Friday, June 10, 2011

In which Friday has herself a mini film festival

While I completed Carlyn's challenge I kept a little journal going, so I'm just going to transcribe that right here. I will say before I start that I really enjoyed completing this challenge and I'm curious to see what the next one will be! And here we go:

Carlyn challenged us all to spend 4 hours in public doing something we wouldn't usually do. I am spending my 4 hours seeing 2 movies back-to-back. I've never seen a movie by myself, so I'm excited to see how this goes. First movie: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold at 7 pm.

6:40 pm: I arrived and bought my ticket. Had a little conversation with the guy in the box office about the weather.

6:45 pm: I'm the only person in the theater, this is quite nice.

6:55 pm: A young couple just arrived, how I feel more aware that I'm here alone.

6:56 pm: an older couple is here now too. We're all sitting in different areas of the theater, giving each other a wide berth.

6:57 pm: I'm anticipating what it will be like when I buy my ticket for the second movie if the same guy is at the box office. I think I'll have to explain that I'm completing a challenge in order to not feel that he thinks I'm completely bizarre.

6:58 pm: Another woman arrived, but I think she works here. I'm still the only one here alone. Yep, she works here.

7:01 pm: Two guys just arrived. they're carrying a Scrabble box. That's odd. I wonder if it looks like I'm writing about everyone around me.

7:02 pm: The movie is late. :(

8:42 pm: I really liked the movie and I highly recommend it! (Author's Note: Apparently the rating isn't very high on imdb, but opinions and all that....) It was very informative and interesting to see just how deep advertising goes in our culture. Right now I'm sitting in a café drinking a hot chocolate as I can't buy tickets for the next movie (Everything Must Go) until 9.

8:45 pm: I was about to pull out a book to read (Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson), but, even though it's not explicitly against the rules, I feel like that would go against the point of the challenge. I'm also not going to contact anyone while I'm completing the challenge. I did go against this and tweet when I first got to the theater, but that was before I thought of the rule, so I just won't do it from here on out. If I get a text, I won't respond until I get out of the second movie unless it's really important/urgent. When I got to the café, I actually ran into a friend of a friend and we talked for a little bit, but he talked to me first, so it's okay! I explained to him what I was doing and he said he never sees movies alone either.

Thinking back over the movie, some things I'd like to share:

  • There were interviews with people from all different aspects of product placement sprinkled throughout the film which was very enjoyable (including Ralph Nader, J.J. Abrams, and Ben Silverman).
  • One person he interviewed talked about the commercialization of childhood and used the example of Harry Potter, saying something to the effect of, "Just picking up a stick to use as a wand is no longer enough, kids want the actual wand." Now, my friends and I, when we first became HP-obsessed in middle school, would find wand-like sticks, fashion them into "real" wands (I remember even stuffing a feather into the end of one to act as a phoenix feather), and they were the best things ever. This memory and the comparison with overly-commercialized childhood made me very affectionate towards my friends' and my younger selves and our ability to turn a stick taken from the ground into a magic wand.
8:54 pm: I just got my first text. Cannot respond, Christina, cannot respond.

Another benefit, but also potential drawback, of the movie: if I wasn't already distracted by ubiquitous advertising, I definitely am now. Upon stepping out of the theater and onto the sidewalk, the world seemed automatically brighter and more colorful due simply to the large amount of advertisements now int he target of my radar. I also feel that this is a benefit, however, because being more aware that one's being advertised to, does, I think, take some power away from that advertising. 

9:15 pm: Just got to the theater and bought my ticket for Everything Must Go. Another guy just bought a ticket too! Maybe I won't be the only solitary movie goer this time around. A different person sold me the ticket this time, by the way, so no need for explanation and no confused looks thrown my way.

9:20 pm: So far I'm enjoying this whole seeing-a-movie-by-yourself thing. Being alone really gives one time to think about the movie afterwards, cementing one's own opinion before talking with others.

Just got a seat in the theater. Other lone-watcher wasn't in the theater when I sat down and upon his return we discovered that I'd accidentally sat a few seats down from him. In a nearly completely empty theater (I hadn't seen his popcorn.) He more than awkwardly moved to a different row. Ouch. I understand, but still, ouch. 

9:25 pm: It's nice to get some time to just look around and observe the theater. There are some charming cracks on the ceiling where it meets the wall. A thermostat not-so-subtly peeks out from between those classic red movie theater curtains lining the walls.

9:29 pm: And the movie's about to start!

11:04 pm: And I'm done! Everything Must Go was pretty good, but I enjoyed The Greatest Movie Ever Sold more. EMG was in the category of "not much really happens" movies. TGMES, a documentary, actually had more of a plot. Now, I usually like "nothing happens" movies, but I wasn't feeling this one as much. I really liked TGMES though, and would like to see it again. I saw these movies at the local theater just a few doors down from my apartment. It's the type of theater that leaves out small movie posters for people to take, so I ended up with some nice posters for my friends and myself! All in all, a good experience and I'll definitely be seeing more movies on my own.


  1. Ooo, movie posters for your friends?

  2. I know because I work at a movie theatre, it's different to just pop into a movie by yourself (well, if you're already there), but I did watch Thor by myself. I called Beth and asked if she'd be interested and offered to pay half her ticket (because mine is free, of course). But she looked up the trailer and wasn't interested in spending $5 on it (don't blame her). But I reeeaally wanted to see it. I knew I'd probably miss a family dinner, but somehow sitting in a theatre eating popcorn and simply enjoying this movie seemed like so much fun. And it was! Only I got home and missed Tikka Masala, and I was dead depressed about that (I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next morning!).

    For someone who is interested in designing ads for movies, I agree that that power advertisers have is scary and I want to be aware of the advertising around me in order to lessen that power.

  3. Yes, posters for friends! I know how interested you are in Everything Must Go afterall...