Boo! Scary!

AEJ and I had a most excellent weekend, yes we did.

It started on Friday night, as most weekends do. Our first thought was to see the new Batman movie with Newman, but by the time we checked into tickets, all of the reasonably-timed showings were sold out.

That’s how movies are in Manhattan. There are, like, two theaters that are really nice — three, really, but one of them, Kips Bay, is inconvenient to get to from my place — and the showings at those theaters sell out many, many hours before the showing. It was probably 4pm when I checked showtimes, and everything was sold out until the 10:15 show by that time — and there were shows at least every hour.

Not only do people get their movie tickets ridiculously early, but people arrive at the theater so early that is always shocks visitors to the city. Friends will come from out of town, and they’ll ask me, “Why are we leaving for the movie already? You live two blocks away, and the movie doesn’t start for 50 minutes.” “Because we need good seats.” Attending a movie is a little metaphor of sorts for life in Manhattan in general. See, maybe it’s that my little drive to succeed in general has simply overflowed into my theater attending habits, but I’m not alone, because everybody in the city has to have a good seat. It’s as if your seat is a status symbol. Maybe it’s because most people here don’t have a car, and if you do have a car, it’s generally a wreck, because it’s going to get banged up if you park it on the street anyway. If you can’t flaunt your success with a car, you’d better have the best damned seat in that theater, even if it means getting to the theater an hour before your movie starts.

But I digress.

So, no “Batman Begins.” Instead, AEJ and I got dinner at one of our favorite local places, a Mexican place called Gabriella’s. After dinner, we stopped by Tower to rent a movie. We almost rented “Ray,” but then AEJ pointed out that it might be “inspirational,” causing me to gag at the possibility, and I quickly reshelved that title. Instead we chose “The Grudge,” a horror movie by a Japanese director, which is a remake of a movie originally in Japanese by the same director. (Yes, he remade his own movie using the same Japanese crew, shooting it in Japan again, but this time in English, and with a few American actors.) This movie was scary. It takes a lot to scare me in a movie, but when it happens, it pleases me greatly. When will filmmakers realize that CGI effects and loads of gore are potentially fun, but not “scary?” Anyway, I thoroughly recommend the movie. It starred Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so I was skeptical, but she was quite good. (It actually starred Sarah Michelle Geller — not the Buffy character. Just thought I should clarify.) The next time you want to see a horror movie that’s legitimately scary, rent “The Grudge.” (For extra fun, wait until your girlfriend comes to bed, and then tell her that you think you heard scurrying up in the attic, and maybe she should check it out.)

On Saturday, AEJ and I took the train up to John Corigliano’s country house. We had an absolutely perfect time up there with John and Mark. We chatted, enjoyed good food and wine, and relaxed in the country. The next morning, after coffee and grilled corn muffins, we headed to a fairly new museum called Dia:Beacon, which is a converted 240,000 square foot factory that now houses massive installation art. (Check out their site.) AEJ and I have wanted to go since it opened about two years ago, and it was a completely spontaneous thing on Sunday. My favorite piece was this huge, incredibly creepy metal spider by Louise Bourgeois. Check it out. (You can’t really get an idea of how huge it is in the photo.) My other favorite was by Michael Heizer, who had a piece consisting of enormous holes in the cement floor. Again, it was the massive scope of seeing it in person that made such dramatic impact. The photo in that link doesn’t approach it.

After the museum, John and Mark drove AEJ and I to the train station and we headed back to the city (and to reality). Just a wonderful, sort of perfect weekend filled with a good movie, good food, good art, and friends.


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