Final Destination Franchise

I love the Final Destination franchise. I know it reaches a special level of ridiculous camp, but for every second of stupidity, there’s something that’s really smart and clever about it too.

A couple weeks ago on Stardust, we were talking about favorite movie endings and twists. Final Destination 5’s ending has to be one of my all time favorites. It got me wanting to rewatch them all. Then I thought, it’d be cool to watch and track the deaths and rank ’em all here. So that’s what I’m doing.

Before I go into the death ranks, let’s go over each of the movies. Now, I usually tap dance as hard as I can to avoid spoilers when I write, but by the nature of this post, I hafta spoiler the heck out of ’em. I do suggest you go binge them and come back (most are only 90 min) rather than find out all the secrets.

Final Destination – Starring Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, and Kerr Smith, it’s the movie that started it all. Sawa’s Alex has a premonition on a plane, showing him the fiery crash that will happen minutes later. He gets off the flight with a few others and BOOM. Everybody dead. The survivors soon follow. They seem to believe that it’s enough to intervene in a death to get skipped, and then you’re okay…

Final Destination 2 – AJ Cook now has the premonitions, and she sees a huge pileup on the highway. She blocks the entrance ramp and spares a few lives, but one by one, they all go too. In one of the best ever sequel tie ins, we find out all that each of these survivors was only alive thus far because actions caused by the first film’s survivors prevented their own deaths. So death really isn’t too happy with them. Here, they seem to think that creating new life (a baby being born, or a resuscitation) will be their salvation…

Final Destination 3- Mary Elizabeth Winstead (?!) freaks out on a rollercoaster and gets thrown off with half her crew, and then, you guessed it. People on the coaster die, and everyone else soon follows. This time around, she’d taken a bunch of photos of the victims that night, and uses clues from the photographs to prevent their deaths. Except we already know intervention isn’t enough…

The Final Destination – Now we’re at the motor speedway, and we really don’t know any names in the cast anymore. Nothing new to their strategy, just deaths that get more and more ridiculous…

Final Destination 5 – Coworkers are on a bus on a bridge and the bridge collapses. Hmm funny how nobody in this movie mentions the earlier events like all the others do. These guys believe they can kill someone else and steal their remaining life, until our sole survivors end up on a very familiar flight…

If I hafta rank the films, I’d say 1>5>2>3>4. But we really wanna talk about ranking the deaths, yeah? A couple of ground rules, because I’m OCD like that. The person has to actually be seen dying (so no car wash from 4), but premonitions count because those are graphic deaths and that’s what we’re judging. At first, I was only gonna look at the death itself, but I realized that context is super important. Some actual deaths aren’t that great, but the build up is. Others are super significant in the franchise, which should give them more weight. Oh and they hafta be killed by death. Nathan pushing that dude into the crane or the gun deaths in 5 don’t count either.
That said, here we gooooo!!

40 – Movie 2 – Friends in the car
Honestly, I primarily ranked this at the bottom because I didn’t even see it or register that it happened until I was checking notes in the recaps I found online. It just kinda happens quickly, and we never cared about those guys anyways.

39 – Movie 4 – George – Ambulance
This was one of the “out of nowhere” deaths (as opposed to the ones that are really dragged out). Problem is, there are so many better and more unexpected ones of these. And this dude was so cool with his fate moments before, you weren’t even surprised that he was next.

38 – Movie 3 – Ian – smushed by cherry picker
Considering that he’s one of the few villains that emerges in the series, his death feels so lame. There are much better crushings.

37 – Movie 2 – Clear and Eugene – hospital explosion
First off, as the only character to survive from one movie to the next, Clear deserves much better than a quick death without buildup, and she deserves better than to be thrown in as a bonus with someone else’s death. Eugene’s suspense coulda gotten him higher up the list, but Clear dragged him down.

36 – Movie 1 – Carter – sign crash
Technically you don’t actually see him die, so maybe it doesn’t count. It’s a fun fakeout, but considering how good all the rest of the 1 deaths are, it feels cheap.

35 – Movie 3 – Perry – impaled by flagpole
Perry, we hardly knew ye. Not two seconds after we’re introduced to her and identify her as the next victim, she’s suddenly impaled. Turnaround quick enough to give you whiplash, but no real satisfaction.

34 – Movie 5 – Dennis – Wrench
This one’s cool for how quick it happens, and how swift the mood change was. The result is a gory image, but it’s just a hair too silly looking.

33 – Movie 2 – Brian – BBQ
Def gets points for being one of the most unexpected. It simultaneously earns and loses points for setting up an entry point for another sequel (+) that never got used (-). It also has a funny payoff after.

32 – Movie 4 – the other Carter – Truck explodes
This is the dude that tried to set a flaming cross in the black guy’s yard, and then his truck explodes. Usually the first deaths in the film build suspense the best, but this one felt a lil half assed. The final death itself wasn’t worthy of the build.

31 – Movie 3 – Julie, Wendy, and Kevin (remaining survivors) – Subway
This might be the one time that someone has a full premonition, but can’t actually do anything about it. The terror of this death is more real than most of the ones on this list, but the sequence itself isn’t too exciting.

30 – Movie 5 – Everyone – Bridge Collapse
By this point, we’ve run out of ideas for the big premonition, so we’re cycling back to a different car crash. It does go on for a bit with some variation in the deaths, but it’s just not as exciting as any of the others.

29 – Movie 4 – Lori, Janet, Nick (remaining survivors) – Car crashes into cafe
It’s not new that our survivors are together and targeted by death as we go into the credits. The only reason I even ranked it as high as I did was that this switches to an Xray view (matching the opening credits that had xray views of all the previous films’ deaths) and that looks pretty cool.

