I’m a big movie fan. Love them. The problem is, all the good ones come out in the last six weeks or so of the year. While the other ten-and-a-half months of the year is an endless succession of mediocre also-rans, the holiday movie gauntlet is an orgy of the best and brightest and most delightful films one could hope for.
Some of them are so relentlessly hyped during the long fallow period between holiday seasons that my anticipation for the release of any given film is at a fever pitch by the time it actually opens.
Here’s the problem: Just as the holidays are ramping up and demands from family, friends and co-workers for socializing correspondingly increase, every movie worth seeing for the year is released. So, between social engagements and shopping, and tree decorating and more shopping, and, of course, work, I attempt to see as many of these highly anticipated movies as is humanly possible.
I get why movie marketers play this game. They want to be sure all the Oscar-worthy films are fresh in the minds of Academy voters at the point at which eligibility for a film’s consideration is cut off (end of the year). Still, it’s an exhausting confluence of events.
This year alone I’ve got everything from the new Hobbits movie to see to the film version of Les Miz, to “Rise of the Guardians”. Then there are the films based on books I’ve read and loved: “Anna Karenina”, “Life of Pi” and “Lincoln”, which is based on Doris Kearns-Goodwin’s amazing biography on the man.
I’m also a sucker for really great action films. I’d normally wait until they come out on HBO or Netflix, but when I’m in a movie-seeing frenzy I can’t stop myself and buy tickets to the theater. This year there’s the latest in the 007 franchise, “Skyfall”, which is a must-see; and then there’s “Red Dawn” and “Killing them Softly”, both of which don’t appear to be even remote Oscar contenders, but which star gorgeous actors, so what the heck.
And then there’s the Denzel Factor, which is similar to the Meryl Factor: if a movie features either actor, you have to stop everything and go see it. It’s just required – Meryl because she’s MERYL STREEP, and Denzel because, well, he’s DENZEL. And this Holiday Season the Denzel Factor is in play in the thriller “Flight”. The trailers are amazing – he flies a 777 (or something) upside down fercrissakes!
The truth is, I’m susceptible to trailers. This is where marketing folks really show their mettle. It never fails: No matter how bad the actors, how ridiculous the movie’s premise – a well-made trailer will always suck me in and convince me a movie is worth seeing. Luckily, over the years, I’ve learned that if the movie being previewed is released between January 1 and about November 15th, I should just wait to see it on TV or my iPad.