Tue, June 29, 2004
Hey, surprise! I liked this movie. It may have its flaws, but it manages to be fun even while being incredibly depressing (both in a life/death way and a "please save us from these evil zealots" way), so that's something. If I could change one thing, I'd put Moore in front of the camera at the very start (á la Woody Allen in What's Up, Tiger Lily?) saying what he said on The Daily Show: "This film is not fair. I'm partisan; I'm biased; I have an opinion. But here are the facts I've gathered, I present them to you. I hope it gives you something to think about." I think it'd really undermine some of his most ignorant critics and it wouldn't take anything away from the film. His skill with editing (the backbone of any good documentary) is in top form, and his ability to encounter and illuminate the common man is the best it's been since Roger and Me. One of my favorite interviews from Roger and Me (I think it may have run over the credits) was someone standing in front of a store and saying, "It's open on Monday. And Tuesday. And Wednesday and Thursday and Friday. [long pause] It's closed on Saturday and Sunday." There's an interview in Fahrenheit 9/11 in which an Oregon State Policeman is discussing how cutbacks to law enforcement budgets have affected his office. "There's nobody on Monday. There's nobody on Tuesday. There's nobody on Wednesday." It was great. (And, egad! Hundreds of miles of Oregon coastline – America's precious, vulnerable border – are left guarded by one patrolman. Part time.)
Anyway, I think it's an amazing film. I wasn't surprised by a lot of the information presented – nor did I expect to be – but I think it's important to get a glimpse of some of the stories we don't hear about, even if we watch The Daily Show as avidly as I. I think anyone who isn't a rabid, mindless, dittohead Republican should see it; I think they'll enjoy it and get something out of it. (And I don't mean to imply that Republicanism or conservatism necessarily equate "mindless" in a stupid sense. I just mean the unquestioning partisan kind. Believe me, the left has them, too.) In fact, even the dittoheads should go. I just doubt they'd be able to hear much over the petulant self-important scoffing.
Proof that it made a difference, even among the semi-retarded: walking ahead of us out of the theatre, a girl said to her friend: "I wish we could vote tomorrow."
Andy and I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 on Monday night, because it was sold out all over town when we tried to see it on Sunday afternoon/evening. (Damn hippy-leftie Angelenos!) I guess it's a good thing that so many people want to see it. Tonight's screening was packed as well, and this is the part where I'm a frickin' genius. (Not about the movie tickets; Andy generously retrieved those over his lunch break.) No, when we arrived, at about twelve minutes to showtime, the refreshment line was enormous. We found our seats (reserved; thanks ArcLight!), and then I volunteered to grab refreshments while visiting the restroom. On the way by, I noticed that the lines had grown even longer than before. First, I visited the secret second floor restroom (behind the cafe), so I was all alone and no waiting for the sink. Then, I ducked down the back stairs to the main lobby and took a look at the downstairs concession stand. (Fahrenheit 9/11 was upstairs and it was probably the only packed movie on a Monday night.) Sure enough, there were four people down there. Two pairs of two; each in front of a separate register. I was "next" no matter which way I went! I thought I was going to have to sweet talk the guy manning the velvet ropes at the top of the stairs, since my ticket said theatre 10 and I wanted to go downstairs. I figured he'd understand if I explained my brilliant time-saving idea. Those morons on the second floor weren't even going to get to see the movie if they weren't careful! ArcLight won't seat you more than five minutes after showtime! It was already within a minute or two of 7:45! But here's where even more genius comes in. I managed to time it so that I approached Velvet Rope Guy just as another patron with an untorn ticket stepped up to him. That way, I just quickly flashed my stub, he assumed I was going to a downstairs movie, and I got in line at the concession stand.
Both pairs seemed equally close to concluding their transactions, so I picked an adorable couple in their mid-to-late fifties who were joking with each other and being cute, because I liked them more. As they wrapped up, flirting and being playful all the while, I really wanted to tell them that they reminded me of Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad from Cosby, being in their golden years but still being cute and affectionate. But I thought they might take offense because they were black and I couldn't think of a good white TV couple that were as cute. I didn't need to get into a "What, I remind you of Bill Cosby because I'm black and I have on a cable-knit sweater?!" conversation, so I just smiled as sweetly as I could and bought my Cokes. Genius! I almost wanted to skip past the mouth-breathers still standing in the second floor concession line as I walked back by. Of course, due to a near-fatal face plant on the escalator on the way up (right in front of three people), my pride was bruised enough that I just hustled by, Cokes in hand, hoping to make my point in a subtle way. What fun! After that, the movie could've just been 90 minutes of Julianne Moore and Michael Gross taking turns kicking Spielberg in the nuts and running a chainsaw over Jodie Foster's face, and I still would've liked it.
Also, waiting for Andy to validate his parking, I was thisclose to Kiele Sanchez, walking in the main entrance. I really wanted to stop her and say how much I adore her, she being the only reason I watched an entire season of Married to the Kellys (and me being the only American to do so). But, she was with some skinny punk – they always are – so the situation didn't really present itself.
Bonus: ArcLight is holding special 21+ screenings of Spider-Man 2 next month! I'll see it with my family this weekend, I'm sure, but for my repeat viewing, a guaranteed baby-free THX experience will be hard to beat!