28 – Movie 4 – Andy – oxygen tank pushes him into fence
Anyone else think that really thick fence was a bit weird? Good suspense with a couple fake outs. The final moment actually looked pretty cool.

27 – Movie 3 – Franky – truck
This was a cool, unexpected one. Wendy and Kevin haven’t figured out that they’re not the next targets, and in their rush to get away from the runaway truck, they actually enable Franky to end up with a fan belt in his head in line at the drive thru.

26 – Movie 2 – Everyone – car crash
Now I’m thinking that maybe this one shoulda been lower, but I do like how unique each individual death is in this premonition. It’s not just fireballs and accordions.

25 – Movie 2 – Rory – flying barbed wire
Obeys the laws of physics a little less than some of the others, but for whatever reason, the franchise likes to highlight this as one of its more iconic images (it comes up every time old deaths are shown somewhere). It does look like cool tho

24 – Movie 4 – Jonathan – smushed by bathtub
The survivor they didn’t know about until the last second, lying in a hospital bed with an overflowing bathtub just above. Needless to say, i was a lil freaked out a few days later when there was a leak dripping onto my truck parked at my apt…

23 – Movie 4 – Janet – Movie theater
Yeah it’s totally silly, but of course the 3D movie had to go there. She’s watching a 3D movie and a piece of schrapel flies thru the screen and kills her. Obvious but effective.

22 – Movie 2 – Kat – Airbag into pipe
Haha I liked this one. The firemen are being so careful to pry her out of her car, and with one sudden movement they set off the airbag, sending her head back into the jagged pipe that just happened to be positioned behind her. Whoops.

21 – Movie 4 – Hunt – pool suction
Anyone ever read Guts by Chuck Palahniuk? The movie still gets creativity points for using that one. He gets stuck at the bottom of the pool, and just before he drowns, *slurp*, intestines in the filtration system!

20 – Movie 4 – Samantha – rock in the eye
This one is all about the buildup–the chaos in the beauty salon. So many things that almost go wrong. Then as she walks out the door, a lawn motor kicks up the rock that does it. Death itself, eh. Mayhem before, aw yay!

19 – Movie 3 – Lewis – weights
This one ranks well because of the fakeout. He’s so sure that the swords were supposta kill him, it’s pure arrogance when he lifts the weights whose safety has been unknowingly cut and splat. Wsa there ever more testosterone in a FD death?

18 – Movie 2 – Nora – elevator
If you’ve ever been afraid of elevators closing on you, maybe skip this one. It’s not just that she gets caught, it’s how she gets caught, with her ponytail in the box of hooks. And then…

17 – Movie 5 – Isaac – crushed by Buddha
Another one that isn’t about the death itself, which is just a big splat. It’s the acupuncture bit that makes this one gross and terrifying. Some of those images will really stay with you. There’s fire too. Guess he didn’t get his happy ending…

16 – Movie 3 – Erin – Nail Gun
I just like this one. So many things could go wrong in that hardware store, and just as we skip her boy’s near impaling, *thuck**thuck**thuck**thuck*

15 – Movie 4 – Lori – Escalator
It’s not quite the escalator death that you always fear when your shoe is untied. It’s worse. It’s the escalator opening up and crunching your bones for one of the most graphic deaths. Too bad it was just a premonition.

14 – Movie 4 – Everyone – speedway accident
This one does get creativity points for where they set the big premonition death for the film. More original choice than any of the other films, and offers a lot of variety between structures collapsing and flyaway car parts.

13 – Movie 1 – Billy – Train schrapnel
This is significant because it’s the first unexpected death after a skip. Carter has just survived the train crash, and as Billy screams at him, scrapnel from the car slices his head in half. One of the most sudden and unexpected slices in the franchise, and one that proved the rules had changed.

12 – Movie 2 – Tim – Flattened by glass
I’d originally had this lower, but as I talked to people about this ranking, this is the death that they kept on bringing up–the first big splat of the series. I like this one because it starts with him running after pigeons–the premonition image.

11 – Movie 2 – Evan – Fire Escape
I love how over the top all the suspense is of this one. You’re so sure he’s gonna die in the fire that’s growing and growing and he can’t escape from. He finally gets out, only to slip on noodles and get a ladder thru the eye. Ewww.

10 – Movie 1 – Everyone – Plane Crash
The premonition that started ’em all. It’s wicked intense. Def not somethign to see right before you hafta travel. It was a decade until I could get one a plane without checking the tray table first.

9 – Movie 1 – Ms Lewtin – Knife
This death builds up the suspense better than just about any other sequence in this movie. We follow the drips of the booze in her broken coffee cup (srsly, how does she not notice?). The computer explodes. Glass in the throat. Fire. Knives hidden under the cuptowel. Chair falls and it’s over.

8 – Movie 5 – Nathan – Landing Gear
This is the most poetic death in these films. Nathan believes he’s regained the life of the dude he hooked into the crane, only to find out he had an aneurysm that woulda burst any minute. He’s instantly impaled by the landing gear of the infamous flight that took the lives of characters from two films that somehow found him at the bar. It’s beautiful.

7 – Movie 3 – Everyone – Roller coaster
Something we all fear that we don’t really see on screen much. Who knew that dying in a roller coaster could result in several different kinds of death?

6 – Movie 5 – Olivia – Falls out Window
This isn’t on the list because she falls out the window. It’s on the list because of the mishap with the eye laser just before. That is some imagery that will be burned into your eyes for a long time.

