Chadwick Boseman

I’ve been letting the morning minutes tick by aimlessly because I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been numb all weekend. Robin Williams, Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and now Chadwick Boseman. All actors who I’ve loved and admired who left us far too soon, and who’ve had the same profound impact on me in their life and in their death. This one is even more difficult to wrap my head around because it was so sudden and out of nowhere. Superheroes are supposed to be indestructible. They’re not supposed to be taken from us without warning.

It was finally the weekend. I’d just finished eating the pizza I’d been dreaming about all week and was then grossed out by after a few bites (typical). Was looking forward to my long planned Ikea trip the next day. We were at the last few minutes of Predestination, a movie which I absolutely loved and will likely talk about soon. As absorbed as I was in the film, especially as we were getting to some big final reveals, I pulled out my phone. I started with looking up plot points of the film, mostly to make sure that I was following everything. But as so inevitably happens, I pulled up Insta. And there at the top of the page was Josh Gad’s post about Chadwick Boseman. I paused the movie. This couldn’t be true, could it? Some quick internet searches confirmed the news that had just broken. Chadwick Boseman was dead at 43 from colon cancer.

An initial wave of grief hit me. I thought about all the amazing things he’d done with his career (42, Get on Up, Thurman) but mostly I thought about his legacy as Black Panther. What it meant to the black community to see a headlining black superhero, and utter disbelief that he could be taken from us. I thought about the crowd the night that first saw the movie, and how they were one of the rowdier movie crowds I’ve been in. Or the Saturday opening weekend when I went to the theater to see something else and it was the only time I ever struggled with parking because I saw so many gorgeous black families piling in the cinema. My heart ached for the void that was now being left by him.

I thought about his role in Da 5 Bloods, and how his character died young (not a spoiler, it’s the plot of the movie) and his young self was acting alongside older gentlemen to show how his character was frozen in time. Now he would be too. It’s as though the role was prophetic.

His death also made me think about my own mortality. Dead at 43, diagnosed at 38. I’m 35. That’s not too far away. There are so many dark and dangerous threats in this world, any moment could be your last.

The movie ended and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I walked around my tiny apartment aimlessly for a good twenty minutes. I went to put something in my purse, completely forgetting that I have a Black Panther bag now, and got emotional all over again. Any further plans for the evening, yoga or new movies, were out the window. I sat in the middle of the floor for a while. My cat, who is typically stingy with affection, sensed my grief and sat near me. There was only one thing I could do. I went back to the living room and put on Black Panther.

I’ve been in a fog the whole weekend, watching video clips of interviews and awards show moments. When I went to bed Friday night, the first thing I saw was my Black Panther pillow. I remembered that hell I’d wanted to get the entire sheet set, but they didn’t come in queen size. I went grocery shopping on Saturday, grabbed a bunch of my reusable bags, and the first one had T’Challa, Nakia, and Okoye. I broke my movie budget for the week because I insisted that I needed 21 Bridges (I don’t have Marshall or Get on Up either) and I needed to get a comfort movie (Little Giants).

This one is gonna take a long time to get over, and similar to the illustrious actors I mentioned at the start, it’ll likely always hurt. It’s things that this that make you question your entire understanding of how the world works.

Hilarity For Charity County Fair

Not a movie review, but a full rundown of an epic night that’s kinda movie adjacent. By the time this posts, I should have a bunch of pix on my Insta, and I also made a highlight of all the stories I was posting live throughout the best night ever. The following is copy/pasted from my FB

Buckle up folks, this is gonna be a pretty longish post about where exactly I was tonight and what craziness I got myself into. (If you saw my Insta stories, you already know some highlights).

