Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Vacation tease

Away I went on vacation this past weekend, and didn't see the following movies:

1) Away We Go. My mom was the one who actually suggested seeing a movie on Saturday afternoon, and I quickly agreed. She was also interested in the movie I nominated, Sam Mendes' Away We Go. And we had a good five hours before I needed to leave for my dinner plans. However, her boyfriend, a noted outdoorsman, pointed out that the sun was coming out for the first time in weeks, and we should do something outside instead. We ended up walking around Walden Pond -- you know, the place where Henry David Thoreau went and thought deep thoughts. Her boyfriend was "right" in many senses -- doing an outside activity is probably both more social and more memorable for most people. Why, then, did he proceed to try to get me to use that same time to watch Kingdom of Heaven on his iphone? Because a) he's an eccentric old goof, and b) he looooooves his iphone, and demonstrating just how handy it can be. I don't know what would have happened if I'd said "Yes, indeed, let's do that -- let's sit here for 2 hours and 24 minutes squinting at this epic movie on the small screen of your cellular phone." Half of me wishes I'd attempted that particular social experiment.

2) Is Anybody There? The wedding I attended on Friday afternoon broke up earlier than I was expecting, and it was too early to begin the drive across New Hampshire to Portland, where I would be spending that night with my dad and his wife. (I'm sure they would have loved it if I'd arrived early, but what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them, I figured.) On my drive up through New Hampshire on Route 16 the previous night, I'd spotted the Michael Caine movie Is Anybody There? at a one-screen theater somewhere south of North Conway -- though I couldn't remember exactly where. (And I still can't determine that, as a brief internet search came up empty). I love these old single-screen theaters to death, so I made a note of the times on the marquee as I was passing -- just in case. I made a pretty good push for the 5 o'clock show, but when it was about 4:50 and I determined I was not within two or three miles, it was time to give up the quest.

3) Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian/My Sister's Keeper. There was a theater in quaint little downtown North Conway itself, but I passed through about 15 minutes after the twin 4:30 start times of these two movies.

4) The Proposal/Year One/Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen/The Taking of Pelham 123. When I realized I would not make Is Anybody There? on time, I knew I had a fallback option for a late-afternoon movie. It wouldn't be nearly as romantic as the single-screen theater, but it would be something -- the six-screen theater at the Mountain Valley Mall, also in North Conway. In fact, I didn't even know what movies were playing, but I figured there'd be a better-than-average chance of one I hadn't seen starting at 5:15 or 5:20. Nope. All six movies started between 4:10 and 4:40, meaning the lobby was deserted when I got there -- a bad sign to be sure. Even Up and The Hangover, which I refused to see a second time just to fulfill my desire for a vacation movie, wouldn't have been possible contenders for me.

Oh well.

The thing that makes vacation movies so great, in addition to the cineaste's thrill of seeing movies in unfamiliar theaters, is that they are also so unlikely to be possible. If you have only a four-day trip back east, for example, you don't expect that you'll have the time to waste on something so frivolous -- family and friends should come first and foremost.

What was brilliant about this past weekend was that I had a legitimate open window on Friday, as well as a chance to see something as part of my friend/family-visiting on Saturday. But neither worked out.

What a tease.

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