January is a notoriously terrible month for movies because the holiday rush is over, and because there has to be an island of misfit movies somewhere on the calendar. Even though there are a couple of decent-to-good films coming out this month, the dearth of interesting releases is a saddening one.
Unless you see it as an opportunity. The movie world is giving you a breather, a chance to step away from the box office for a while and whittle down your dependency on the butter product they’re putting on popcorn now.
What are you going to do with all that luxurious free time? Here are a few ideas.
Go To The Movies
This is a no-brainer even if it completely flies in the face of the introduction. Internal consistency be damned, you can still go to the theater to check out the movies you might have missed last month. Great movies like Black Swan, True Grit, Harry Potter 7, The Fighter and Megamind are still kicking it around in theaters next to not totally terrible movies like Due Date and Unstoppable. Even the most consistent fan can’t see everything, and the stuff that fell through the cracks won’t be around for much longer.
Until they hit the discount theater. Which, come to think of it, you should to (with a doctor’s note).
Tackle Your DVR
Since you just body checked your DVR because you take everything literally, take a second to breath and think about all the television shows and movies you’ve recorded but haven’t had time to enjoy. Think of Friday night as DVR night and skip the theater in order to figure out what the hell that wacky House guy thinks he’s doing.
Have Your Own Movie Marathon
This is perhaps the single greatest option on the whole list. Grab some friends and see whose eyeballs give out first. Program it yourself, or have everyone bring a DVD or two. Plus, always (and, seriously, always) have the Veto rule in effect: 1) everyone gets three vetoes to use wisely and 2) if 3 people veto a single movie, it gets turned off.
Read a Book
If this seems like a last ditch resort to tackle your box office boredom, consider this – many movies started out as books. It’s true. If you enjoyed Shutter Island, go grab the novel. Moneyball is coming out later in the year, and maybe you want to check out the book first.
Plus, you can also go read a biography on your favorite movie maker (I’m currently reading “Buzz,” a biography about Busby Berkeley by Jeff Spivak), or true stories about the industry like “Rebel Without a Camera” or the entire Ebert collection. (Note: comic books also count as books.)
Go See Someone Immortalized
This really only applies to our L.A. readers (sorry, Spokane), but this month sees Colin Firth get his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (next Thursday). You already missed Stan Lee, but he might be there making a cameo appearance anyway.
There are a surprising number of movie-related board games out there. Scene It? might be the most well known, but there’s also Hollywood Blockbuster and Real Schpeel – where you have to guess characters and movies based on iconic lines.
Play Bargain Bin Roulette
There are few things in this life more exhilarating than an old fashioned game of Bargain Bin Roulette. The goal? Find the best movie possible (however you and your friends would like to define that). The method? Scramble through the local bargain bin at a retail store. Set a price limit ($5 usually works) and see who brings home Black Knight and who brings home Milo and Otis 5. Watch them, judge, and give out prizes (like leftover copies of Black Knight).
Make Your List of Shame Shorter
If you’re serious about using the reprieve in theater trips to explore more movies, take a look at your list of shame and see what can be easily taken off. With Netflix, your local second run theater, and that quirky video store you keep open by yourself, you could knock off any number of Must See Movies that you haven’t Must Seen yet. The best part is that you might just find a new favorite film.
What do you do all month?