Saturday, December 30, 2006

Spending Time With Hollywood

I love movies, but I am extremely lazy about seeing them in the theatre. In fact, I am also extremely lazy about renting movies. I focus so much of my entertainment time on live theatre, live music and the few television shows I never miss, that movies end up drawing the short straw. So generally, I don't see a movie until it comes on cable. And I'm fine with that.

However, in the last week, I have seen not one, but two new films... in the theatre, no less. That never happens.

Last Sunday afternoon I went to see The Pursuit of Happyness. It was good, although not nearly as good as I thought it would be. The fact that I actually paid theatre prices to see this film is significant because throughout the years I have been very resistant to Will Smith. I think that's mostly because he started as a rap star, and I hate rap. Also, he tends to make mainstream, big budget action movies that don't interest me in the least. But I have to admit, he is a very charming movie star. And while not a great actor, he doesn't humiliate himself, either. I think the best part of The Pursuit of Happyness, though, is that it was filmed here in San Francisco. They actually shot one scene a couple of blocks from my apartment, and it was fun to see my little running route on the big screen. I will say, however, that I take umbrage with the fact that the little kid in the movie is sad in the scene they shot on my street. I think only scenes of joy should be filmed in my neighborhood.

Then last night, Jenny, Fabulous Patti and I saw Dreamgirls. I seriously cannot tell you the last time I was in a movie theatre on a Friday night. I actually ran into someone I know, and he told me I couldn't tell anyone he was there. I guess Dreamgirls isn't a manly enough film for him. Anyway, I was excited to see Dreamgirls because I remember when the musical came out 25 years ago, and I always wanted to see it but never did. Much like The Pursuit of Happyness, Dreamgirls is good but not outstanding. Although much of the singing is pretty fantastic. And it will probably win or at least be nominated for a bunch of Academy Awards because it's that kind of movie. My curiosity about the Supremes has been piqued, however. I always knew there was acrimony in that group, but after seeing this fictional story based on them... now I really want to know what went on there.

The timing was a little perfect for me to see Dreamgirls because on Thursday night I had rehearsal with the fake band, and it did not exactly go as planned. I ended up having a lengthy.. discussion, let's say... with the other members over some song choices. For crying out loud, we're a fake band doing this just for fun. It's not like we have to make "hard choices" because we're we're trying to make it big.

In the end, I got them (well, most of them) to listen to me and even agree with my point of view. And one of the guys told me he admires how I stood up for myself. The fake band really is a good time, but it's certainly not worth the headache of fighting over stuff. I blame all my friends and family members who are musicians for not warning me what a pain in the ass being in a band, even a fake one, can be.

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