A couple of weeks ago, Seth Rogen posted a really bizarre video on Twitter advertising the Hilarity For Charity County Fair. Instead of the annual variety show where his comedian friends all perform, this would be a fair with rides and food and games, which would be run by his comedian friends. I think I had heard him announce it earlier this summer, and I completely balked at the price. I did so again when I first clicked on the add, and then I thought about what other dumb things I’ve spent that much money on. And since I’d been extra good with my budget lately, maybe it’d be okay. Finally justified it by saying I woulda spent that much on Moulin Rouge tickets this summer and didn’t. The list of guests included Tony Hawk, Adam Devine, Ike Barinholtz, Jeffrey Ross, Ilana Glazer and others. Really all I want is a selfie with Adam Devine (not to be confused with Adam Levine)

I was worried how I was gonna afford the night itself (not just admission) but soon found out that food and drinks were all included, and I’d get 5 tickets for rides and games. So I’d just hafta pay for parking and any extra tickets. Totally doable. I checked the list of expected guests and picked out the five that I’d wanna play with. I could skip the rides.

Anyways, I get there, and it really is a (very small) county fair. There’s a ferris wheel and bumper cars and a few other possibly sketchy rides. Casey Wilson is hosting the water squirt game, but there’s also basketball and a rope ladder and the rolly ball thing that I’m terrible at. Foodtrucks are scattered around the back and there’s open bar stations scattered throughout the area. Tony Hawk has just started his skating demo, so there isn’t much room to get a good view. I manage to grab a couple videos of him and decide now’s prolly a good time to get food while everyone is crowded around the half pipe.

While I’m waiting for my Shake Shack burger, I see a sign about a scavenger hunt. I find a card with some clues on it, and I’m supposed to take a photo of 5 signs that will be posted around the area. Turning in all five gets me entries in the raffle. Perfect, something fun I can do that doesn’t require any money or tickets. Takes a little while until I find that last one, but I go and turn them in. As I’m filling out the raffle form, I hear a familiar voice. Andrew Rannells is standing right next to me buying tickets. I still hadn’t gotten a feel for the event yet, so I didn’t interrupt him for a selfie (in retrospect, I totally could and should have), but I figure I’ll catch him at his game booth later (I’d previously mentally reserved one ticket for him).

I figure it’s time to use some of those tickets. No one cool is hosting the games yet, but there’s a long line for basketball, a game I’d play either way. Maybe someone will show up while I’m waiting? Right as I finally get to the front, Regina Hall climbs into the booth and starts giving encouragement to all the players and narrating what’s going on. I manage to sink 2 of 5 shots, which wins me a toy dolphin and Regina congratulates me.

I wander around. Ilana Glazer is now hosting the rolly ball game, but I don’t know that I wanna use one of my tickets on her. Not too long after, Andrew Rannells takes over the water gun game, so I make my way over there. Just before I’m able to move into an empty seat, I spot Nyle DiMarco (?!) on the other side of the game. It’s now my sole to track him down at some point and get a selfie. I use ticket number 2 to play the water game. It ends. I wasn’t sure what was going on or how you could tell who the winner was and next thing I know Andrew Rannells is telling me that I won and I can pick my prize. I tell him to choose for me, and he picks this super blue teddy bear. I’m somehow 2 for 2.

There’s an announcement that Anderson .Paak is about to take the stage. I walk over that way and hang around for a bit, but I’m not really that interested in him. I’m more interested in finding Nyle. Long story short (and absent the stalker-y details), I run into him after he grabs a churro from the cart. I sign “picture” and “please” and he smiles and nods yes. I’d already mostly figured out how to juggle my prizes and purse and phone and am able to snap a selfie. His friend who’s with him offers to take a photo for me and gets one of the most perfect shots I could have ever hoped for. I sign “thank you” and he signs back “You’re welcome” and waves goodbye. He smiles and I melt. No matter what else happens, this night has been absolutely worth every last dollar and ounce of effort.

I’m wandering around again. The concert’s still going, so no celebs are manning the booth. As I walk past the entrance, someone comes up to me and offers me the rest of their tickets. “Are you serious?!” “Yeah, I’m leaving and I didn’t use any” “Oh my God, thank you so so much. I’ve been trying super hard not to use mine all up” “Yeah no problem” He hands me ten (?!) tickets. I continue to thank him profusely, and he grabs his buddy that’s leaving with him and directs him to give me his tickets as well. There are now 23 in my pocket. Not only will I not have to buy any more (at five bucks a pop), I’m likely to not even use up all of them.

