Tagmovies

Christmas Eve at the movies

I had myself a merry little Christmas Eve. I went to the movies yesterday. I love going to movies alone. I realized today when my mother-in-law commented on it that I may be in the minority of solo movie-goers.

I love a solo movie. I love sitting in an empty theater with a huge screen and surround speakers. I love reclining back and putting my feet up because our closest theaters all have reclining seats now.

I love losing myself in another world. Listening to a story told by the thousands of people it takes to put a movie together. I love trading my afternoon away for an escape to a new world or to rejoin old friends in a familiar place.

I went to three movies today. It wasn’t my plan when I woke up at 9am without an alarm set. But when I looked at MoviePass and saw it had nothing to offer me, I decided to take advantage of the cheap, morning pricing of our local AMC.

First on the docket today was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse.

I will be the first person to nod along when you say Sony made too many spider-movies. I often think of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt joke where Titus tries out for Spider-Man Too: 2 Many Spider-Men. Sony had one superhero card to play. So they played it. On repeat. For years. We saw 2 Many Spider-Men come and go. None of them particularly memorable.

As if they were stuck in Bill Murry’s nightmare in Punxsutawney, the spider-men kept reliving the same tragedy. The same story. Trapped on a turntable spinning them round and round into battle against never-ending foes and next time resetting and starting fresh.

This is a new movie. This is a movie that can laugh at itself and as it glosses over the story with a winking “and you know the rest”. It skips the origin story and tells what comes after.

A story about feeling alone. Then learning there are people who know what you’re going through.
A story about family problems (and boy are they!)
A story about figuring out who you are and how you want to be seen by the world.

And that’s just one of the Spider-men.

It was a lot of fun and told an interesting story with a unique style. I enjoyed the comic-book infused style that reminded me of Ang Lee’s 2003 Hulk but taken to a greater level and refined.

This film also offered up the single greatest still from a movie this year.

Miles Morales' Spider-man taking a leap of faith and falling upwards towards upside down buildings.
Spider-man taking a leap of faith.

After Spider-man, it was time to get some exercise. Popcorn and Coke don’t work themselves off. There is a large lake that’s about a mile around near the theater where I was. So I walked about it a few times while I decided how to spend my day next. It was cold but the walk was good. I need some exercise and the moving helped me think and process the movie I’d just seen.

I like to sit with something after I watch it. Even if it was just an animated spider-movie. Nothing that’s going to change my life or leave me thinking about it deep into the night. (Although the Rubik’s Cubeā€¦)

I walked for about three miles, caught dozens of Pokemon, took over two gyms and then decided it was time to see Once Upon a Deadpool. I will admit I wasn’t entirely sure what it was before going into it. But Aquaman wasn’t playing at a time that worked for me and the other movies either didn’t appeal to me, I didn’t need to spend the money to see them on the big screen, or they were ones I wanted to see with my wife.

Movie theater marker for Once Upon A Deadpool at 2pm.
PG-13 Deadpool is still Deadpool.

So Deadpool it was. As it turns out, a PG-13 re-cut of Deadpool 2 can still be a lot of fun. I had just watched Deadpool 2 earlier this week so it was fresh in my mind. The Fred Savage parts were fantastic. Especially the scene where Savage wants to f***t Matt Damon. There were a couple of things cut out like the naked butt of Juggernaut and a comment about the softest mouth in the Ice Box. But overall, it was still a fun movie.

There was a short tribute to Stan Lee at the end of the film after the credits rolled. I don’t have a deep comic connection but I couldn’t help marvel (ha!) at the man who had created so many characters and brought so much joy to millions of people.

I have done movie double-headers before in a theater. I’ve watched three movies in a single day before. But never have I seen three movies in a theater on the same day. Until today.

As I was leaving Deadpool, I got a text saying we (the family) were going to see The Grinch that evening.

Movie marquee featuring Mary Poppins Retuns (missing the R in returns) and The Grinch.
I took this picture without realizing it said Mary Popping Retuns until the next morning.

