Thursday, December 15, 2016

Comedies that get lost in the shuffle

Why now?

That's the question I usually ask about comedies that arrive right around Christmas, because for a person like me, that means almost zero chance of actually seeing them in the theater.

Why Him? is the latest example in that trend, but there are one or two every year. Another example, last year's Sisters, is a movie we are only just now watching. (I say "watching" because we started it last Saturday night, got too tired, and have yet to finish it.)

Christmas is the time of year to watch awards contenders and Star Wars movies, not dumb comedies.

But they keep releasing one or two per year in one of these comedy-unfavorable slots, I suppose because they think people need to laugh, even at Christmas.

And of course, not everyone is like me, devoting my available viewing hours to whatever the Golden Globes have already told me might get nominated for an Oscar. But dammit, I'm the only one that matters. Release Why Him? in April and I'll watch it on DVD in September. (Ah, so there's the rub, Vance -- you don't really care about whether you see it in the theater or not, you just want to see it in time to rank it with that year, and if it comes out in December you can't.)

So I thought I'd scan back through the last few years and see which other movies have come out in the Why Him? release window, and when or whether I've ended up seeing them.

Daddy's Home and Sisters
Watched: September 2, 2016 and current
Comment: Will get them both in within a year, assuming some progress on Sisters before we leave on our trip next week.

The Interview and Horrible Bosses 2
Watched: December 25, 2014 and June 11, 2016
Comment: Horrible Bosses 2 came out in November, but close enough. Took me 18 months. The Interview we watched immediately, but remember, it was available to watch at home because of the unusual circumstances of that movie's release. Plus there was kind of a patriotic duty to watch it, to thumb your nose at North Korea.

Um ... Anchorman 2 was released on November 24th?
Watched: December 23, 2013 in the theater
Comment: I guess this doesn't work for every year. But three in 2012 will more than make up for it ...

The Guilt Trip, This is 40, Parental Guidance
Watched: January 18, 2014; March 24, 2015; haven't seen it
Comment: Delays of a year to more than two years. And I was never going to see Parental Guidance anyway, probably.

The Sitter
Watched: December 31, 2011
Comment: Well, this one I ended up seeing because it was playing at the drive-in when my wife and I spent our New Year's Eve there, our one-year-old sleeping in the back seat.

That's probably enough.

I guess not as convincing of a trend as I thought ... a smattering of different movies with a smattering of results, and all but one watched eventually. Which is more a testament to the fact that I try to see most studio comedies of a sufficient level of quality, sooner or later.

One interesting exception to this rule, in a number of respects, is the Christmas comedy. The timing of the release of those movies is, of course, pretty much set in stone -- late November or early December at the latest. But also, I've been tending to see them in the theater, even if they're usually not that great. I was tasked with reviewing both last year's The Night Before and this year's Office Christmas Party, and I went to Bad Santa 2 last night -- not because I was particularly excited to see it, but because it was the only movie playing in the 9:30 time slot before Star Wars that I had even a modicum of interest in seeing. Because I was going anyway, I have now also reviewed that as well.

Fortunately, I don't think I'll view Why Him? as a gaping hole in my 2016 rankings when I publish them in about five weeks' time. I'll be much more concerned about whether I can get in Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea and Loving and La La Land and

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