Friday, December 03, 2004

Please, no pictures or autographs ...

Earlier this week the morning show I was listening to on the way to work announced it was giving away advance screening passes for Closer. Turns out the place to pick them up was the Mobil station (fancy!) at the next exit, so I decided to GO FOR IT, never mind that I might be five minutes late to work where no one would ever notice since I sit by myself across the hall from the department. (No, I don't smell. Space issues. For real!) I'm not sure what I was expecting at my first radio-station giveaway, but it wasn't a guy sitting in a van with the DJs' faces spray-painted on it, passing out passes by the handful through a barely-cracked window. I can only assume he was cold. So I walked up to him and he shoved a couple of passes at me without so much as a hello, so I quickly muttered "thanks" and scurried back to my car. Not really the celebrity treatment that "advance screening" conjured up in my mind, but hey. Free movie.

The screening was last night -- yet another disappointment since the movie comes out today and how glamorous can you really feel seeing a movie a whole 15 hours before anyone else can? It clearly stated on the pass that they overbook so you have to show up early to get a seat. I got to the theater 40 minutes early and there was already a huge line, but thankfully I now live in Texas ("Where Everything Is Bigger") so that didn't present a problem. When they let us into the theater all the best rows of seats were roped off and marked "Reserved," presumably for the advance screening glitterati, who, before you get too excited, never showed up.

The highlight of the advance screening experience came about 15 minutes before showtime, when the five people in radio station shirts who'd been milling about the front of the theater looking bored and superior announced that people who had a Post-It note or magnet attached to the bottom of their seat would be receiving a PRIZE! I had a magnet! I was in! I was one of the chosen few! But then a very bored, anaemic-looking young man in a SUNNY 97.1 shirt took the microphone and announced that they had enough stuff for everyone. That of course started a mass stampede toward the front of the theater that swept me along with it, where I received a Closer baseball cap and two long-sleeved t-shirts which, oddly enough, though were marked XL, would have barely fit Buster. Being the nice person that I am, I asked if anyone around me wanted them, and the slouchy young gentleman to my right RIPPED them out of my hand before I could finish saying that they were a little on the small side.


Still a little miffed that I did not manage to score a Closer lip balm (I am so not kidding about the lip balm), I sat down next to BK to watch the movie. We first got a preview for a film that might have made me wee myself just a little, as it features two of my favorite things: 1) Will Smith and 2) romantic comedy. February cannot come fast enough, people.

Closer was good, but very sad and very uncomfortable to watch. There were moments where I was actually squirming in my seat, squirming completely unrelated to the $5 tub of Diet Coke sitting in my cupholder. My only complaint was that it was so obviously originally written for the stage, which is a fine way for a story to make its way to the big screen, but usually works better when the playwright doesn't write the screenplay. Stephanie Zacharek of Salon nailed it when she wrote that, "[the] dialogue [is] so meticulous it bears no resemblance to the way people actually talk, let alone think. 'She has the moronic beauty of youth, but she's sly,' Larry observes of Alice after he meets her for the first time, a playwright's semaphore, maybe, for 'She's kind of cute.'"

Next time, I'm mowing those fuckers down and getting me a lip balm.


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