In 2010 I saw 100 different movies in 100 different theaters. Here are the details.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Strategy, Part 2

It's all about being flexible. On a weeknight, when I would typically only see a single film (if that), my selection is driven almost entirely by convenience. But on the weekend, I can be adventurous. Below I detail the evolution of my movie plans for this past Saturday.

Plan A
The Arena Theater in Point Arena (up near Mendocino) was participating in the German Gems film festival. I love hearing German, and so was quite excited to see some new German films, even if I had to travel over three hours to do it. I had planned to get up early, drive all the way to Point Arena, see two movies back-to-back, then speed back to the Rio Theater in Monte Rio for an evening showing of Dear John. The biggest variable was going to be me actually getting out of bed in time. But, having accomplished that great feat, I was suddenly gripped by the fear that the movie might sell out. I began to poke around online, and found that tickets were no longer being sold (an indication that only a few remained, reserved for walk-ins). It was too early to reach anyone by phone to confirm, and the theater does look very small, so I decided it was too risky to drive all the way up there only to discover the movies were sold out.

Plan B
Fixated on driving north, I began looking in the Santa Rosa area. I cooked up a plan to visit three theaters, seeing Brooklyn's Finest, Tooth Fairy, and The Ghost Writer. To make the schedule work, though, I would have to leave immediately. I was dragging my feet a bit. Yes, I had been prepared to leave for Point Arena anyway, but once that long journey was off the table, I became less inclined to travel far at all. As I deliberated, the deadline for leaving passed.

Plan C
See nothing. I could just spend the day getting caught up on reviews. Ah, the freedom! It's so much work having fun seeing movies. How nice and refreshing to just sit in front of a computer all day.

Plan D
But as long as I'm not seeing anything that counts, I might as well mosey down to the Grand Lake for the 1:30 showing of An Education. It would be a freebie. I wouldn't even need to review it; I could take some nice daytime pictures, and I'd see the movie in time for the Oscars. Yes, this was a definite plan.

Plan E
But if I'm going to see An Education, it should count toward my goal, since there are several other theaters still playing it. So, rather than walk down the hill to the Grand Lake, I decided to drive to Marin. I would begin by seeing The Ghost Writer and Tooth Fairy, both in San Rafael, and finish up with An Education, down in Sausalito. I made myself a sack lunch, and, after another delay, finally headed out the door, about four hours after my original departure time.

Plan F
Once on the freeway, though, I saw cars backed up at the maze. I started taking the surface streets to get through Emeryville, but by the time I made it back to I-80, I was doubting if I would make my showing of The Ghost Writer. Now comes the critical decision. I recalled that The Ghost Writer had a showing every ten seconds, but couldn't remember the other showings of Tooth Fairy, and had no access to this information while on the road. So, assuming that The Ghost Writer would be forgiving, I headed to Tooth Fairy first, trying to catch what I assumed would be an earlier showing.

Plan G
Alas, I was too late. And it would be hours before the next showing. So, on the spot, I decided to see Dear John, walking in having missed a few minutes. After Dear John, I made it to the next showing of The Ghost Writer, but it got out too late for me to see An Education in Sausalito, so I just headed home. I still could have attended a 10:00 showing of An Education at the Grand Lake, but instead I packed it in. Whew.

My days aren't always that epic, but certainly on Saturdays I tend to toss around a lot of different possibilities before finally deciding on a plan. Once I mix in both driving conditions and new locations, it becomes more difficult to predict travel time between showings.

Ironically, the movie from Plan A that was my lowest priority (Dear John) is the one that I not only ended up actually seeing, but really enjoying.


  1. I know; even just thinking about it is tiring.

  2. It's so much work having fun seeing movies

    I wondered if you were going to stop enjoying the experience because it felt like to much work.