Film Culture

Swanberg Fantastic Fest

In 2009, I got a day job at a credit union because the credit card companies started rejected the cinquain poems I wrote them as payment for some reason. The site was in its salad days, but for all the keeping my head down I did from 9-5 (right next to Brian Salisbury, it should be noted), I’ll never forget what happened when a colleague found out late in the year that I wrote about movies. “I cannot wait for Tooth Fairy. The one with The Rock. I just love him!” she said, acting every bit as excited as if I were The Rock and had just agreed to sign her wrist so she could get it tattooed over. It wasn’t a long conversation, and my gut reaction made me feel like a snobbish prick. I couldn’t reciprocate the feeling even as I struggled to appreciate it, but her pure joy was a nice reminder that there are all kinds of movie fans out there and that movies have always belonged to them. In differing ways, neither Andrew O’Hehir at Salon or Devin Faraci at Bad Ass Digest seem to recognize that.

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According to an article in the LA Times from January 2011 movie ticket prices reached an all time high. Here in New York, the average ticket price is $11 with higher prices for movies in 3D or IMAX. This is a reality that’s constantly on our minds, but it was brought even more into focus by a simple, 8-word question delivered on the official Criterion Collection Twitter Feed: Have you ever walked out of a movie? It got us thinking, in a time when a movie ticket is no small expense what would it take to get you out of your seat and out of the theater? Is boredom enough? Do you have a sliding scale of one to ten, one being slight ennui and ten being excruciating mind numbing boredom? Can a movie be too terrifyingly bad or just plain terrifying? Will terrible dialogue send you running for the exits? And who among you not only leave but demand a refund? Have you gotten a refund simply because you hated a movie? Have you been videotaped railing against the movie you left? We want to know what would make you walk out of a movie. Do you have stories to share about that movie you wanted to see and just couldn’t sit through? What movie made you decide your time was worth more than toughing it out?

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as LearningSpnshinIndy and GreedoSh0t1st in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the two ponder whether Netflix is dramatically changing their own movie-watching habits, whether it’s something to fight against, and whether doing your laundry during a documentary is something that should be punishable by death. Unsurprisingly, they learn way more about themselves than they ever wanted to know, and an intervention follows. Is it okay to pause a movie and come back to it later? Are our attention spans really waning? Or is this a new test for a movie’s quality?

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