Saturday, June 25, 2011

1000 Movies....a Life at the Movies, so far

(*Read through to the bottom for the REEL RHINO STATS FROM 1000)

(**This will serve as the last post telling the tale of the night of 1000.  Beginning soon, I will resume my normal posting habits of news and reviews)

It started out like any other Saturday. Momma Rhino let Papa Rhino sleep in a little longer than he should. Of course she knew he was going to need his rest, for it was a big day. Life was good as that wake up was administered by Baby Rhino that jumped on daddy. I think I heard my 22 month old son chanting “movie day, movie day, movie day.” Although I may have been dreaming.

Yes folks, Saturday, June 18th, 2011 was in fact: “1000th movie” movie day. The Reel Rhino has travelled a long road and last Saturday was the payoff.

I wrote my love letter to AMC Theaters in a previous post, but again, what an amazing run I have had with AMC.

730 of 1000 movies, 73% of the films I have taken in, have been with AMC theaters. Wow.

Thanks again AMC!

I mean it…you guys rock.

Ponce is the GM at AMC Barrywoods here in Kansas City. He and his staff made 1000 a memorable night. (See also, my last post.) Heather is one of his many who have always welcomed me with open arms. I single her out because she was instrumental in setting up the big night. But she, Matt, Scott, Amanda, Kenny, Zach, and all my friends at AMC made it an unforgettable night. It would be a crime to omit my good friend Mark, one of the daytime associates and Robert, one of the front box office guys. Mark is always there with a kind word and Robert loves shaking his head in disbelief as I approach the box office yet again. And a quick word about some former AMC’ers…Vince, oh Vince! A former ticket taker who was always ready to recommend a movie that I might like. I had the good fortune to run into Vince recently and exchange e-mails. It’s chance encounters like that which make a day at the movies that much better. Cary and Megan…two former AMC’ers who always made the trip to the movies more fun for me. Danielle, you are in that crew of great formers as well, but since you made it out for the night, you get mentioned below. If I left anyone out, you know it was only because it’s the elephant who never forgets, not the rhino!

Finally, of the AMC folks I have mentioned, if I didn’t give a shout out to Bill K., former AMC Barrywoods GM and current Independence AMC GM, I would be remiss. Bill was a great GM for Barrywoods and he was a great friend to me as a lover of film. Bill gave me the back room tour of the projection rooms and when AMC Mainstreet opened in 2008, Bill was there to usher in a new era. Pun intended, as Bill was an usher/ticket-taker when it closed as The Empire Theater in 1985. Not to age Bill, but he has lived through a great period in AMC history.

Back to the big night…

Tracie (my wife) was also very excited for movie night. Yes, she was proud of her movie going husband, but she also was excited to finally get out and see a movie. You see, while I am out there battling the crowds and taking in cinema for the sake of you, my loyal readers, she is usually holding down the fort. I couldn’t possible of gotten here without her, so her being there for this flick, was a “gotta have.”

And she couldn’t have been more excited for the choice in movie….GREEN LANTERN. Well, maybe some other movie would have been more preferable for her, but for the sake of the big night, she sucked it up.

The evening started at Buffalo Wild Wings, and we dined like kings and queens. We had a great posse in the Ross and Kelly Capps and their kiddies; Dan, Carol, Bevin, Michael, and Jillian Schmer, The G Man and Allison, Tracie, and I.

Cows around the world rejoiced as we tore through wings as if Adam Richman himself was egging us on. We had to build up our strength, but we all knew that we would have the luxury of well buttered popcorn and Diet Coke to fuel us forward if the need arose.

At around 6:00pm, we made the move across Barry Road, travelling from the Northland’s Zona Rosa to hallowed ground: Kansas City’s AMC Barrywoods 24…AKA my stomping grounds for the last 11 years.

Little did I know that Tracie had made some special arrangements for our arrival at the theater.

What a great wife.

Everyone expected that we would be wheels down and running a little behind making the 6:20pm show, so my friends at AMC had some also tricks up their sleeve.

V.I.P. seating, ladies and gentlemen. What a group, these AMC folks! It was at this point, that The G Man and Allison had to take their leave of us. G Man, we hardly knew you (see also, Seinfeld).  It was also at this point, that were were joined by Danielle and "Danielle's Mom."  The more...the merrier!

So what about the movie itself?

GREEN LANTERN: 4 of 5 Horns
Let me start by saying, Green Lantern was a solid 3, but this night would have earned any film a 1 Horn bump. It really needed it, too, as this film was fairly critically raked over the coals. Let me say, this is an extremely watchable film. A fun movie to watch with popcorn firmly secured in the lap, as was my position throughout.

Green Lantern tells the story of Hal Jordan and his selection as the first human called into service in the intergalactic do-good syndicate of super heroes, the Green Lantern Corps. Hal meets his predecessor when the ring calls him into service. He has no idea what is going on, and given the lack of popular success for this tent-pole summer release, Jordan wasn’t alone as most of the Ryan Reynolds fans were probably in the dark as well.

Don’t get me wrong. This film is wholly successful in conveying the back story to this lesser known DC title. But my question is why? Why did we need this origin story? I think that Green Lantern would have been a far more successful film if we had skipped right past the origin into a full fledge adventure with these characters.

That said, I think the story of the Lantern Corps is competently covered but at the expense of long periods of exposition, which would have been much better substituted with battles or grand adventure.

The absolute shining star in this film is Peter Sarsgaard. His role as Hector Hammond is brilliant and if you think you will pass on this film, I promise you, Sarsgaard alone is worth the trip to the theater.

Mark Strong, aka the poor man’s Andy Garcia, is quickly becoming the rich man’s Mark Strong. Strong is literally everywhere these days, and his turn is Sinestro is quite watchable, with his main purpose of setting up the sequel successfully accomplished.

A laughable appearance by Tim Robbins is a role that would have been much better filled by a lesser actor. Robbins is quite laugh as the elder Hammond and he is absolutely outshined in the worst possible way when he shares the screen with Sarsgaard.

There were some concerns about Blake Lively as well. She had a great role in the drugged out ex-girlfriend in last year’s Ben Affleck caper flick The Town. She is wholly passable as the love interest and really doesn’t shine, but as a pretty face, she plays the role with ease.

So the final word is see this movie, but don’t expect too much and your experience should be both enjoyable and enlightening given the strong role that is Hector Hammond.

Oh yeah, my hetero-man-crush Ryan Reynolds is great as always. He is so affable that I think it is impossible to not enjoy his time on screen. Yes, hard core GL fans wanted Nathan Fillion…sorry gang, we can’t have Mal Reynolds play all of our heroes. Catch the animated features just released, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, to hear how Fillion would have fared in this role.

Final World: It was a great night and I would have watched anything. Green Lantern fit the bill, as the real stars of the night were my wife, friends, and AMC family that made the day so memorable. It’s been a great run and I’ve loved every minute of it. I can’t wait to get into my next 1000…

Thanks Gang!

Until next time, take care….

Reel Rhino

Movie Count: 1000
Total Minutes in the Theater: 111,371
Which Equals: 77 days, 8 hours
Average Length of Each Movie: 111 minutes

Total Dollars in Tickets: $6.618.75
Average Ticket Price: $6.62 per ticket
Most movies in one year: 2008, 166 movies

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