Monday, January 23, 2017

The weirdest sellout

One film I will not be seeing before I close my rankings is The Edge of Seventeen, though it's through no fault of my own. (Well, maybe just a small amount.)

I tried to see it on Saturday at 2:45, 16 days after it first hit theaters in Australia, and the damn thing was sold out.

I guess I should be encouraged at this unambiguous evidence of people still going to the movies, but instead it just left me annoyed.

I had it all worked out perfectly. My sister-in-law had taken both my kids for most of the day, a rare treat that allowed an even rarer daytime movie screening. I got to the Sun Theatre in Yarraville with enough time before my show to have a coffee at the cafe next door -- kind of a little tradition I have when I go to the movies at this theater.

I'll never know exactly when they sold the last ticket to The Edge of Seventeen, but that coffee likely cost me the screening.

What 16-day-old movies ever sell out their 2:45 p.m. Saturday screening? Even the latest Star Wars movie never likely does that, if only because it's also playing at 2:15 and 3:35 at the same theater.

Again, the sign of health for the film industry is little consolation. Some consolation was that I chose instead to see A United Kingdom, a film I was not prioritizing before the closure of my list because it doesn't open in the U.S. until February, and like it or not, I'm still mentally comparing and contrasting my year-end list with those of American critics. That was a good decision, as what could have been a standard socially progressive, awards-bait period piece ended up being really good, and will place highly on my list.

But I did want The Edge of Seventeen to be there too. It's made the top ten list of a couple critics I really respect.

Then again, I kind of like my top ten as it is now. So close to my deadline, I kind of want to fill out the rest of my viewings with the mediocre, just to play out the string. If Edge had edged something out of that top ten, it might have felt problematic to me.

In answer to your unspoken question, it was pretty much my only opportunity to see the movie before Tuesday night, without inconveniencing the people in my life. You see, Seventeen is no longer playing past 6:35 at night in any theaters, and that's right in the middle of when my children are eating dinner. If I could get to a 9 o'clock screening, I'd go, but there aren't any anymore. Yet another sign of how unusual it was that it sold out -- they have already begun scaling back the screening times in response to a perceived diminishment of interest. (Although I suppose this might have been viewed as a movie aimed at young people, meaning the 9 o'clock show wouldn't do any business, and was never scheduled in the first place.)

So my last trip to the cinema before my deadline at 12:19 a.m. Wednesday morning (5:19 a.m. Tuesday in the U.S., when the Oscar nominations are announced) will be Lion, which I'll see tonight. Another awards contender I'll be glad to get under my belt, but likely not possessing the same chance of standing out that Seventeen possessed.

Well, regrets at this time of year are many. I suppose I should be glad to have fewer of them this year than most years, having already seen all of the "Big Three" (which would be La La Land, Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea).

I guess I'll just have to see Seventeen sometime later in '17.

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