I immediately run to the nearest ride, the hurricane. I hadn’t even seen what it does, but I pay a ticket and hop on. Turns out, it was much more intense than expected, but ended up being my favorite. I then go and ride the swings which is not the nice calm swings like Disney’s Silly Symphony. These nearly crash into each other and sometimes you feel like you’re gonna fall out of the seats. While I’m on the ride, Seth Rogen gets on the mic and announces that Jeffrey Ross is roasting people on the bumper cars, the Garfunkel and Oates girls (Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci) girls are on the water guns, and Ike Barinholtz is on the rolly balls).

I leave my swing seat before it’s even fully stopped and run to the rolly ball game. It takes a few rounds until I can get a spot. Jeff Garlin comes over from Skee-ball and trash talks with Ike. I’ve always been terrible at this game, but the first round doesn’t go too badly. Ike calls out my number a few times in the play by play as being in contention for the win. Okay, maybe I’ll try again. Second round, still actually did pretty good. Third time’s a charm, yeah? Um, yeah! For maybe the second time in my life ever I win that game. Ike asks if I like pandas, then asks if I like puppies. I tell them both are cute, but he can pick the prize for me (especially since the last Superman doll at the booth was awarded in the previous round). He hands me a panda that is big enough to eat both the bear and the dolphin from earlier. I’d say I looked ridiculous carrying around these giant animals, but half the people at the fair were in the same boat.

The next while is a bit of a blur. Mostly just wandering and waiting for Adam Devine who has yet to host a game. I play a couple of terrible rounds of basketball. I’m texting friends freaking out about my day and posting more highlights on Insta. Finally, I see my boy at the water guns. After a few rounds, I take my seat. I don’t expect to win right away, but I’ve got a pocket full of tickets and I did miraculously win on the first try before. How long could this take?

I must’ve played maybe 15 rounds (I later counted 10 tickets used, but there were def a few where the ticket taker never got to me). Absolutely NOTHING. A few times Adam offers me encouragement, saying he knows I’m going to win the next one (I don’t). I accuse him of being bad luck. Honestly, I’m just happy he’s talking to me. I stay until he finishes his shift. I stand by the exit and a few people are already lined up with their cameras out. He eventually gets to me. We take a couple photos, then he grips my shoulder and says that he’s so sorry that I didn’t win. He was so sure I’d get it eventually. “Hey no worries. All I really wanted was this right here (gesturing towards my phone and him)” I get some awws from the crowd. But no really, that was the one thing I wanted most going into the evening.

I ride the hurricane and the swings one more time. I’ve still got tickets ,in my pocket. Seth Rogen’s in a dunk tank, but you hafta actually donate to play. That’s not happening. I make a few more laps to see who I run into, but the crowd’s thinning out. I spot Nyle having an entire conversation in ASL with an excited fan and it warms my heart. Eventually Seth announces that it’s closing time so people start to leave. I try to find where he was to make that announcement. I saw him decline selfies earlier in the evening, but maybe now that there were fewer people and less things going on he’d acquiesce? I don’t find him. I keep circling to see if there’s anyone else to meet and they’ve clearly all gone home. I leave and go validate my parking.

While I’m in line, I spot Seth right across the street (his wife’s sparkly jacket gave them away). I resist the urge to run over immediately and wait until I pay for my parking (which by some miracle was only 5 bucks). I’m thinking he went back into the fair, but no! He’s talking to people at sign in. I walk towards him. Security stops me. Says I can ask for a picture, but he could say no. I tell him I understand, and I stand by waiting for Seth to finish his convo with his wife. Someone else comes up from the other side and grabs a picture. He then walks over towards me. I politely ask, and he says yes, clearly exhausted from the long night. I tell him how much fun I had as I thank him and run off. I still had 5 tickets in my pocket

What is my life?!

