Sunday, January 16, 2011


As my English father would put it, I am out of sorts. I AM OUT OF SORTS.

I saw 68 movies in theaters in 2010 and the movie year is over! Over! It was fun! And what doubled the fun was writing posts about what I saw, reading reviews on other blogs, and receiving comments from a number of faithful bloggers. As I move into my third year of blogging at Little Worlds, I want to celebrate all the great writing and stimulating discussion out there that makes each film year so exciting. We have the new year of movies ahead of us, but I'm still feeling out of sorts.

I have seen every movie worth seeing at the multi-plex, and some of them I've seen multiple times. Steadily since January 2010, I have gone to the movies at least once a week, usually on Friday night, and some weeks I went two or three times. One week it was five times. Now there’s nothing to see!

I’ve seen all that’s new and noteworthy except for Blue Valentine. Living on Cape Cod is a limitation. But most likely I’ll get to see it since Ryan Gosling will be an Oscar nominee for Best Actor, so it’ll play at the Nickelodeon, which I call the Old Moldy, or at the Cape Cinema, which has soiled doilies on the uncomfortable chairs (not seats) and the retirees that frequent the place in great numbers don’t know how to put their cell phones on vibrate. I will see it eventually, but under barbaric conditions. For now, I have to wait.

We are now in the January doldrums and you know you’re desperate when you are torn between seeing Tron: Legacy a third time or Season of the Witch with Nicolas Cage. From what I’ve heard of the latter, I was glad I chose the former, which at least has Quorra (Olivia Wilde). I never considered seeing Little Fockers or Gulliver’s Travels. I have some self-respect.

Yes, I am out of sorts and suffering from the post-partum blues. I’ve reviewed most of the movies I saw in 2010; I wrote a post on the best in Art Direction of 2010; I compiled a post that includes an image from each movie I saw; I finished a report on “My Year at the Movies,” including nominees and winners in major categories, that has been part of an annual real-mail exchange with Jason of the Cooler for the past 14 years, and I’m feeling totally out of sorts.

I’ve watched my Inception DVD five times. I watched my How to Train Your Dragon DVD twice in row, starting it again as soon as the credits had rolled, and I spent some time watching some of my favorites from the past couple of years: Inglourious Basterds and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. But I’m still out of sorts.

I’m taking my daughter to see Tangled tomorrow. I wasn’t much interested when it came out, but I've heard it's enjoyable. And I’m totally out of sorts and desperate, so I’ll see it and like it, and then maybe I’ll come home and watch Ben-Hur or something.

Don’t get me wrong. I read books. I write fiction. I’m a teacher, and that keeps me busy. I’m directing my Drama Club in Around the World in 80 Days, and that's turning into an epic undertaking. But the year’s movie-going routine has come to an abrupt halt. We have to get through pre-awards-shows-January when the Oscar contenders hang around till February, and the new movies are risky propositions.

God, I wish it were May so I could see Malick’s The Tree of Life. If it opens exclusively, I’m going to fucking blow a couple of hundred to go New York City to see it because the blogosphere will be buzzing with posts before it comes to the Cape. And, as I say to my students as a euphemism for the f-bomb, I don’t care a fruitcake what it’s about, dinosaurs, whatever, I’m going to feast my eyes on it, and if Malick bumps the movie to a later release date, you will hear my cry of agony no matter where you live.

I’ll be out of sorts until March. March seems promising in a pulp fiction sort of way: Battle: Los Angeles, Sucker Punch, and Red Riding Hood. I’m there for aliens, Los Angeles, Amanda Seyfried, gratuitous slow-motion, and Emily Browning. Apropos of the discussion at Dennis Cozzalio's Movie Tree House, there will be times when 2011 seems like a bad movie year, but well-crafted movies will shine through the tawdry clouds of mediocrity, offering dazzlingly memorable moments. No matter. I must go.

Once the weekly routine gets going again, I’ll feel better. Yes, I know I should dip into my huge DVD library. Watch an old classic from the 30s. Or Netflix one of those films everybody raves about that you’re embarrassed to admit you’ve never seen. But I do that! I do that throughout the year when I’m in the thick of weekly new releases and writing about what I see.

Going to the movies is a passion. I really love to go to the movies. I need that fix. I need to sit in one of the back rows, a modest quantity of Junior Mints or chocolate in my pocket. The lights go down. I suffer through the previews. Ah, I love how the cinema darkens fully during the last preview. The movie starts. I exhale deeply. I am hooked into a drug. I always set myself the task of remembering the film’s opening image. The first image reveals itself. I am gone.


FilmDr said...

I agree with you about Tree of Life and the March releases. I checked out the movie schedule and wondered if there is anything of interest before March. We seem due for a dry spell of cinematic dreariness.

Wenderina said...

How refreshing to find someone who actually enjoys the movie-going experience. All I ever hear from people is what a hassle it is, how expensive it is, and how they needn't bother since the DVD follows 6 minutes later. Hang in there.

Hokahey said...

Thanks for commiserating, FilmDr. It is quite a dry spell. Often February sees the reals of schlocky shockers and low-budget sci-fi, movies that can't compete later in the year. Maybe something will intrigue.

Wenderina - Thanks. In my opinion, a DVD just doesn't cut it, and I don't care how big someone's widescreen TV is. As for the expense, I tell my students how much I love movie gift cards, and I usually get quite a few as gifts. I got three this Christmas, and last year my Drama Club gave me $140 worth of gift cards after our performances were over. It pays to have appreciative students.

Sam Juliano said...

Yes, Hokahey I do know that feeling well, and am suffering similar pangs at the present time. Living within a stone's throw of New York, however, I have the Boardway and off-Broadway plays to fill in the early-year void and the Film Forum will be conducting a 24 odd 'Fritz Lang in Hollywood' Festival starting in late January, and running for two weeks. The value of seeing a classic movie in the theatre will again tempt me to see every film here, but I will need some luck and favorable conditions. I applaud you for your work with teh drama club and your gleeful anticipation of Malick's TREE OF LIFE. If you head down here give me a hollar!

Anyway, here's to a great 2011, and keep the torch burning my friend!

Hokahey said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Sam. Enjoy the Fritz Lang festival! Enjoy the year ahead!

Jason Bellamy said...

What a wonderful way to sum up the drug-like effect of moviegoing. I went into the office for most of the day and came home to my bluray of How To Train Your Dragon. it was awesome. I love going to the movies too... It's an escape and a drug and a routine that is a gateway (drug) to other routines, like lunches out and quiet scribbling, and real writing, and of course reading. But for now I won't force it. I'll revisit movies on DVD. I look forward to spring though. Love this post!

Hokahey said...

Thanks, Jason. I love that concept of a "gateway drug" to other things: writing, reading, whatever. For me, going to a new movie usually leaves me energized and full of thoughts to write down and perhaps research topics to pursue. Indeed, How to Train Your Dragon is definitely a visual treat to carry one through the doldrums.