At the Movies

Alright. I concede failure on my first New Year’s resolution. It isn’t fair to keep making excuses for why I didn’t blog on a particular day and claim that I’m still sticking to my resolution. That’s just not how it works. All I can say is that there are only so many hours in the day and I have to perform triage when I run out of time. Blogging ties for last with sleep. I’m so busy that I’m throwing away money on fast food and other garbage, because I don’t have time to properly go grocery shopping. I’ve been averaging two Big Macs a day this entire week.

Unfortunately, time is running out for me, yet again, so I’ll keep this post brief.

The movie reviewer thing is really taking up a lot of my time. Recently, I went to Sony studios to screen Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I have a couple of points to share here. The first is that I’m no stranger to relationship politics affecting my reviews, but I never enjoy it. My first restaurant review, ever, was edited so aggressively that the opinion it espoused was the near antithesis of how I felt about the food. I wrote that the soup was bland and pedestrian. My editor changed it to read that I thought the soup was “warm and hearty and satisfied my desire for something delicious.” Or something like that. It was ricockulous! Thereafter, I would describe all soup at every restaurant I reviewed for that rag as “warm and hearty” just to spite them. My review of Paul Blart had echoes of that restaurant review except that I got to do my own editing. I don’t want to say much more, because the Internet has ways of alerting influential people about negative PR. You can read my Paul Blart: Mall Cop review at Buzzine.

The second point is that PR reps don’t generally give good directions to newcomers. Sony studios is apparently spread over several blocks and simply stating “screening held at Jimmy Stewart Theater” just isn’t enough. I ended up in one parking garage only to be told that I had to get back in my car and drive to another one roughly half a mile away.

Lastly, the parking and security at Sony studios is probably the most hostile to visitors of the three major studios I’ve visited. Not only does security take your license and scan it on some machine, but they also inspect your vehicle before you leave, just in case you’ve kidnapped a producer or something. Visitor parking is also restricted to nosebleed levels in their parking garage. When I was at the Dreamworks studios in Glendale back in 2005, I took note that their visitor parking was conveniently located on the first floor, but it only allowed for something like 12 cars.

This past Tuesday I got to screen Inkheart at the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank. Their security was pleasant and standard fare, but a little lacking on the direction-giving. So much so, that I didn’t know where to park and got a little lost. I ended up walking around their back lot amidst fake buildings with painted-on windows. To be honest, it actually felt pretty cool – like being part of history or something greater than myself – and I wanted to take pictures, but who knew what eyes were on me and what security guards would tackle me as soon as my flash went off. In any event, I found the screening theater where the friendly security personal in business suits passed a metal detector over me and checked my messenger’s bag for weapons.

Inkheart is an excellent film and you can probably read my review on Buzzine by the time I finish this post. The movie opens this Friday.

On a side note, Leonard Maltin was at the Inkheart screening and he sat one row behind me right on the aisle. I experienced a fleeting urge to go up to him and shake his hand and introduce myself, but then I realized that I didn’t know anything about him. I tried to convince myself that I should talk to him simply because we’re in the same industry, but on the other hand, I don’t chat up other journos who sit near me just because we do the same job. In the end, it felt a little too much like I’d be talking to him simply because he’s on TV once in a while.

One thing that I learned about Leonard Maltin that night that pushes my ignorant estimation of him towards a good light is that he’s a “credit-watcher.” When the movie is over, he doesn’t get up and leave. He sits there and reads the credits, presumably interested in who did what beyond the acting. If I have the opportunity to meet him in the future, at least I’ll have an icebreaker for our introduction.