Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday Triple Features

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies With Abe, Thursday Triple Features. Throughout college, I would often head to the movies for three films in a row on a Friday or Sunday, and I’m excited to recall some of my most memorable experiences. I don’t necessarily advocate that you try this at home, but I’ll explore that as well.

My first triple feature experience actually came during high school, in April of 2006, in suburban Massachusetts, where driving between theatres was required.

Movie #1: The Sentinel
Theatre: Regal Cinemas Bellingham 14
Time of Day (approximate): 10am
Runtime: 108 minutes

This film was primed to be a big hit thanks to its plotline and its stars. Michael Douglas was officially the star, but the focus was much more on Kiefer Sutherland and Eva Longoria, right at the height of popularity for both shows, coming off of the Emmy-winning fifth season of “24” and when “Desperate Housewives” was still hot. Clark Johnson, who directed the pilot of “The Shield,” was at the helm, yet this thriller was relatively forgettable, both in terms of audience reception and dollar earnings. Sometimes great TV doesn’t translate as well to the big screen.

Movie #2: Friends with Money
Theatre: Regal Cinemas Bellingham 14
Time of Day (approximate): 12pm
Runtime: 88 minutes

This independent film was one of my initial favorites of 2006, featuring a fun network of four female friends, played by Catherine Keener (in a standout role), Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand (who won an Independent Spirit Award), and Joan Cusack. The men were pretty good too, including Jason Isaacs, Greg Germann (currently appearing on “House of Lies”), and Simon McBurney in a magnificent role as McDormand’s allegedly gay husband romanced by Ty Burrell of “Modern Family.” This dramedy from Nicole Holofcener, who later did “Please Give,” was poignant and entertaining, and it’s a shame it wasn’t widely seen.

Movie #3: American Dreamz
Theatre: AMC Framingham 16
Time of Day (approximate): 6pm
Runtime: 107 min

A four-hour break and change of scenery permitted me the opportunity to eat some food before going into this bizarre, over-the-top, and heavy satirical parody of “American Idol” back before there were tons of reality shows about singing and being a star. Hugh Grant sent up Simon Cowell, while Mandy Moore played the ingénue and Dennis Quaid was the president trying to be hip by appearing on the show. The movie was amusing and had its moments, but overall felt somewhat disjointed.

The review: None of these films made much of a splash, and I have difficulty recalling much about any of them at this point save for Catherine Keener’s insistence that her emotionless husband Jason Isaacs should ask “Are you okay?” after hearing her yelp in pain even if it wouldn’t actually help.
The grades: C+, B+, B
A good lineup? There’s no reason to watch these movies together at all. It was simply a case of three movies I wanted to see all playing on the same day.

Coming next week: my first adventure in New York City!

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