Wednesday, December 14, 2016


seen @ City Cinemas 123, New York NY

It's the end of the year, and once again, the studios wait until now to trot out all their prestige pictures; the ones they hope will win Oscars. They only do it this way so the Academy voters are less likely to forget these films. As a movie-goer, though, I've never liked this practice. I remember one year, back when I worked video retail, in which I watched five or six movies in one week during the Christmas/New Year's period. I'd never do that now, outside of a film festival.

If I were a studio head with a prestige film I thought could go all the way, I'd release it in July or August - perhaps after a world premiere at Cannes. Depending on how much positive buzz it got, I'd keep it in theaters for as long as possible, slowly expanding the screen count based on demand. Midnight in Paris followed that pattern, and look what happened: it got nominated for Best Picture. Obviously, you couldn't do that with every award contender, but at least it would loosen the three-month logjam we get every fall.

As it is, I've made peace with the fact that I can't see everything. I'm (mostly) content to use January to catch up on the good stuff released in December. Whatever I miss, I miss. I refuse to drive myself crazy trying to watch all the new movies. I bring this up more as a reminder to myself than anything else. Every so often I feel tempted to rush right out and binge.

It's particularly enticing when I've got friends with which I can go to the movies. I didn't want to wait for Jackie to come to the Kew Gardens, so I schlepped into the city instead, opting to go to the City Cinemas on Third to take advantage of their nine dollar matinee. I could've waited another couple of weeks, but I just had to see that film now!

This was the first time I saw a movie with Lynn, without the rest of the movie club. The experience wasn't too different. Through the years, Vija's friends have become my friends so easily. I've never felt uncomfortable around them despite the age differences.

Jackie is, of course, the story of former first lady Jackie Kennedy post-JFK assassination. The director is a foreign guy named Pablo Larrain. He and screenwriter Noah Oppenheim take a non-linear approach. I thought it worked well. I had expected to be unable to follow along, but I did. The format feels like memory, as Jackie relives the day of November 23, 1963, and what came immediately after, for a visiting reporter.

I was sold on this movie the first time I saw Natalie Portman was playing Jackie. It has been a pleasure watching her grow up through the movies. She has become a superb actress, one who recently added writer and director to her resume as well. At this point I'd have to say Oscar number two for Best Actress is hers to lose.

Seeing Jackie with Lynn gave me the added advantage of having someone to talk to about the Kennedy assassination who was alive when it happened. In those pre-24-hour news channel days, everyone was glued to the TV to find out what was going on. Apparently, it wasn't immediately apparent JFK was dead at first. That information wasn't released until hours later. She remembered Walter Cronkite shedding a tear. 

Lynn liked the movie but was surprised Jackie was portrayed as being so alone, relatively speaking. Bobby Kennedy was there, obviously, but in the film there was no one from the Bouvier family depicted.

Afterwards, we had lunch at a fancy pizza restaurant around the corner from the theater. It was pretty cold out and I don't think either of us wanted to walk very far to eat. It was the kind of place where they serve you the pizza pie on a tray raised up off of the table. It was a nice day.


  1. I can only imagine how fabulous Natalie Portman is in the film. And to see it with someone who remembers the JFK assassination would be an interesting experience. It sounds like you chose the right person to watch this movie with.

    Also, I agree with you re: the Oscar contender logjam this time of year. It does get a bit ridiculous.

  2. Been a pet peeve of mine for years. Every once in awhile I just like to complain about it.


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