5 – Movie 5 – Candace – Gymnastics incident
Guilty pleasure here. It’s one of the absolute stupidest deaths, but it’s one of the ones I remember most vividly. The build up is fantastic, it just doesn’t quite stick the landing. Oh…

4 – Movie 1 – Terry – Hit by bus
This one is ranked high because of its significance. The premonition was quick and the death sudden. There’ll be a lot more out of nowhere deaths as the series go on, but this was the first and most surprising.

3 – Movie 3 – Ashley and Ashlynn – Tanning beds
I feel like this death represents everythign I love about this franchise. It’s creative and over the top and builds better than most of the suspense sequences. Every little piece fits right into place, from the crashing cd shelf to the sunscreen tube locking the door to the dripping Slurpees.

2 – Movie 1 – Tod – Hanging in the bathtub
This is the one that scared me the most. The way the water follows him establishes the consciousness of death, and shows just how vulnerable we all are when we’re alone. A couple near misses and suddenly he’s got the laundry cord wrapped around his neck. What gets me though, is the spilled shampoo and how that keeps him from getting his footing and he ultimately dies slow and painful. Seeing his struggling feet is what made it tough to sleep that night.

1 – Movie 5 – Sam and Molly – Flight 180 Plane Crash
As far as the visuals of a death itself, Tod wins. But as far as significance and impact, I’ve never been so blown away by an ending I did not see coming. It’s so perfect how it ties in to everything and makes you question all the events you just saw. It makes dealing with the franchise absolutely worth it.

AMC Best Picture Marathon

“My Oscar obsession reached a new peak this year. Besides the traditional 2 day marathons of the year’s best picture nominees, this year AMC theaters offered 24 hour marathons by demand. Right at the wire, Boston reached the minimum signups, making Assembly Row one of 8 theaters offering it. Sure, I’d seen all these movies before, but this is a really good year. Besides, 24 hours locked in a movie theater? That sounds kinda fun to me.

Okay, so maybe the marathon was actually more like 20 hours than 24, but I did spend a full 24 away from my cozy bed. Here’s how the day went. BTW, I’m kinda OCD about multiples of five. You’ll understand what I mean shortly. Oh and I’m writing this while watching the Oscars.

6:50 – Wake up, ten min before my alarm. My normal weekend wake up time has shifted earlier since I’m usually up at 6:00 or 6:30 during the week. I’m not even fighting it any more.

7:10 – Leggo my eggo.

7:15 – Walk the block and a half to my beloved yoga studio. This may be the most walking I do in the day.

7:30 – Yoga class. Getting all nice and stretchy before I go and sit on my butt for 20 hours. I’m starting to have second thoughts about this whole marathon thing. It’s either the best or the worst idea ever.

8:25 – Savasana. Corpse pose. Enjoying some last few deep peaceful breaths before my day gets crazy.

8:45 – Quick shower. I can’t be stinking up the theater.

9:00 – I’d been previously torn between wearing pajama pants or real pants. Compromised with yoga pants

9:05 – Cereal and a tv dinner.

9:10 – Decide the yoga pants might still be pushing it, especially if there’s a chance of grabbing a bite at a nearby restaurant. Pull on some strange knit pants that feel like pajamas but look more socially acceptable, as long as I ignore the elastic ankles.

9:15 – Figure I won’t be dealing with the snow, so I can put on a real pair of Chucks for the first time in weeks

9:20 – Pull up Uber on my phone and try to signal my ride.

9:23 – Uber isn’t finding any cars. Google Maps tells me taking the T will take 45 min, assuming it’s running well. Panic starts. I need to get to the theater early. It’s one thing to be stuck with bad seats for one movie, but I don’t even wanna think about being stuck with bad seats for 8 movies….

9:25 – Use Uber to find me a taxi. It’ll cost more, but I’ll get there on time.

9:40 – Taxi driver takes a couple wrong turns and gets lost. Heartbeat quickens.

9:50 – Finally arrive at the theater. Run inside. Eavesdrop on the employees telling other attendees what the seating deal is. Run into the auditorium. I’ve only been to this theater once before, and the film was in the same room.

9:53 – By some miracle, my favorite row is completely empty. Most attendees have chosen to occupy the front section with the reclining seats. I put my jackets on aisle seats on the front row of the main section, right behind the safety bar/footrest.

9:55 – My movie buddy shows up. Show him our seats. We spend the next five minutes debating how far in to move. Center has a better view, but aisles won’t disturb the potential people who aren’t there. Spoiler alert: we end up having the entire row to ourselves (and the row behind is empty too). We obsesed over nothing, but did end up right in the center afterall.

10:00 – Buddy and I are rushing thru our catch up chatting (we haven’t seen each other in a while). At the same time, I’m frantically posting a FB status to kick things off. Trying to get it all done before the movie starts.

10:05 – Obsessively stare at the schedule on my bowtie lanyard, planning out food breaks and catnaps. Inventory food rations: water bottle, honey bbq cracker chips, 7-11 cheese Danish, 2 packs of peanut butter cracker thingies, 5 granola bars, 1 possible emergency granola bar that lives in my purse, 2-3 fun size Hersheys which I’m only allowed to eat as dessert after a meal.

10:10 – Boyhood starts 10 min late. NBD. Whoever planned this was smart to start the day off with the longest and slowest film. One of two that I am absolutely not allowed to fall asleep thru. Reason this one makes the list is that I first saw it in the summer, so it’s been a while. Also, I don’t really intend to buy the DVD anytime soon, so I should try and pay attention. I actually liked it a bit more this time around, probably because I knew what to expect. The film still lost some of my interest by the time our boy hits high school. He just kinda gets on my nerves, and the vignettes just aren’t as interesting any more. Movie buddy later commented that he thought Ethan Hawke had the best character in the film. I’ve been much said exactly that before, and it still held true this time. I still find the film absolutely beautiful as a work of art, and it was the perfect choice for kickstarting the day.