Expletive Dleted Top 200

I think I’ve been trying to revamp my top list off and on for the past year or so, but I’ve finally locked it in! I’ve always been curious as to what my top 200 would look like since the last few spots in my top 100 tend to be movies that I just can’t leave out.

Turns out, it seems that when I expand my list that much, movies that I’ve recently rewatched get priority. I made the mistake of starting a Letterboxd right after I locked in my list and I found that lots of films it was reminding me about could have been on here had I made it a week later. Oh well. It’s all for fun anyways, yeah?

For the back 200, I’m just gonna post the list, no commentary, no fancy links on the graph, and it’s not gonna get put on the Top 100 page when I update it shortly.

What I am gonna do is go thru my full list (all 200) on Stardust over the next few weeks (months?). I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about 90% of these on there at least once before, but some of my really old reactions kinda make me cringe now. They’re due for an update.

Oh and a reminder that these are my favorites, not what I’m calling the best. I’m weighing quality against nostalgia and personal preference. In other words, don’t @ me (but actually do @ me with friendly debate)

So without any further ado, here’s the back half of my top 200. The front half will be in my next post

200Cool Hand Luke
199Night at the Museum
198I Feel Pretty
197Joe’s Apartment
196The Lost Boys
195From Dusk Til Dawn
194End of Watch
193Eastern Promises
191The Good Son
190Easy A
189The Fifth Element
188The Italian Job (2003)
187The Client
186The Transporter
185The Professional
184Quiz show
183Top Gun
182The Raid 2
181The Santa Clause
180Tom and Huck
179The Mist
177Beauty and the Beast
176A Very Harold and Kumor Christmas
174Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
173A Star is Born (2018)
172How to Train Your Dragon
171Hell or High Water
170Mad Max: Fury Road
169Children of Men
167Blood Diamond
166Kick Ass
165The Stanford Prison Experiment
164Austin Powers
163Edward Scissorhands
162Little Miss Sunshine
161Slumdog Millionaire
160Swiss Army Man
159School of rock
157Sky High
156Tropic Thunder
155Good Will Hunting
154The Breakfast Club
153(500) Days of Summer
152We Need to Talk About Kevin
151Chasing Amy
150The Lego Movie
149Apt Pupil
148Keeping the Faith
147Indianna Jones
146A Knight’s Tale
145A Christmas Story
144John Wick
143Independence Day
141Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
140Happy Death Day
139Ace Ventura
138The Shawshank Redemption
137Shoot ‘Em Up
136Cabin Fever
135Begin Again
134A Quiet Place
133The Disaster Artist
132The Devil Wears Prada
131Team America: World Plice
129Mulholland Dr
128Can’t Hardly Wait
127Catch Me If You Can
126The Faculty
125Minority Report
123Bubble Boy
118The Sixth Sense
117Tucker & Dale Vs Evil
116Revolutionary Road
114V For Vendetta
113Hedwig and the Angry Inch
111Wonder Woman
110Bohemian Rhapsody
109Back to the Future
108South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut
10710 Things I Hate About You
106Sin City
105The Addams Family
104The Princess Diaries
103Repo: The Genetic Opera
101The Lion King

AMC Best Picture Showcase 2019

Remember a few years ago when I talked about how I did a 24 hour marathon of the best picture nominees? Guess what. I did it again! Finally! I’ve missed the ones in between since it usually falls on my bday weekend and I’ve already had something else planned. So this year I figured, why not make this the bday celebration? Turns out, it’s kind of a tough sell to get people to commit to sitting in a movie theater thru that many movies. But since when has the prospect of doing something alone stopped me? I did have a few friends who rotated in and out tho, so that was cool. Oh and we had to haul all the way down to Orange County for it. Kinda weird being so close to Disneyland and not stopping in to say hi to the Mouse. Anyways since my previous write up on the experience is pretty famous, at least in my family, (Hi Uncle Phil!) of course I’m gonna document the whole thing over again. I’m feeling very pressured to make this funny, but I do at least have some delirious Stardust reactions from throughout the day to help document things. Okay here we go

Approximately one month before the big day 6:55 AM – It’s the day tickets are supposta be on sale. I check the website as soon as I wake up. Nothing yet.

