find attractive? I got used to it eventually but for the first half-hour it literally made me short of breath. Then, about 10 minutes into the movie, four teenagers reeking of cigarette smoke (as an ex-smoker I can't complain too much) came in and sat in the row right in front of me and - surprise, surprise - people that care more about smoking than watching the WHOLE movie don't really pay that close attention while the movie's playing. Get offa my lawn! Back to the oldish drunk couple - apparently one of them was illiterate because the wife read every fucking subtitle out loud! And like pretty LOUD out loud. Then for the whole second half of the movie they were both just talking away like they were alone in their fucking living rooms which is where they should have been. It was only pity for their miserable lives that kept me from saying something (I've told off seat-kicking strangers in a theatre before) - I didn't want to add "being told to shut the fuck up" to their list of problems for the day. Luckily I'm pretty good at tuning out bullshit, but that's the closest I've come to having a movie completely ruined for me by dickheads.

    Glad to hear you made it bud! Looking forward to the final chapter!

    1. I think we had that same couple when we saw Boyhood. Talking loudly the whole time, yelling out stuff like "We'd be better off!" when John McCain comes up and then, to top it off, standing up as soon as it was over and loudly declaring "What a disappointing movie!" HOW WOULD YOU KNOW YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT YOU BARELY WATCHED IT.

    2. Ha! Oh, wow, that's what mine were yelling when the apes took over - must've been the same couple!

      Such a drag though.

      Also a drag, no sign of Boyhood (or Snowpiercer) in Halifax yet, dammit.

    3. Something about DotPotA, man. I had a loud, old, annoying couple at my theater when I saw it, too. Fortunately, I was still able to get quite a bit of enjoyment out the movie, but it was clear that these people weren't enjoying if and couldn't care less about watching it. It was only a few minutes in and the woman had already declared her disdain for the movie. If that's the way you feel, then just leave. Don't ruin if for everyone else.

    4. I'm sorry that me and Jan have disturbed so many of your recent screenings...

    5. It's your politics I can't get behind.

    6. How do you go to see a movie with "Planet" and "Apes" in the title and then not notice you're in the wrong theatre?! Weren't they tipped off by, oh, I don't know, A PAUCITY OF APES?

    7. A Paucity of Apes is the name of my one man show.

    8. I think I win on bad audience behaviour for Dawn. We had a gang of teenagers who were making an insane amount of noise. Ushers kept coming in and out and sitting down. As soon as they left they made noise again. They were jerks who found it funny when Dreyfus was sobbing over seeing pictures of his family. Heartless arseholes. I think it says a lot for the movie that I still really liked it. I'm going to try and see it again and hope for a better experience.

    9. I can totally relate to all of you. The theater going experience seems more like a hassle to me nowadays with nervous expectations on the way to the theater as to what I'm going to have to deal with as opposed to pure excitement; like it should be.

      Years ago I went to see "My Bloody Valentine 3D" on opening night. There was a drunk woman with her teenage kids in a packed theater. The woman was yelling at the screen before the movie even began! This kept up for almost 40 minutes! People were yelling "Shut the F up!" and she would reply "F You! Come make me! I'll F you up!" FINALLY the cops came in and took her out. The only good thing about this was the audience erupted in cheers while she was doing the walk of shame! That was the last time I have gone to a Friday or Saturday showing. I always go to the first showing on Sunday mornings now in an attempt to enjoy the film. Sometimes that doesn't even work though.

    10. Btw - we had our tickets refunded and I went back later that week to see the movie. A lot of hate for MBV3D but damn if that wasn't one of the most fun 3D movies I have ever seen in the theater.

  5. I need to watch Big Trouble again. I wasn't into it the first time I saw it. I think I expected something different, something more '80s adventure-y.

    Congrats, Adam! For standing strong against all reason, on the urging of people like me who could do and watch whatever we've wanted all month and have zero stake in your psychological and emotional well-being. I hope you've learned your lesson.

    1. Thanks Erich! I definitely learned a few things this month. More on that next week :-)

  6. Adam you really are hanging in there! Stay strong. I am hardcore Lovatic as anyone who has been in a Frozen screening with me will know so yay Demi Lovato. (Yes I cheer at credits I am cool, or very annoying considering I cheered at Idina's name and when Demi stopped playing. I did get really excited back when I saw Enchanted and cheered when Idina came on. Same goes for Barbra in The Guilt Trip. Luckily I have a fan girl bestie so I'm not alone in my weirdness and I apologise audience I just was very happy to see them)

    As for Big trouble, I think I have said this before but I watched it on DVD, didn't get it. Then one day I was meant to go to Stratford. As I'm the only Londoner let's just say from where I live to the cinema I was meant to be is quite far. Especially if you're late. And everything about your day is going wrong. I was starting to have a panic attack when I realised I had missed my shift (long story). So I came out of the tube emailed them and arranged another shift. It was volunteering but I still felt bad. I decided to make my way back to central to see if there was anything on at my two favourite cinemas. Big trouble was on so I went to see it with the best audience. It sounds like a similar crowd to yours Adam. It made me grin from ear to ear. I loved that experience and it totally turned my mood around. It made me feel like Big trouble was fucking fun and cool. I have been super English in this comment, just like Colin Firth in Magic in the Moonlight by the sounds of it! Pet peeve: British accent - it is not a thing. English accent is okay. I hear this a lot 'I can't believe how many accents there are here! We thought you all sounded... the same...'

    1. I wish after my 31 days were up, I got to meet Demi Lovato. She's adorable.

      Yeah, I think Big Trouble in Little China is definitely an audience movie. It's perfect for midnight showings.

  7. Well done, but damn I feel sad for you. You make it sound so rough.

    Also, for the benefit of the foreign kid. What's with theaters in America letting you go in and out of different movies? Are you paying for each one you see, even when you're just catching the last 30 mins? Or is it an entry fee deal so one your're in you can see what you want?

    1. I feel sad for me too. No worries though, my love of theaters might have dimmed but not my love of watching and talking about movies. I learned a lot this month that I can use going forward.

      The people who run theaters in America don't seem to mind or aren't paying attention when it comes to going in and out of different movies. I'm only paying to see one and just doing whatever I want when I get in there. I didn't do this before this month but it got so tough some nights that my ADD brain needed my body to keep moving or I would die (figuratively of course).

  8. For me I still love hitting the theatres but since people have become more of A-holes (and yes the A holes existed back in the day, but back in the day there were less ways for people to get all ADD on everything aka no cell phones) I have had to schedule my movies to be seen at the theatre at certain times and at certain theatres. One of my fav multiplexes has become Cinemark Festival Bay Mall which is probably because 90 percent of the stores have shut down or gone out of business. (My girlfriend and I have nicknamed it "Sad Mall")

    While I avoid the movie theatres on the weekend (save for very special occassions) usually late evening middle of the week screenings are the sweet spot at this nicely run, up to date multiplex that treated me to a very nice 8 people in the theatre who behaved themselves DOTA screening. So sadly I think thats what its come to for good multiplex screenings- put the kids to bed call a sitter and hit the weekday 10:30pm screening. It's no guarantee but to paraphrase Hunger Games "The Odds will be ever in your favor" And yes I do realize how sad it is that my suggestion for good movie going is to travel to out of business malls and go to late night weekday screenings without other people.

    1. I'll let you in on a secret. For some reason I love dying malls especially theaters in dying malls. I want to support them, analyze them and keep them going.