12:55 – Boyhood ends, and we have the first run thru of what will become routine for the rest of the day. Pick up phone. Check email. Check Facebook notifications. Bathroom run. Fill up water bottle at fountain. Optional snack run (not this time, as I ate the cheese Danish). Check the time on the door, and it’s been updated to show a 1:10 start time instead of 1:05. Good to know.

1:00 – Meet movie buddy at concessions. I hold my hands up alongside my eyes so I don’t see what myriad of options I have available, otherwise I will spend the whole movie anticipating whatever I decided on. Buddy gets nachos. I intend to mooch a few.

1:05 – Refuse to sit down until the film starts. Try to stretch and keep standing as long as I can. Check AMC app on my phone (which I’d only downloaded because they gave me $5 rewards). I have $20 rewards to spend, 10 specifically from the marathon, and 10 awarded for hitting yet another $100 threshold (it does help when my $65 marathon ticket was applied to my account). Decide it will be spent on lunch during the next intermmission.

1:10 – Theory of Everything Starts. Somewhere around the 45 min mark, I doze off for 20 or so. The BluRay is waiting for me at home, and I’ve seen this before, so I let it happen. The film is just as beautiful as I remember it. I study Eddie Redmayne’s performance closely. He starts running up alongside Michael Keaton as my choice for best actor. I really don’t know anymore who I want to win.

3:20 (maybe) – Movie ends. Bathroom. Water. Lunch. Was hoping for a cheeseburger, leaned towards chicken tenders. Instead, I see an offer of nachos or fries with “”the works””. Buddy and I agree to go halfsies on the waffle fries with chili, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream. Curiosity leads me to decide on the philly steak sandwich.

3:27 – I notice the desert counter. They have froyo. I begin recalculating my food schedule to accomodate dessert.

3:32 – OMG THESE FRIES ARE AMAZINGGGGGG. I’m in heaven. The cheesesteak, not so much. Oh well, less calories for me if I don’t eat it all, but the fries.

3:40 – Birdman starts. Sort of. Something’s off with the color, and it’s basically strobing.

3:45 – Birdman re-starts. Issue fixed. A lady somewhere behind me didn’t realize that color effect wasn’t part of the movie. True, it’s a weird enough film as it is, wouldn’t be hard to believe. I’d previously pegged it as a nap-able movie. Even though it’s my favorite, I’ve seen it twice, and the BluRay is also waiting for me at home. But once it starts, I’m hooked. I can’t possibly try and nap thru this. I watch Edward Norton’s first scene in a mix of awe at his performance, and sadness that he won’t likely win the statue he so deserves (granted JK Simmons equally deserves it, but we’ll get to him) (Also, as I’m writing this, best supporting actor is being announced and they used the exact clip of Norton in that first scene where I think he best knocks it out of the park). I catch little details I missed the first two times around. I still don’t really know what happens at the end, and I still don’t care. Every few minutes, my focus broke just long enough for me to start thinking about chocolate froyo with rainbow sprinkles.

5:50 – Bathroom. Water. Snacks. Must get the froyo, must get the froyo. Oh hey look they have red velvet cake. Oh now I’m conflicted. I start trying to think when I could fit both in. I was committed to the froyo, so that’s what I’m asking for. While waiting, I look over at the toppings bar and it looks kinda empty. Okay so maybe no sprinkles. I ask for my froyo. And the machine’s down. It doesn’t even take me a second to quickly counter with “”Red velvet cake!””

5:56 – While talking to the cashier who notices our lanyards, we realize we’re not even halfway yet. Oh dear. Cashier cheers us on.

5:57 – Starting to realize that if I didn’t nap during Birdman, it’s gonna be harder to stay awake for Selma, which is at the top of my stay awake list, since I kinda slept thru the middle when I saw it before. I steal a few big gulps of buddy’s coke, hoping the small dose of caffeine will be enough for this usually caffeine free me to stay awake.

6:00 – We start doing the math on the times and realize that as scheduled, there should be an hour break afterwards. I immediately regret the cake. But the schedule’s tracking late, so it’s unclear if the schedule will be adjusted accordingly. We’ll figure it out, but for now I’m enjoying this cake dammit! And oh hey, free posters outside. I grab a couple that I don’t intend to put up, but have people in mind I could give them to. As I write this, I realize I have become my mother.

6:15 – Or somewhere around there. I already forgot how far off we were. Selma starts. Before long, we start getting to scenes that are unfamiliar to me. Oh my God, I missed some very important stuff! I still felt a lot of impact the first time around, but this time I sat there with my hand over my gaping mouth during some really intense and powerful scenes. By the time MLK gave his speech in Montgomery, I had chills. Maybe the theater was cold. I start getting a little sleepy by the third act. Must stay awake. Must stay awake. I realize I’m more sleepy than hungry, and I start fantasizing about napping during the break.

8:25 – Movie lets out. That time I’m sure of. The parade out the door and to various stations begins. We check the door, and the time for American Sniper is saying 9:00. All previous ones had gotten adjusted times posted, so maybe no hour long break? Neither of us feel hungry. We haven’t seen the outside world, but there’s no more light from the windows in the lobby. Facebook tells us there’s snow.

