This was a thrilling year for movies in general, and I had a bunch of great movie-going moments in it, so this year's list of movie-going highlights was tougher than usual. This is the first one which doesn't include new movies which, I suppose, reflects my greater interest in the old stuff.
I recognize that I'm fortunate to live somewhere where free and cheap screenings are plentiful, and I urge you to take advantage of similar events in your neck of the woods if you have them. Maybe you'd wanna hold one of your own. Even with 35mm film being replaced by digital film and with more people choosing to watch movies on smaller and smaller screens, there's still nothing like seeing a movie with other people. That's one thing that the digital revolution won't change, and here are five examples of that.
5. Meeting my fellow film bloggers at the Loews Jersey City. Prior to this past spring, I had yet to meet any other film bloggers, whether from the LAMB or CMBA or unaffiliated, and I was reaching a point where it was starting to bother me a little, because I did feel like I was making some good friends. So getting to hang out with Aurora, Will and Joe at the Loews Jersey City to see a Ray Harryhausen twin bill meant a lot. I almost missed them: when I entered the lobby, I kept tweeting Aurora, trying to find her, and even though I had told her what I'd be wearing, we still couldn't find each other at first, even though we were both in the lobby tweeting back and forth!
4. Miracle on 34th Street at Herald Square. The unusually comfortable November weather contributed greatly to what was a rare outdoor movie in the fall, and what better place to show this great holiday movie than directly in front of Macy's itself, something that would not have been possible five years ago? Having sofas and recliner seats and rocking chairs mixed in with the chairs at Herald Square Plaza was a lovely touch; it made the place look like a living room. And it was great to see TCM host Robert Osbourne in the flesh for the first time. With TCM's 20th anniversary coming up next year, I anticipate more events like this around the country.
3. The Rifftrax presentation of Night of the Living Dead. Funnier than I thought it would be, this live event, presented by the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and simulcast in theaters nationwide, served as a great prelude to Halloween and proved that even good movies can be mocked as well as bad ones.
2. Dracula with Philip Glass at Prospect Park. I've always admired the music of Philip Glass, especially when used in films, so to see the man himself perform his Dracula score with his orchestra at Prospect Park was a singular pleasure indeed. Seeing Dracula on the big screen was also a first, and I've said it so many times before, but it remains true: it really was like seeing it for the first time. I noticed things I either never noticed before or simply took for granted, and with the added benefit of a hauntingly beautiful score (to a film in desperate need of one), well, it doesn't get much better than that.
1. The Tingler at the Film Forum. It wasn't exactly true to William Castle's "Percepto" gag, but in the end, it didn't matter because the experience as a whole was definitely true to his spirit. Maybe it was expecting too much of the Forum to wire their seats with joy buzzers just for this movie, anyway, but the silly stuff that did happen, both planned and unplanned, would've passed muster with the maestro himself, I think. It certainly made for a fun afternoon out.
I'd love to hear about similar moments you might've had this year, if you got 'em. Happy holidays!
2012 top five
2011 top five