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Friday, March 7, 2014

Months of Free Movies: A Look Back

Last summer I was kicked out of a movie theater I'd been attending without incident for ten years. Sudden objection: I walk with a cane and carry a backpack (always have). Cane could be a weapon. Backpack could contain weapons.

I whined on Facebook and friends encouraged me to complain to corporate headquarters. Vivian was especially supportive. She told me to demand a year of free movies.

I did complain to corporate headquarters and I was offered several months of free movies. That period is coming to a close. Here's an assessment: given how much money is involved, and how many talented people there are out there, it's surprising how many bad movies get made.

Best Movie Seen: "Captain Philips"

Runner-up: "Monument Men"

Worst Movie Seen: "Her"

Biggest Disappointment: "Son of God"

Movie I Wished I'd Never Seen AND Wish I Could Imprison and Legally Punish the Filmmakers: "Prisoners." What a tortured, pretentious crapfest.

Movie that would have been much better had they not gone for tri-continental sweep, historical import, and truthy pronouncements about Art with a capital A and just tightened the focus and made it a character study of a bitchy woman and her charming chauffeur: "Saving Mr. Banks."

Movie I would not see not only with a free ticket; movie they could not pay me to see: "Gravity."

Most forgettable: "Pompeii," "Elysium," "Lone Survivor"

Most overrated and biggest Schadenfreude when it ended up empty handed at the Oscars, but offers most Amy Adams sideboobage "American Hustle"

Movie I would be least likely to see without a free ticket: "The Conjuring."

Movies I would probably have seen had it not been for the snowstorm, and, then, the snowstorm, and, oh look, another snowstorm: "Frozen," "Anchorman Two," "August Osage County."

Biggest, most nagging question: Where are the women? Where is the twenty-first century "All About Eve" or "Now Voyager"?


  1. You simply must see "The Wolf of Wall Street." Not because you'll like it, but because I want to read your review.

    1. Hi, Liron. I almost certainly won't see it. Sex and drugs and decadence ... not really my cup of tea.

  2. Glad you got the free films. I can't help wondering: what about the movie that won the Best Film Oscar: Twelve Years A Slave?

    1. Mick, thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, that is the obvious film to ask about!

      I think that "Twelve Years a Slave" and movies like it exist to alert viewers to horrific realities.

      I know about slavery from reading about it and having met a slave and the child of a slave and I don't need to expose myself to the movie and its horrors because I'm already familiar with slavery.

    2. I understand your reservation about 12YAS. I saw it with a woman friend who was shocked by how harrowing it was. In mitigation, I would add my wife (who is squeamish about violence on celluloid) was v impressed by the film, and the beauty and power of the text by Northrup. I think a work of art like 12YAS isn't just a work of journalism to alert & inform the audience that dreadful things lie at the roots of US history. There is also imaginative empathy with these characters, how they endured these horrors, and moral conundrums: how does a moral or decent man function in such a deformed society? Best wishes.

    3. Mick thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      Because I have written about Polish-Jewish relations and their treatment in pop culture, when I do go to see difficult films, more often than not they are about Poland's various crucifixions. Recent films I've seen, and reviewed on Amazon, include "In Darkness," about Jews surviving in the sewers of Lwow, and Katyn, about the mass murder that took place in Katyn. Both of these films were really hard to watch.