Friday, March 29, 2013

Mudville at the Movies: There Is No Joy at the Cineplex

Mud season
Here in New England, spring is also mud season.  The snow melts slowly and messily, revealing all the winter’s sad and flattened trash.  Branches are still bare, bulbs are just gathering their courage, and the air turns cold with the flick of a cloud across the sun.  

For movie fans, spring is not a time of growth or renewal.  It is not a season of optimism and anticipation.  Spring is Mudville without the joy. 

Spring and fall are when the distribution companies dump a lot of the films that weren’t suitable for the Christmas holidays, good enough to be Academy Awards contenders, or likely to sell much summertime popcorn.  With the exception of animated films for kids, which always do very well, spring is when the movie schedule looks like an old snow bank—ugly and grainy and rimed with dirt.  We look at what was released this week, check the reviews, shake our heads, and turn on the TV or pick up a book. 

snow bank
Some of these movies will make money.  We all know what P.T. Barnum said about underestimating the taste of the American public.  This weekend is no exception and I will be munching no popcorn tonight. Just look at the current dismal Cineplex selection with their Tomatometer scores.  In alphabetical order (and not counting The Croods):

Th. . . . th. . . th. . .that’s all, folks.  Well, not quite.  Some interesting movies were released and some were even reviewed well but you won’t find those at the Cineplex.  No, sir.  Although many of them have A-list stars, they got stuck in the dreaded swamp of Limited Distribution.  For better or worse, you will look in vain for:
Movie theater
Unless you live in New York City or Los Angeles, you will have to wait a week for most of these to show up.  And even then, unless you want to haul your butt to the cracked and broken seats of your nearest “art house” (assuming there is one), you will have to wait for these to appear on DVD or the TV.  

So the snowdrift melts slowly, the flowers push upwards, and we wait.  Good stuff is coming, we know that, but is anticipation enough for us movie fans?   

Commander Spock once said, “The wanting is often better than the having.  It is not logical, but it is often so.”  When it comes to the movies, I prefer the having.  Wanting doesn’t sell many tickets, or a whole lot of popcorn, either.

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