Same day 8:45 AM – Tickets are on sale, and everything I would have identified as the best seats are taken. I obsess for five minutes about which ones I want, mainly debating between center (better view) or aisle (better bathroom access). And what’s with this auditorium looking like it has 3 tiers? I pick middle tier center.

I proceed to spend the next month or so trying to convince people to come with. I eventually get 3 people, none of whom can be there for the whole thing, but we’ve secured a couple of seats in my row which eventually fills up.

Morning of 6:55 – I wake up. The alarm is actually set for 7:30, but I’m too antsy to sleep. Shower, breakfast, assuring the cats that I will be back some day. I’m wearing the Pulp Fiction shirt my BFFF got me for Christmas. It’s kinda like he’s coming with, plus it’s an awesome shirt. Also opted for my Ready Player One pajama pants. I’ve got a bag packed with my Aladdin magic carpet blanket, neck pillow, and water bottle. I wonder if they’re gonna be weird about bags, but I forsee picking up more items along the way so I chance it. I go back and forth on what outerwear to bring. It’s cold (for LA) so I take the Alien chestburster hoodie and my Donnie Darko jean jacket. I’d initially wanted to buy a bunch of party hats or other fun bday things, but since the group’s on the small side, I figure it’s not worth it. I grab a previous year’s Disneyland birthday pin and a Happy Bday necklace. That’ll do this time. I don’t know that anyone actually cares about these details, but let’s just say I thought about them for way too long. I pack up my truck and set the GPS while waiting for Friend 1’s Uber to get him to me

8:50 – Friend 1 arrives with a present: a tshirt and gift card to Trejo’s Tacos. I’m thinking about how much I love Trejo’s donuts that it isn’t until the next day that I realize I haven’t ever had his tacos yet. I make a mental note to wear the shirt on my actual bday on Mon. We hop in my truck. Most of the ride is spent speculating about who’s gonna win the next day. I hate committing to one pick, since I can usually guess the favorite and the upset but I never know which one is gonna prevail, but I LOVE having full conversations about all the possibilities. I actually have to grab a couple cough drops because I’m talking so much my throat is hurting. At one point, my buddy stops the conversation “What is that playing?” (Because of course my driving mix is blasting) “I have never heard so much bass coming from your truck” “That’s the Grinch” *quizzical look* “Tyler the Creator’s version for the new movie”. Buddy laughs hysterically because this is a completely on brand moment for me.

9:40 – We get to the Outlet mall that holds the giant AMC hosting the marathon. I’m not sure what end of the theater to park at which will get me closer to the entrance when I’m walking back to my truck alone in the wee hours of the morning. We get down and I’m loving how many people I’m seeing walking ahead of us also carrying pillows and blankets. We get into the theater and it’s surprisingly busy. I realize that they’ve actually got a bunch of showtimes starting this early. We’re waiting in line to get our tickets scanned and I’m starting to get giddy.

9:50 – We got less than ten minutes and I’ve got some running around to do. Check in and pick up lanyard. Bathroom. AMC Stubs gives you a free large popcorn and drink on your bday month which I’ve strategically saved for today and need to cash in. Turns out getting those two at once qualified as a combo which currently came with free gummy candy. Score!! I film my first Stardust reaction giving the lowdown on what’s about to go down while Friend 1 gets his mozzarella sticks. I’m frantically trying to add captions to the video as we walk into the auditorium. Uh oh. It’s not recliner seats like I’d just assumed would be in room they picked. They are very tight rows and I’m right in the middle of a bunch of people I will be scooching past many times today. We sit down and I’m trying to upload my Stardust reaction. Announcers come in to intro the movie (that didn’t happen last time). In a surprise move, they tell us we’re gonna be allowed to bring in outside food. In another surprise move, film 1 starts exactly on time, and I hafta wait to get my video uploaded until the first break.