8:35 – I decide to seize the nap! I move all the crap I’ve got on the seat next to me down to the floor, and I raise the armrests on all seats to the right of mine. Using my puffy warm jacket as a pillow, I try to nap, but mostly end up eavesdropping on conversations. I hear someone say something about free coffee for marathon-ers. I contemplate this option. I think there might have been a few min of sleep.

9:05 – People start filing in. What time are we starting at?

9:10 – AMC employee comes in and starts asking trivia questions, giving away prizes for correct answers. Except his first few are super easy and everyone is yelling out answers. Then he asks “”When Emma Stone filmed Birdman, she was in New York on break from filming what movie?”” “”Spiderman!”” half the crowd (mostly the kids in the front section) yells. “”Not quite”” The crowd quickly adjusts to “”The Amazing Spider-Man””. I see him starting to say no, and I put it together quickly first. I yell from my spot further back “”The Amazing Spider-man 2!”” I win an Unbroken dogtag keychain. I think it’s still in my purse. I try feeding my buddy an answer to a later question, not wanting to seem too greedy. He’s oblivious to what I’m doing, and misses out on a Safe Haven BluRay that he would have likely just given his sister. That’s what the guy who knew that when Stephen Hawking typed out “”Daisy Daisy give me your answer do”” he was quoting the song “”Bicycle Built For Two””.

9:20 – American Sniper starts. Between the excitement of trivia (yes, movie trivia gets me very excited, even if most of the questions are stupid simple) and the catnap, I’m feeling energized. I’m ready for this movie and excited to watch it again. I’m so into it, watching with such respect and admiration…And then when Chris Kyle hits his fourth tour, I’m down for the count and doze off until the trumpet music plays thru the start of the end credits. Oops. It’s okay. I still love this movie (I’ll be saying that about most of them, btw) and I know I’ll be getting the BluRay and watching that soon.

11:30 – Movie ends. The door says the next one starts at 11:30. We’ve given up all hope of a schedule. Unsure of what the concession schedule is, I decide to grab my free decaf coffee (not knowing if and how it will affect me) and some chicken sliders with fries. Right as I’m handed my sliders, I hear the other concession guy tell someone they’ll be open until 6 AM. Okay, so I could have waited.

11:50 – Another round of trivia. This time, he’s more strict about hand raising, and I’m less shy about repeat answering. For knowing that Lee Daniels was the original director of Selma I get an Interstellar tee, knowing Meryl Streep has been nominated 19 times got me an Inherent Vice poster, and knowing that Silence of the Lambs was the last film to sweep the big five awards got me a Baymax pin and the awe of most of the auditorium for knowing that off the top of my head so quickly. I resisted the urge to really show off and say that the only others to ever do so were One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and It Happened one night.

12:00 – Shouldn’t the movie have started?

12:05 – Someone goes to ask and comes back saying that they thought they had started it

12:10 – Theater goes dark

12:15 – Lights come back up, then The Imitation Game starts, and the lights go back down. Since I’d seen this one twice (once in Nov and again earlier that week when plans to see Jupiter Ascending were thwarted by a leaky auditorium) I decided that I would nap thru the whole thing. I spent the first few minutes debating whether it was worth clearing off the seat again to stretch out. I compromise my just throwing my jacket over my pile o’things instead of moving them. Luckily, my favorite scenes are early on. I watch Turing’s job interview, and I close my eyes but still hear the lunch confusion. From there, I’m pretty much out, except occassionally roused by the sound of gears on the Turing machine turning. It kinda breaks my heart to miss this one, but I had to sacrifice one if I was gonna get thru the night, and I really wanted to stay awake for Whiplash.

2:00 – Run thru the post movie routine yet again. Take a sip of the now cold coffee, and decide it’ll do. I don’t know if it tastes bad because it’s bad coffee, because I’ve never had decaf, or because I’ve lost the taste for it. Doesn’t matter. I chug like half the cup. I really hope I’m making the right decision (spoiler alert: I think so. No caffeine withdrawal headaches today and I did stay awake thru Whiplash as hoped).

2:16 – Post a very incoherent update on Facebook. I’d posted before at the start and at the halfway point, but felt the need to commemorate Whiplash and coffee. And I know this time is right because FB has timestamps. Science!

2:20 – Movie starts. I’m totally jazzed (pun intended after not originally intending). I think this is the single film I’m most excited to rewatch, and it’s just as intense as it was the first time. At key moments, movie buddy would take loud deep breaths in anticipation. I could only answer “”I know right?! AWESOME!”” so many times. I’d recently heard someone describe it as an action movie, and it makes so much sense. I’m an action junkie, and I’ve never gotten the rush from a shoot ’em up that compares to the one I got here. I’d also heard that it was supposed to be a clear frontrunner for Editing, so I paid really close attention to that. I don’t know much about editing, but I feel like I learned a full courseload from this film. Fast paced, but beautifully timed (Michael Bay, take note if you are going to keep insisting on your music video like cuts). Reaction shots, extreme close ups, quick whiplash-inducing pans, so so good.

3:55 – Whiplash ends. The dwindling audience applauds vigorously. Now think about it. We’ve just sat thru 7 movies. No other movie got applause. It’s now 4 AM. You’d think everyone would be passed out. I’d originally been bummed that this was on the schedule so late, fearing I wouldn’t be awake, but I realized it was perfect. Just the jolt of energy to get us thru the rest of the night. C’mon. Almost there.

3:57 – Thankfully I’d decided that I prolly didn’t need to fill my water because that side of the theater has now been blocked off for cleaning. Crew members cheer us on as the bathroom parade begins for the final time.

