Friday, December 28, 2007

The Ten Movies I Saw This Year in a Theater

Main Screen at the Coolidge Corner Moviehouse

In trying to put together a list of favorite movies I had gone to see this year, I had a hard time coming up with a list of ten. This does not reflect a pickiness on my part, but rather the limits of my schedule now that I have a child. For the sake of this column, I'm not going to mention the countless movies I have watched sitting on the couch at home while my family slept. The title of this column is Matineer, as in one that valiantly goes to matinees, which implies something about the movies I should be discussing.

As it turns out, after a quick scan of a list of movies that came out in 2007, I seem to have seen exactly ten movies in a theater this year. Therefore, my year-end wrap-up list is entitled:

Movies I Saw This Year in a Theater (in no particular order)

1. Knocked Up

When my husband and I saw that this was coming out, we knew immediately it was a no-brainer date movie. Our darling daughter was a marvelous surprise, and changed our life around in ways that made our head spin. We bought life insurance! This movie made us laugh. A lot.

2. Juno

For the same reasons listed above, I had to see this one, as well. This time, I went along with my lovely and talented Offsprung colleague Diana Fisher. You'll see my review and her reaction shortly.

3. Enchanted

You already know my feelings about this movie. It marked the first time that my daughter and I cried together watching a "chick flick." I can't wait to show her Terms of Endearment.

4. Ratatouille

Another fantastic family date night. My husband is a chef, so this was an easy choice for our daughter's first movie in a theater. She was great, and in complete awe of the giant screen. We got her the little kids combo box and she looked so cute and sophisticated balancing it on her knees while sitting up really straight. The flipping seats were a little frightening, but otherwise things went well. Oh, and the movie was great. But you already know that.

5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

A movie night with my mom-friend, Nagmeh, who rarely lets herself leave the house. I lured her out with Harry Potter, which she loves. Her husband, Farsheed, reads the books to her at night as she falls asleep, or while she's nursing their second child. The man talks a macho game, but what a softy! It was a fun film, and she had a blast. We had the usual awkwardness of going out with a mom friend when you're not with the kids. It throws off the whole conversation rhythm. This will be discussed further in my piece about my date with Diana.

6. Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten

Another great date with the husband. We saw it at the Coolidge Corner Moviehouse, the greatest movie theater on the planet. My first job ever was selling tickets and popcorn at the Coolidge. I worked there for many years, so going back is like visiting a house that used to be my home. I am old now, and no one knows me there anymore. I have become a Yuppie That Doesn't Really Understand Film in a Deep Way to the young employees, and that's fine. The popcorn was great, as always. For my impressions of the film, see my previous review

7. Margot at the Wedding

A recent date with myself for the column. Prepare to hear more about the film, and the glories of going to the movies alone.

8. Evan Almighty

Ed Helms' sister is a mom-friend of mine, so I went with her and some others to see this. We cheered whenever he came on the screen. I can't really give an unbiased review, since Uncle Ed is in it, but I did think it was fairly enjoyable, and I'd show it to my daughter. Good, old-fashioned fun!

9. Mr. Bean's Holiday

As it turns out, I would have preferred to spend the 90 minutes having small shards of glass removed from my back with tweezers than watch this. My mother and her boyfriend forced my brother and I to attend a Jacques Tati film festival when we were children. They said it would be fun. They also said the hermit bars were just like cookies and the red zinger tea was just like juice. It's another episode in my bohemian childhood that is too painful to talk about. Let's just say that seeing this Mr. Bean movie almost sent me back into therapy. Still, it wasn't about me: this was about my daughter having a movie date with her best friend, L. She and L. sat next to each other, sharing popcorn. L's dad, Berwin and I book-ended them and exchanged aren't-they-ridiculously-cute looks over their heads. The girls made the 90 minutes bearable.

10. The Queen

Okay, I know, the Queen came out in 2006. But I don't think I got to see it until 2007, and it was my favorite moviegoing experience of the year. I saw it at the Coolidge, by myself. It was bliss. As the movie started, I realized that I had been dying for a movie to be made about this subject and hadn't even realized it. I have never forgotten the Queen making her little televised speech about Diana's death, and I remember being moved by her reserve and sense of duty. Helen Mirren captured what I had seen so well, and riffed on it so beautifully. It has to be on my 2007 list. Let's not be too linear about this.

There you have the ten (or nine) movies I saw in the theater this year. The best part of this new Matineer gig is that I now have a very good excuse to see movies in the theater on a regular basis. Here's hoping my 2008 list is one that's been narrowed down.

Happy New Year to All!

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