10:00 – The Favourite – This is the movie I’m most looking forward to watching again. The first time around, I was digging the first half, but then bored for the second. I hoped I’d enjoy it more when it wasn’t two hours after going Black Friday shopping. And I did enjoy it better, but I still found the second act to be weaker. Still, the screenplay really impressed me with its smart humor and I hoped it would take original screenplay (tho the actual best original screenplay of the year for me would be Blindspotting, which wasn’t nominated because they chose not to compaign). When comparing Best Actress nominees, a friend had commented that Olivia Colman isn’t in The Favourite much, so I keep an eye on her. Her time is only slightly more than the ladies up for supporting, but the story revolves around Queen Anne, so it makes sense. During the draggy parts of the film, I figure out my food strategy. Chicken tenders now. Nothing in the next break. Outside food during the dinner break. Ice cream later. The popcorn will never run out.

12:00 – The movie is out and we’ve got 20 minutes. Friend 2 should be arriving any minute now. While making a bathroom run, I notice someone is wearing a full animal pajama onesie and I’m jealous. Next time I’m going full pj’s. I get my intro reaction posted while I’m in line, and also post an obligatory lanyard photo on my Insta. I then run over to order my chicken tenders(in a combo with fries and a cookie!) and record my reaction for The Favourite while I wait. I get my food and wait with Friend 1 at the bar, while I’m trying to get my captions on the video. We see the announcers walking out of the theater a couple minutes before the film’s supposta start. Guess that’s our queue to go in. My video’s not uploading. Friend 2 isn’t here yet. But I have my chicken and cookie and we take our seats.

12:20 – Bohemian Rhapsody – Just as I finish eating, Friend 2 arrives. The timing works out because now it’s possible for me to hold giant popcorn because we no longer have an extra empty seat for stuff. This is my favorite movie on the list (tho I will admit, not the best one). With this watch, it officially because the 5th movie I’ve seen 5 times in theaters (after Ready Player One and all three LOTRs). The Live Aid sequence is a big part of why I saw it so many times, and regardless of your feelings towards the rest of the film, you can’t deny the power of that scene. And that’s all I have to say about that

2:35 – Break time. The Favourite still won’t upload to Stardust, so I try the one without captions and it works. I get the feeling that this won’t be the first one of the day where I forgo that addition. I record a video for BohRap and that uploads fine. I refill my giant soda with lemonade. Thank the Lord Jesus for freestyle machines. The caffeinated options are gonna be handy later. I’m not sure that anything else remarkable happened during this break.

2:55 – Black Panther. I get teary when I see the Marvel logo appear. I’ve been watching these movies for 10 years–never missed one in theaters–and to see that this beloved franchise actually has a Best Picture nominee is incredible. As I watch the movie, I’m soaking in all the culture. That’s what makes this movie special. The represenation and the way that Wakanda is brought to life. As we get to the climax of the film, I realize that on the first watch I dozed off for longer than I thought because none of this looks familiar. It’s kinda cool essentially getting to experience the film for the first time a second time.

5:05 – Dinner break! Friend 3 appears as we say goodbye to Friend 2. I am in search of something green to eat. I’ve been trying to eat a salad every day, and this will be my one shot at it. I don’t know where the food court is at this mall ,so we wander and find a couple of restaurants next to each other. There’s an italian place that looks okay and has no line. The Mexican place beside it has a line out the door. Italian it is. Pasta with a double helping of salad as a side. Saving the breadstick for later. I record yet another Stardust reaction while Friend 3 orders food. Friend 1 takes his leave while me and Friend 3 eat our dinner.

5:45 – Back to the theater. I run back into the auditorium to grab my popcorn and soda. The popcorn has barely had a dent made in it, but I bring it out to add more butter. I fill half of the soda with something caffeinated, half without. I put a plastic bag over the popcorn to keep it safe as I make a bathroom run. Once the popcorn was wrapped up, I never touched it again for the rest of the night. Too much effort.