4:05 – Here we go. Last one. I’m actually feeling pretty good, but since this is my least favorite of the bunch, I’m totally fine with sleeping thru it. I assume the stretched out position. I actually manage to stay awake for a bit, just long enough to appreciate the charm of the film. I have so much respect for Wes Anderson, for how he creates his own special worlds and stays true to his unique style. I just always find his screenplays fall flat. I’m with it until soon after Gustav H and Zero arrive at Tilda Swinton’s place. Before I nod off, I hear rustling across the row. Buddy has copied my strategy and has stretched out across his side. I chuckle as I drift off to sleep. I wake up during the prison break, and watch until Bill Murray’s obligatory appearance.

5:50 – It’s over! I grab my pile o’stuff, realizing that except for the danish, I didn’t eat any of my snack stash. The pile has grown with all the swag I snagged and/or won. The final bathroom parade goes past the cleaning lady who has just finished mopping up the bathroom that had been slowly degrading throughout the day. I feel bad as I see my Chuck print tracks. There’s a larger parade behind me, so at least I’m not the only one messing it up.

6:00 – Get in buddy’s car and fire up the GPS

6:15 – Home!

6:16 – ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz

Robin Williams

“My heart is so broken right now. Robin Williams was such a big part of my childhood and my life. I grew up watching his films, and have always considered him one of my absolute favorites. It’s so sad to think that there won’t be any more of his genius to share. This morning, while going about my start of day routine, I just found so many reminders. My eyes kept falling on random films of his on my movie shelf, and I’ve got a pretty big chunk of his work. There’s the large Aladdin poster in my room with a prominent picture of the Genie. I’m just in such a daze, mourning the loss of a beloved icon. I’m reading thru tributes and finding that so many of his movies touched so many people in different ways. I can’t call out just one or two or even six works of his that I feel a connection to. I have to go down the line.

Mork & Mindy – I grew up on Nick at Nite, and Mork and Mindy was a favorite. I’ve meant to incorporate more of Mork’s slang into my vocab, and I think now more than ever I need to make that effort. I remember getting in trouble for trying to sit on chairs like Mork, and staying up late watching episodes with my Daddy. This show is just classic and timeless.

Dead Poets Society – I’ve only seen this once or twice, so it definitely deserves a rewatch in the near future. But I have people close to me who have such a strong emotional connection to this film. Even if I don’t have that directly, I certainly do by proxy.

Hook – What other adult could have possibly captured the child-like spirit of Peter Pan? Williams was the heart and soul of this movie that I watched over and over. Well, watched over and over once I got over the fear from the “”boo box”” scene the first time. But he was the magic in this magical movie. Bangarang, Peter.

Aladdin – I think we all know how much this movie means to me, as I’m sitting here wearing an Aladdin tshirt. Would I have loved this as much as I do without what Williams contributed as the Genie? Probably not. He poured his soul into what was his ultimate perfect role, and not only did he made an incredible film, but he changed the landscape of animation and children’s films completely. I changed my FB profile pic to Aladdin hugging a tearful Genie goodbye, and then I started crying when I saw a similar pic captioned “”Genie, you’re free””

Mrs Doubtfire – Certainly a big favorite in my family, and one that we watched over and over. Just a flawless family film. Heartfelt and hilarious. They really don’t make them like this anymore, and part of me doesn’t really want them to. This will live on forever.

Jumanji – I almost wasn’t allowed to see this one. The parents thought the concept reminded them too much of a Ouija board, so I wasn’t going to be able to see this “”demonic”” movie. Then a friend’s mom suggested we have a mother/daughter outing for it, and I guess my mom felt it was more Christian to be friendly and outgoing (especially to someone who I don’t think got out much) than to condem one little old movie.

The Birdcage – I was so confused when this came out. To this point, I always knew Williams as a family actor. So why did he have a Rated R movie that I couldn’t see? And why was it Rated R? And why did he have that mustache? I was so upset. Years later, I did finally see this and I adored it. It’s a nice and different turn to see him as the straight actor (so to speak) and letting someone else run away with the show.

Aladdin and the King of Thieves – The Genie made a triumphant return!

Good Will Hunting – What Bostonian doesn’t know and love this film? Especially one with such strong ties to MIT? Williams is known for his comedy, but it’s his dramatic acting that gives us his strongest performance. He deserved all the love and awards he won for this one, and our city has shown him so much love for it. We forgive the accent because compared to everything else he did in the role, that didn’t matter.

What Dreams May Come – It hurts just to put this in the context of what happened to him. It’s another one I should rewatch, but I don’t know that I can. Such stunning imagery that it took me a while to appreciate, getting hung up on the plot and other trivial details

Patch Adams – For me, this one felt like Robin was coming home. It was the type of role I loved him for, and he delivered exactly what I’d hoped. My Mom bought herself a copy of this that I may have stolen from her when I left for college.

One Hour Photo – The film may not have the best rep, but I was completely drawn in. We’d never seen this creepy side of Williams before. Again, no secret that I love a dark and messed up film, and this completely turned my world upside down.

Death to Smoochy – When I hear the term “”dark comedy””, this is the ultimate example. By this point, I had come to recognize Williams as an adult actor, and not just a comedian in family fare. I love everything about this. It’s so twisted and insane and does not hold back. Rainbow Randolf deserves to be in the hall of fame of great comic characters

Did you ever see his Inside the Actors Studio episode? I can only ever watch an episode of that show for so long before it gets dull, even with some of my favorites, but Robin Williams’ appearance was something else. He basically just went off improv-ing, turning the whole thing into an off the cuff stand up act, and the ep is twice as long as they usually are.

