Friday, March 17, 2006

Game 6

Ouch. $9.75 for a movie? I so seldom pay full price that it's a surprise when I do - during the week, I tend to go to the Brattle, Coolidge, or HFA, or maybe a second-run place, saving first-run features for weekend matinees. This one was only playing a week at one theater, though, and I missed it over the weekend. So, ouch. The really annoying thing is I have two AMC passes that have to be used by Monday, but they're not good for "special engagments" (basically, a film's first ten days), so pay up.

I suppose some at AMC might consider that cosmic justice for my exploiting a glitch in the MovieWatcher system to get two passes instead of one, though.

Anyway, not a great movie. There were only about a dozen people there, and one guy just had to applaud at every mention of the Red Sox. Hey, I'm a fan too, and I've even advocated the audience singing along with "Sweet Caroline" (bum bum bum) during Fever Pitch, but you're being like that guy at the Brattle who doesn't just applaud names in the credits, but leans forward and fully extends his arms to make sure we all see him applauding. I bet when he goes to the ballpark, he repeatedly tries to start the wave when no-one else is interested.

Game 6

* * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 15 March 2006 at the AMC Boston Common #10 (First-run)

I must admire writer Don DeLillo's restraint. He wrote a movie that spends a great deal of time on both the Boston Red Sox and the New York theater, and never once mentions Henry Frazee. It's surprising, not just because he seems to buy into a whole lot of other pre-2004 rubbish about Red Sox fans, but because it would be a way to link the horrific event of the title to the theater-related events that actually comprise the bulk of the story.

Nicky Rogan (Michael Keaton) is many things: He's a playwright, a husband and father in denial over the collapse of his marriage, a former cabbie, and a Red Sox fan. His newest and most personal play is set to open despite obstacles like a star (Harris Yulin) whose memory is failing thanks to a brain parasite he picked up shooting a movie in Borneo. The movie covers the day leading up to opening night, as Nicky travels across town in a series of cabs, aiming to get a haircut before the show begins, but being sent in different directions by seeing his daughter Laurel (Ari Graynor) in the next taxi, a quick morning tryst with one of his play's backers (Bebe Neuwirth), meeting up with fellow dramatist Elliot Litvak (Griffin Dunne), an underground steam pipe rupturing and spewing forth a cloud of toxic asbestos, and trying to convince his father (Tom Aldrege) to either come to the play or blow it off and watch the game with him. Hovering over all of this is Steven Schwimmer (Robert Downey Jr.), the city's newest theater critic with a reputation for being almost as brutal (Litvak unconsciously recites a scathing review Schwimmer gave him) as he is paranoid and eccentric - he lives off the grid for fear of being attacked by the targets of his criticism, maintains the image of a Tibetan monk, and not only goes to the theater in disguise, but goes armed.

One of the chief mistakes I think DeLillo and director Michael Hoffman make is overselling the Red Sox's tortured history leading up to the night of October 25, 1986. Though I was only thirteen at the time and just really becoming a baseball fan, I don't remember the dread Rogan speaks of; that would come later, as a result of the improbable events of that awful tenth inning (in 1986, no-one had heard of the so-called curse of the bambino). But, to be fair, it was my first baseball heartbreak; Rogan has Pesky not making the relay and Bucky Dent in his consciousness. And let's not forget, I'm a New Englander, and thus a Red Sox fan by default; a New Yorker who followed the Red Sox before 2004 is probably, to a certain extent, drawn to the tragic narrative. Even if it's accurate, though, it's still some pretty heavy-handed foreshadowing to give Keaton lines about how he's certain things will go wrong in the game. We also don't know him well enough, in those early segments, to get how his bland pronouncements of impending doom reflect his character.

Read the rest at HBS.


Anonymous said...

Regarding your movie passes to AMC, it was my understanding that by state decree those issued in CA & MA have no expiration date. You may to check on this. I know all the AMC silver passes sold on ebay reference the fact
that for CA and MA no expiration exists.

Jason said...

I don't know if that's the case with the MovieWatcher Rewards things. Not a really big deal, as there doesn't seem to be a whole lot I want to see that's not covered by the "first ten day" rule anyway.

Anonymous said...

Experience at AMC movies in Tyson’s Corner VA area. The employee would not give my ticket back at the entrance and the said "I'm just messing with you man." He then high fived someone to celebrate is rudeness to me. Later he was standing on one leg like he was imitating the karate kid. Below is my response to AMC's reaction to my letting them know of this incident.
Thank you for getting back to me about this issue about the unprofessional employee. I write this with all due respect. Addressing an issue with a manager would have left me late for my movie. Also, you can easily lose business because people do not want to go through a direct confrontation when they're there at AMC to have a good time. Your AMC website gives the addressing issues at the theater as an option on the category box.
If I understand you correctly, an employee can insult me and if I don't address it “immediately,” as you put it, which is when I'm feeling insulted and angry about it and when I would miss part of my movie, then it's effectively my problem, rather than AMC staff. You may and staff at AMC feel that way, except the public does not feel that way. As true on web logs about companies, which effects profits of places like AMC. I trust that you’re stating board meeting policy that reflects on AMC, rather than you. However, an assurance that the respective AMC manager will be notified of this information would be much more acceptable to the public. When I see how you redirect me back to theater instead forwarding this information to appropriate person and reassuring me of doing this, I see why this problem took place. If someone has an issue they are to do more work about letting the conflict be know than following the directions about a problem at the theater comment box.
I've worked in quality control for companies and I know what works and what does not work. Also, sending a letter is no more valid than my e-mail. In fact there’s greater accountability with e-mails and e-mails are often considered higher in business standards than letters by mail. Naturally, it creates more work by filling out an envelope getting postage, etc for what was supposed to be a good experience.
I do believe that the better business way for AMC is to forward the information that I originally sent you to the respective manager, rather than create more work for me by suggesting that I contact the manager myself when I've already been insulted and followed the official AMC website directions for contacting about problems at the theater. Most customers just don't go back when they've been haggled by an employee. Simply, to reiterate, you could just forward the original information that was sent to you let the manager figure it out, and assure me that this had taken place.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.