5:55 – I’m back inside in time for the last of the trivia questions. They ask how many nominations did Black Panther get and what were they for? The host encourages people to look it up as no one answers right away. Well, I at least know some of them, so I raise my hand “Picture, Score, Song, Costumes, and Production Design, so five?” “You missed Sound Editing and Mixing, but we’ll give it to you” Clearly she just didn’t wanna deal with waiting for someone who’d looked it up and prolly already won something earlier. The second host hands me a pen with a chewed cap. I assume I’m meant to exchange this for a real prize.

6:00 – Green Book – First of all, I’m glad that I opted for Italian for dinner because I otherwise would have craved it while watching all the gorgeous food they eat throughout the film. Second, I laughed harder watching this film than any other point in the whole day. I know there’s a ton of controversies around this film, especially after its big win. Yes it’s kinda problematic and no it’s not the best nominee to tackle race relations. However for me, I view this film as taking on a micro issue: an initially fraught relationship between two people that becomes a true friendship. Not a macro issue trying to save the world. Yeah it’s a weak and fluffy Best Picture, but I still enjoy watching it.

8:10 – The movie’s over and I go and exchange my pen. They have a whole box of swag to pick from with some pretty great options in there. I pick a tshirt that says “I Bested The Best” and has the year and name of the marathon. Friend 3 wants a photo at the little photo op spot they set up. I was starting to get sleepy and it’s starting to show in my Stardust video. We’re over the hump tho, and it’s all downhill now, right?

8:30 – Vice – As the movie goes on, I’m drinking more of that half caffeinated soda. I’m still not really feeling the effects which may or may not be a good thing. I’m more into the movie on this watch than the time before since I knew what to expect. I wasn’t comparing it in my head to The Big Short, and I knew everything was gonna make me angry, so I really zeroed in on the details that flew over my head before. I pay close attention to Amy Adam’s performance, and yeah, ,this isn’t gonna be the win that finally equals Oscar gold for her (though she very much deserves it). I’m too familiar with Christian Bale’s other work to fully see him lose himself in Cheney. Instead I continue to see bits of Batman and Patrick Bateman sprinkled throughout. Or maybe I’m just trying to confirm in my mind that Rami’s gonna win that race. The credits are rolling, but the lights haven’t come up yet. Um, why? That question is quickly answered when we find a mid-credits scene that I’d missed before. It’s a nice punctuation mark on the movie.

10:40 – I’ve been awake for all 12+ hours of film, but we’ve just crossed into the danger zone: it’s passed my usual ten o’clock bedtime (during the week, weekends are 11). I go to refill my giant soda at the Freestyle machine, intending this one to be fully caffeinated and I remember it’s the rare occassion when I can have a Dr Pepper. Except they only have Mr Pibb. Hopefully it’s been long enough that I don’t remember the difference. I also realize that in the entire day, I’ve only had a couple of sips of water in between all the soda (not very like me at all(. I grab a tiny cup from the bar and fill it up and chug it. That may prove to be a mistake, as we’ll learn in a bit. Stardust reaction goes up, and my ability to talk coherently AND work the caption app goes down. I do manage to acquire an ice cream sandwich. Trivia lady confuses everyone by first asking to name a role besides Vice where Bale gained weight, but then changes her question to a role where he changed weight. The girl behind me is upset that she was yelling The Machinist, but stopped when she realized the question was “gained weight” but it woulda been valid for “changed weight”. Trivia lady then asks what tour Lady Gaga was on when she filmed a scene of A Star is Born at the Forum. I’d already decided I was only gonna try to answer questions that didn’t have a million hands go up, and I’m surprised no one else’s does for this. I raise mine and correctly answer “Joanne”. Now I’m given what looks like a raffle ticket instead of a chewed pen.