I actually did get to see his stand up show live once, a few years back. This was during his Weapons of Self Destruction tour. I usually consider Eddie Izzard to be my favorite stand up comedian, but I spent the next few weeks (and really to this day) telling anyone who would listen how much Williams just completely kicked his ass. The show was just non-stop.

There’s just so much more, and yet I’ll still mourn what never was. This one will take me some time to get over, but for now all I can do is be grateful for what he did give us”

Philip Seymour Hoffman

“While I’ve often lamented the loss of a beloved actor within a movie write up, I don’t think I’ve ever given one their own post before. However, Philip Seymour Hoffman has been such a respected favorite of mine for years, I just felt I had to say something.

For me, the role where he first caught my eye was Magnolia. It’s one of my absolute favorite films ever, and part of why I love it is the rich cast. But of all the big names and bigger performances (many of whom I was being introduced to for the first time when I first saw this), Hoffman was the one that stood out most. In the middle of everyone’s surreal stories, he was the most grounded and the most relatable. He added such emotional depth and substance to the movie, and from then on, I was always excited to catch him on screen.

Not too long after that was when I started to get serious about loving film. One of the first things I did was dive into a bunch of Edward Norton’s work. Hoffman collaborated with him on a few during that era. Namely Red Dragon and 25th Hour. For me, those took him from being “”that nurse dude in Magnolia”” to Philip Seymour Hoffman, actor extraordinare.

Over the years, I saw more and more of his work, both keeping up with the new ones and catching up on the old ones. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, The Master, Boogie Nights, Big Lebowski, Hard Eight, Mission Impossible 3, Moneyball, Ides of March, Doubt, Charlie Wilson’s War, Almost Famous, Talented Mr Ripley. Not a bad or even mediocre performance in the lot. Always at the top of his game, and always making the film that much better just by being there.

I remember cheering so hard for him when he won the Academy Award for Capote. My Oscar obsession was just beginning, but I knew that this man deserved the recognition. Not just for this role, but for his career.

When I heard the news about his passing, I couldn’t breathe. I stared at my computer screen in utter shock and disbelief, and I couldn’t process it. Once I did start to get a grasp on what was happening, my first thought was how absolutely \m/ grateful I was that I got to see him on Broadway in Death of a Salesman.

As soon as I heard his name attached to one of the greatest plays ever written, I knew it would be worth the trip to NYC. I sat in the cheap seats at the back of the balcony, but even then, the second he walked on stage I felt I was in the presence of greatness. There are no words to describe that performance. I kinda knew that I wouldn’t be able to catch him at the stage door afterwards, and while I was disappointed, now I feel it was all for the best. The whole “”never meet your hero”” adage, and he certainly was one of mine. Besides, some of the rest of the cast made that rank among the best stage door meetings I’ve ever had. I think it would have been just a bit too surreal for me to have caught him too.

I think what affected me most was just mourning the loss of any future performances from this brilliant actor. He would have had many long years of incredible work ahead of him, and it devastates me that the world is now deprived of those. But the legacy he left behind is one that can’t be matched by anyone else.”

Some thoughts on the matter

“Today I’ve been completely shaken by the events last night in Colorado. When I should have been excited about having had a fun midnight movie outing, I found myself feeling guilty about it. I was debating how to handle it in my Dark Knight Rises write up. Those of you who’ve been reading know that my write ups are more blog entries with personal experiences than straightforward critiques. Do I mention something about this or not? There’s been so many tweets and facebook status going around, I didnt wanna seem disingenuous. But the fact of the matter is, I consider myself part of the movie community, even if it’s a small part, and I feel greatly affected by what happened.

I first saw the news shortly after I woke up this morning. A blurb here and there on twitter. A headline on IMDB. Honestly, I didnt think too much of it at the time. Maybe it’s because I was running on three hours of sleep, but I just didn’t process it right away, and just dismissed it. Soon after I got to work, I started seeing more headlines, and it started to hit me. I read a few articles, and got to one that was particularly detailed. At that point I was in full on freak out mode, and it just sort of set a shadow over the whole day.

Part of it was the feeling that it could just have easily been the theater I was at. No, I wasn’t anywhere close by. Hell, I was a whole two timezones away. But if it was just a random incident, it really could have been any random theater. Even if the end credits were about to roll for me right as the opening credits were wrapping up for them, I was still doing the exact same thing at the exact same time. That’s what is scary, in a life-is-short manner of thinking.

But that’s not what really gets me. It’s sad, but we do live in a world where crap like this does happen in the most ordinary of locations. What hits me hard about this is that the movies are my ultimate safe place, and now my sanctuary no longer feels sacred. Yes there’s the escapism inherit to watching a film, but it’s intensified by going to a brick and mortor theater. I’ve gone by myself or with a group so large we took up an entire row or more. I’ve been in sold out auditoriums, the only one in the room, and once even had an entire auditorium rented out for my group. The movies are where I go when I need to escape, when I need to get my mind off something, when I have nothing else to do, when it’s too hot to stay in my apartment, when I’ve run out of conversation topics. I’ve been on my birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving. I’ve gone at all hours of the night and day. I’ve gone in multiple states across the country. I see action movies, dramas, comedies, kids movies, new releases, throwbacks, special screenings, sneak peeks. I’ve gone in costume, and in pajamas. It’s the only non-location specific place that feels like home. I go through withdrawls if I go too long without my fix. And I feel like it’s been taken away from me. I dont mean to belittle what happened and make it all about me, but the truth of the matter is that the effects of it are more far reaching than the obvious.

