Monday, January 03, 2011

Hibernation Season Begins

Well, I didn't exactly leap into the new year with a burst of enthusiasm. I grumpily dragged myself out of bed after sleeping way too late, and I can't even blame my iPhone because I have an Android phone and I don't set an alarm, anyway (though I probably should while I'm in hibernation season or I might not ever get out of bed). On the up side, I won't burn out by trying to overachieve on all my new year's goals and resolutions.

I had a fun New Year's Eve at a party with my friends, which involved too much food (yum), a gingerbread TARDIS, some Doctor Who, lots of bubbles (the five-year-old and I were easily amused) and a lot of strange conversations. I may have to invent the Kiss Avoidinator for next year, though. I'm not sure what form it will take, sharp and pointy or more shield-like. And I got sworn at as a new officer in our club (we don't do a swearing-in ceremony. We do a swearing-at, using Monty Python quotes).

I got called by Nielsen for a movie survey last night, and although I usually hang up the moment I realize it's some kind of poll, survey or telemarketer, I did this one, and it was interesting. Plus, you never know if it will help get more good things made. I had to say whether I'd heard of various movies that were currently out or coming out soon, how I heard about them and how interested I was in seeing them. If it was commissioned by a particular studio, they did a good job of burying the questions they were most interested in among questions about other movies because I didn't spot a pattern. The further it went, the deeper they drilled, until they got to a pretty in-depth questionnaire about Gulliver's Travels, with a list of reasons for not seeing it, to which I had to answer whether or not it applied. Included on that list was "I don't like Jack Black." Note to studios: if you're even including that as an option, maybe you should reconsider putting him in so many movies. They did not include "bastardization of classic literature" on the list, though I suggested it as a write-in, which made the poll guy laugh. I also made him laugh when he was going through the list of movies and whether or not I planned to see them, and I blurted "Oh, dear God, no!!!" on one before he gave me the response options. I also got to respond to the genres of films I'm willing to see in theaters, and I gave a big yes vote to fantasy and science fiction, as well as comedy and romance. I warned the guy up front when he was asking if I worked for a movie studio that I had a business relationship with a studio and had a book under option, but he said it only counted if I was employed by a studio, so I figured I might as well give high marks to the categories my book might fall into.

The thing that was frustrating was that there was no chance other than the Gulliver's Travels question to explain why a movie didn't interest me. I answered "Definitely not" to most of the upcoming romantic comedy movies, and I'm afraid that might be taken to mean there's no interest in romantic comedies (though I did list romance and comedy as genres I liked). Really, it has more to do with the fact that the upcoming romantic comedies seem like middle-aged male fantasies and have zero appeal to me. They also expected me to say whether or not I was likely to see even movies I hadn't heard of, just based on the title and the cast. But I very seldom make a decision to see a movie purely on the cast. An actor I really like might get me to see a movie that otherwise would be so-so but can't get me to a movie I have zero interest in. For instance, I love watching Amy Adams in movies because I'm fascinated by the way she lets her emotions show on her face, but I have no desire to see The Fighter because I'm not interested in boxing movies or in "Boston tough guy" movies. On the other hand, I saw Leap Year largely because of her even though I knew it would be a pretty lame romantic comedy. Without her, I might not have seen it, but it at least fell into a category I like. I can't think of a single actor whose name would be enough to get me into a theater without knowing anything else about the movie. However, there are a few actors I generally avoid, unless there are a lot of other things working in a movie's favor (and, usually, I'm being dragged by friends).

I've been trying to mentally create my moviegoing decision matrix, but it's not clear-cut enough for any kind of flow chart. Mostly it's a gut thing, and a lot of it depends on what else is going on in my life at the time. HBO is another big factor, since I pay for it in my homeowners' association dues, so I may as well make use of it, and so a lot of movies fall into the "wait for HBO" category.

I'm starting to feel semi-conscious, so I'd better get to work while it lasts.

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