11:00 – A Star Is Born – The caffeine finally starts to hit as the movie starts, timed well with the electric music. I’ve got just a bit of jitters and a sudden burst of energy that carries me through it. It’s the third time I’ve seen this movie, and I STILL get chills when they perform Shallow on stage. About halfway thru the movie, the thing I’ve been dreading all day happens. The soda (and water cup) have caught up to me and I’ve really gotta go pee. Except I’m stuck in the middle of the row. I thought the herd would thin out, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. I’m counting how many scenes are left in the film. Bradley Cooper pisses himself on stage at the Grammys and I feel jealous. I want to drink more soda to keep the caffeine vibe going, or more water to counteract the jitters, but I hafta carefully measure how much I do so vs how much more movie is left. The lights go up, and Friend 3 is ready to say her goodbye and I race past her to take care of business.

1:10 – I bid adieu to Friend 3, then go cash in my prize. The once full box of swag now only has a book about the production design of If Beale Street Could Talk, a mysterious lamp thing, and about six blind boxes of Fantastic Beast toys. I opt for the blind box and don’t even wanna see the options it displays because knowing my luck with these things I’ll be disappointed. I throw up my penultimate Stardust vid, and don’t even attempt to caption it. All I’m thinking about is how much I want kitty snuggles in my bed right now. But there’s still one movie and a long drive between me and that. I get back into the auditorium. I now have three seats to myself, but the rest of the place still looks pretty full. Or at least all the seats in front and beside me are still accounted for. It occurs to me I never looked behind me. There’s a final round of trivia, but the slim pickins in the box don’t make it worth the effort.

1:30 – BlacKkKlansman – I move all my stuff into one seat, and lift up my legs into another one to curl up and get comfy with the extra space. I decide that if I start to drift off, it’s not worth fighting. Even though it’s the one I consider the best out of the bunch, and the one that would get my vote for Best Picture, I’ve already seen it a few times. I don’t NEED to pay full attention. I’m with it for a bit, but then sleep thru pretty much the entirety of the second act. When I am awake, I’m paying pretty close attention to the editing. Spike Lee had been campaigning for his editor to win, saying that he was mostly responsible for the perfect tonal blend of drama and comedy, and I notice other artistic flourishes he’s added in. I also notice the poignancy of the Harry Belafonte scene mixed in with the Birth of a Nation viewing. I also want so badly for Spike Lee to pull an upset for director. That’s not likely, but I take comfort in knowing he’s a strong front runner for screenplay.

3:45 – We get to the epilogue of the film, and I feel as disgusted and sick as the first time I watched it. But it’s finally time to drive home. I’d mostly packed up my bag when I got into position to watch this last movie, so I only need to do a quick sweep and put on the jackets that I barely touched throughout the day. I decide to wait on the Stardust reaction until I get home. I feel wide awake now, but I don’t wanna push it any more than I have to.

3:55 – I’ve reached my truck, set the GPS and begin the drive back. Funny how much faster it goes when there are zero cars on the highway. I’m still careful not to speed since fewer cars equals fewer targets for the cops. I’m determined that once I wake up in the morning and get my chores done, I’ll watch Roma on Netflix for completion (spoiler alert: I don’t).

4:40 – I’m home! I record my final Stardust reaction, the only one where I’ve been able to take my time and do multiple takes just because. I wait until the last possible moment before crawling into bed to text Mom that I’m back and will be sleeping in past our usual call time. Somehow this marathon felt less magical than the previous one. Maybe because the theater was so generally busy (and we weren’t snowbound), it didn’t feel like such an isolated event. Still, lots of fun, and something I’m looking to do again next year. It feels much more accessible now. And now I can’t fall asleep, so these are the things I think about as it takes me too long to drift off.

5:30 PM – The Oscars start. The two wins I want most happen: Rami Malek takes home best actor (tho I could have done without him gushing about his girlfriend that he couldn’t stop kissing when he won), and Spike Lee wins screenplay (not the award I most wanted for him, but now he’s officially won one). This also becomes only the second year since the Best Picture pool has been expanded that every nominee takes home at least one. The last year that happened? The same year I did the previous marathon. I’m seeing a connection.

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?"