The effects on every day movie-goers are gonna be long reaching. AMC is banning masks and toy weapons, and very rightly so. There’s talk about an uncertain future for midnight premiers, but I hope that’s just talk. Who knows what kind of effect it will have on the film’s box office take, but honestly, who cares about that. The portrayal of violence in film is gonna come into question, and I pray there’s no knee-jerk overreaction. I could go on a long rant expanding on that, but we’ll save that for some other time.”

American Idiot

“Prolly shoulda written this last week, cause we all know how the content of my write ups tends to decrease with time. But then again, I think Im just enough over the high of the show that this wont be all OMG’s and excess exclamation points. Also, I wasnt sure if I really would do this, but I’ve got some time to kill now. 30 min til DWTS, and with mom having invaded my room, there’s no space to D on my own like I usually do right after work. No I wont explain that.

First, some Dawn Dawn backstory. I wont go too far back, except to say that the short version of the far back is that punk rock is what helped me survive high school. The \m/ you rebellious attitude kept me going until I could get outta there. While Blink 182 was the band that actually got me into punk, Green Day wasn’t too far behind. Fast foward a bit to 2004. I’d heard rumors of Green Day putting out a Tommy-like concept album. This being the time I was heavy into musical theater one of my first thoughts was how \m/ awesome it’d be if that album made it to the stage.

Some time passed and I hadnt heard much else about this mysterious album. Then American Idiot came out. I think I tried downloading it at first, but that five songs in one thing confused me, and I figured what the hell and went and bought it. Keep in mind, at this point in time, I legally bought maaaaybe one album a year. I think I listened to it a few times through before realizing “”holy shit this is that concept album””. I devoured it at that point.

That entire fall, everywhere I went, American Idiot was with me. Now this was a few months before I got my first ipod. So I was carrying around a walkman all over MIT and Boston. And this was also when I’d busted my knee, so I was hobbling around on crutches. I’d specifically carry around my little black and blue Superman satchel so it would hold my walkman, with just one cd on me. I studied the lyric book like whoa. I even went so far as to write out all the lyrics on my wall–no easy feat when my uber knee brace limited my range of motion.

Obsess much? Yeah. But I loved it. I connected with it on so many levels–the rebellion, the desire to get out, the angst and insecurity, the outcast-ness (?).

Fast foward a bit more, and I hear that the stage show has finally happened. I dont wanna say I’d given up hope on it, but it wasnt something that’d crossed my mind in a while. From hearing about it in December, I was on edge until finally getting to see it last week.

Woke up at 4 AM to catch the 6:30 bus to NYC. Got in around 11 and had a solo lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Wandered around a bit til I ended up at the St Jimmy (okay so its officially the St James) theater. They let us in through this side hallway with red and black walls. On the ledges were silver and black sharpies, and the walls were covered in graffitti. I ran to a wall and tried to find a spot to squeeze in a signature. I got in a better one on the way out, but my flashless camera phone couldnt get a good shot. Walked to the merch table and blew my budget before settling into my seat.

Was it all worth it? FUCK YEAH! We weren’t even through the first verse of the title song when I was already screaming “”Again! Again again!”” in my head. I fear the people next to and behind me musta been really annoyed cause I was rocking out, mouthing every lyric. That opening number in particular was just phenomenal. Really intense and physical choreo (<3!), bright set, tv screens with assorted Americana images, string players on fire escape type platforms, actors suspended from the air, costumes I want in my closet, energetic cast. Love all around. Now I will admit there were points that weren't perfect. The minimal book is a bit questionable. At times they explained too much, and at others not enough. And most of that limited dialogue did seem a bit forced. There were some images, especially in a lot of the middle songs, that I didnt quite understand. Although when listening to the original album on loop on the bus ride back, I got to process them a bit and they did make more sense. In particular, Im thinking of some of the more symbolic imagery, especially with the whole soldier storyline. But that's about all of the negative for me. I'd had almost a week to chew on the tasty soundtrack, which the wonderful Nikki had procured for me. And the unthinkably impossible happened. They actually made the original songs sound even better! Was really interested in how they characterized it. As much as I absorbed the album, I'd pieced together a different story in my head. Same basic concept, but different details. The one I'd particularly not seen coming was the aforementioned soldier subplot, which was for (semi)new character Tunny. Also thought that newbie character Will staying behind in the ficticious Jingletown while Jesus of Suburbia and Tunny ventured into the city was an interesting touch. Took me a while to get which St Jimmy interpertation they were going with: alter ego or bad influence. Im not sure how apparent the alter ego thing would be for someone not familiar with it (hell, it took me a while to catch onto that interpertation of the album, even with the line ""The St Jimmy is a figment of your father's rage and your mother's love). Loved the cast. Such a great and energetic bunch, and all so perfect for their roles. The ensemble worked incredibly well. It seemed like one of those shows where its almost more fun to be in the ensemble than a lead. That always gets points from me. I dont think its possible for me to gush anymore. So we'll move on. On the way out, I saw people lining up behind barricades by the stage door--something I always forget about on the few occassions when Ive been to b'way. So I grabbed one of the extra Playbills I'd stolen and a sharpie from my bag and waited with the rest of 'em. By the end, my Playbill was full of signatures. Missed out on John Gallagher Jr (Jesus of Suburbia) and Tony Vincent (St Jimmy) but I got all the other major players and a good chunk of the ensemble. Even took a pic (which ya'll see on my facebook profile) with Michael Esper (Will). Wrapping up cause its almost DWTS and my hands are dying, but all I got left to say is I cant \m/ wait to see this again and again and again. Anyone up for a trip to NYC?"