I was impressed with The Grinch. Having seen the 1966 original countless times growing up and the 2000 Jim Carrey version a few times, I didn’t think there was much new ground to cover with the grumpy green monster.

I was wrong.

The Grinch’s personality grew three sizes this day. He has motivation and a backstory. There’s a reason he hates Christmas (and maybe it’s not Christmas at all.) He’s much more developed than I remember in either previous iteration. I feel sorry for the poor guy. With only his little dog for company.

It wasn’t just the Grinch who has a developed personality. Cindy Lou Who is worried about her single mother trying to get by. Her mother is single and that’s a major plot point. There’s a Who of Color played by Kenan Thompson. Pharrell Williams’ narration sounds just like Al Letson from Reveal. I thought any minute now we were going to go behind the scenes of scandals in Whoville.

The gadgets and whatsits were high points for me. The various inventions the Grinch comes up with to aid in his theft of Christmas is a delight. Many of them made me laugh out loud, though the extendable sleigh to reach between houses was my favorite.

I haven’t seen either other Grinch movie recently, but I put this one up at the top of Grinch list. It capped off a wonderful Christmas Eve at the movies.

I rated all three films at Letterboxd. where I put everything I’ve seen this year including 70 I saw using Moviepass.

Free Movie Screenings

Recently, I’ve been able to see a couple of free screenings. I have no connections nor insider knowledge. All I’ve done is created an account at gofobo. The tickets are distributed through their site. Then, I signed up for Advance Screenings. That site will alert me of any new screenings in the area.

Since I’m near DC, there are a number of theaters in the area showing a variety of films. Many times, the showings are already full because they were released to a radio station audience first, or some other outlet before I get notified. But I’ve been lucky recently with getting passes to a few. Here’s what I’ve seen in recent weeks.

The DUFF

The DUFF stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend. It’s a film that tries to be She’s All That or Mean Girls but falls short of those lofty goals. It was a fun teen popcorn movie. I enjoyed it, though I would not have paid to see it in the theater.

There were a ton of screenings for this movie. It seems like they were trying to get a lot of people in to see it before it was released. I don’t know if they were worried about its performance, but it was a fun film and the audience I was with enjoyed it. 

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service looked good because who doesn’t like a spy film. And it’s got Samuel L. Jackson which is always a good sign. I really enjoyed the movie and would have paid to see it in the theater.

I liked the knives-for-feet of Gazelle. I enjoyed the twist on swordplay without the swords. Samuel L. Jackson was a great villain. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I enjoyed that women were more than just eye candy in this movie, though that final scene felt unnecessary.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is Hot Tub Time Machine without John Cusack and with Adam Scott. There were some funny parts but it was a mediocre sequel to a mediocre movie. At least most of the original cast was back, though I can’t say that made it a better movie.

The movie reminded me of Idiocracy because of the kind-of stupid future world we’re transported to in the film. I enjoyed Gillian Jacobs and wish Chevy Chase would have had more than a brief cameo. All-in all, it was a throw-away sequel.

Run All Night

Run All Night was Lian Neeson running around all night shooting people. It wasn’t a Taken movie because he had a son to defend this time rather than trying to rescue his daughter.

It was a mindless action movie and I enjoyed it for what it was. I’m not sure if I’d pay for it in the theater. It was good. I enjoyed the performances but it’s also a story that’s been done over and over. Old friends, one doing well, one poorly. Family gets in the way and people die by the truckload.

The studio must have high hopes for this movie because not only were our bags searched, we were metal detected. This was the only movie of the bunch where this happened. 

When I go to movies, I enjoy the escape. I want to sit in a dark room, eat salty and sweet snacks and go to another place. 

I love going to the movies and I hate how expensive it has gotten. So even though the movies I’ve seen aren’t ones I would have paid for, I’ve really enjoyed going to the theatre so often. 

So here’s to more screenings and seeing movies in the theatre. 

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