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The Reeler Blog

NYM's Operating Instructions for Moviegoing

I only get into full-on preview-review mode in the fall; I can't bear to do it more than once annually, and in any event, most publications' summer movie previews aren't half as lamentably (if amusingly) hyperbolic as their autumn counterparts. Furthermore, this year's NY Times summer preview possesses mind-blowing scope that puts its competitors to shame. Everyone else merely fakes the funk in comparison.

Which brings me to New York Magazine, which this week devotes its periodic Everything Guide to the general act of NYC moviegoing. Forgive the links -- the concept works best in print, but even then, "works" is a bit of a stretch. After all, how did an idea with such admirable potential become a college newspaper exercise depicting arguably the most universal cultural experience known to New Yorkers? To wit:

CATEGORY: Candy-covered chocolate
TASTING NOTES: Tasters called Hershey’s Kissables “bitter and powdery,” but rhapsodized over M&M’s “perfect crunch.”
WINNER: Plain M&M’s
AVAILABLE AT: Everywhere (A Guide to Cinema Candy)

Q: Can I text-message if the movie gets dull?
A: Can you shine a flashlight into the eyes of people behind you? No. Just because something doesn’t make noise doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly, annoyingly distracting. If you have urgent business to conduct, walk outside. (Our Guide to Movie Etiquette)

There are two sites for online buying: Fandango, the relative upstart (founded in 2000), and MovieTickets (which is actually where you buy from when you go through the Moviefone site). Both let you buy tickets as much as 45 days in advance, a clear advantage for opening-weekend fanatics. ... There are drawbacks, of course. First is the $1 to $1.50 “service charge,” which may be climbing since both sites say they are considering a sliding scale that would charge higher fees on opening weekends. (Tickets, Trailers and the Real Start Time)

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End -- Two fashionable reasons to fly the Jolly Roger: 1. Johnny Depp is the only white guy who can pull off dreds. 2. Keith Richards may not need a costume to play Jack Sparrow’s pirate father. (Summer Movies You Can't Miss)

This is sophistication? A woefully underdone guide to New York's best outdoor screening series (see The Reeler's '06 rundown if you really want "everything") and the umpteenth middlebrow exhortation of the Eagle Theater? Granted, the capsule reviews of NYC's indie houses are a good thing, and there's something eminently likable about a tip sheet for hosting movie night at your house. But you can't help but sense a lost opportunity for a fresher, more expansive film culture survey for people who already go to multiplexes, buy tickets online and get their must-sees from other publications. Whatever -- I'm getting to my summer festival guide, anyway. Maybe I dodged a bullet.

Posted at May 8, 2007 10:16 AM

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