Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Year At The Movies: One Man's Filmgoing Odyssey, by Kevin Murphy

Rating: 3/5
372 pages
Publisher: It Books
Source: Library eBook

Description: Kevin Murphy, who played Tom Servo on Mystery Science Theater 3000, spent 2001 seeing a movie a day, in all types of different venues, circumstances, and countries.

Review: Despite what the rating might indicate, I did enjoy this book, for the most part. It just kind of left me wondering what the point of the experiment was.

While the author seems to have come out of it with a renewed love of movies, I'm not sure what he expected the reader to take away from relating his experiences, other than a few memorable anecdotes.

The main things I took away from his experiences were, 1)he seems to think everything that's wrong with the American film going experience is the fault of the rise of the multiplex, 2)he seems to have slightly deluded himself into believing that non-challenging fluff that caters to the masses is a recent invention of Hollywood, 3)either movie goers are more restless in his neck of the woods, or I've had amazingly good luck with audiences.

Maybe its because we're clearly from different generations, but I don't have the same hatred of multiplexes that he does, partly because I have no distinct memories of going to a single screen theater. I'm fairly certain I went to a few when I was a kid, but they didn't stick out as any different than multi-screen theaters. The author seems to find them more aesthetically pleasing, but once the lights go down, all movie theaters look the same, so its not really something that bothers me.

Lets be realistic, not all old movies are great, or even good, nor are all foreign movies. They just seem that way because we rarely have a chance to see the 1930's equivalent of today's crappy movies and no one bothers to import the crappy movies that foreign countries produce to the U.S.. (Unfortunately, the same doesn't apparently hold true for U.S. movies going overseas. Sorry about that.)

Where Kevin Murphy lives, audiences apparently get up and wander around in movie theaters with alarming frequency during screenings. While I've encountered my share of talkers, cellphone users, and one asshole with a laser pointer, I've never encountered what he's describing. In general, people seem to have no problem staying put for a few hours and, mostly, watching the screen once the movie starts in my area.

I don't regret reading it, but its pretty much the equivalent of watching a good summer film. It won't hurt your brain, but it won't really tell you anything new. You'll take away some memorable bits, but most of it will fade from recollection in a week or two.

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