Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Night at the Museum: Best Product Placement Ever?

Rating: 3.5 Gilberts Law Outlines out of 5

I wasn't going to see this movie. Until about a month ago, I hadn't seen the first one either. And then, a series of event unfolded that made it abundantly clear that I should at least see this movie at a matinee ($4 makes even possibly sucky movies worth seeing on the big screen).

First, I ended up in D.C. the weekend that this premiered at the Air and Space museum. I was enjoying margaritas and fajitas at the time of the premiere, but I was around. Second, I saw this Shack Talk episode:

If you haven't seen any of these, well, I am sorry you live such a humorless life. Thirdmost, they have been playing Night At the Museum Numero Uno on FX day in and day out.

And finally, I discovered I can go to the movies for $4 on Sunday morning!!!

So this past Sunday I hunkered down in my seat with my Sour Patch Watermelon gummies and a Coke Zero to watch what may have been the best advertising aimed at children ever. Not only does this movie take place at the Natural History Museum this time, it moves to DC where the Mall and most of the 19 museums of the Smithsonian make an appearance. (Sidenote-there is a scene outside the White House…)

This is a movie that I expect most people will enjoy, but most will enjoy more if they have seen the first. It picks up a few years after the last one ended with Larry (Ben Stiller) owning his own emerging invention empire that he hawks through infomercials (RIP Billy Mays) with help from George Foreman. He still visits the museum he used to protect every night, but those visits are becoming less frequent and interrupted by his crackberry. He shows up one night to find the displays being boxed up to be replaced with interactive holograms, Will.i.am on CNN style. As per plan, monkey business ensues and the tablet that makes them alive at night travels with them to DC to be stored in the National Archives in the maze under the Smithsonian. Hank Azaria, playing Kahmunrah, Ahkmenrah's older and far eviler brother, is claiming the tablet in order to open his gate to the underworld and take over the world. The NYC crew, while holding them back, gets Larry on the horn and he heads down to help. As can be assumed, chaos ensues and Larry teams up with Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams), DC museum displays, including a trio of cupids played by the Jo Bros and the rest of the NYC team, and as is the result of most movies, there is a very happy ending that makes you say awwwwwww.

I see this movie spurring a rush by the museums of America cashing in on the movies theme. I have seen it already seen it at the Smithsonian itself; there is some sort of map to find Night at the Museum spots. I do see them needing to employ extra security, though, to prevent people from trying to climb on the displays and access the basement levels.

We can only assume that this movie will become a series. But that is OK with me. I enjoy ensemble casts in movies, especially by ensembles that work together on project after project made up by talented individuals that only get better when grouped. They tend to make the best films with no focus on just one character's evolving plot, but how these characters interplay with each other. Further, this may have been a kid's movie, but in the grand tradition of goods kid's movies, there is plenty of adult humor laced in.

In the end, if you were to ask me if you should see this move I would answer, "It depends." If you have seen the first one and are not planning on spending more than $7 for a ticket, I'd say sure. Otherwise, wait until FX starts playing it on loop before the third one comes out.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday is my Fun Day

I have recently discovered my newest recession obsession, AMC theatres. Apparently if you show up for a movie starting before noon on the weekend, it's only $4. This means that if I sneak in the candy or soda, or both, I can still get a full movie experience (soda, popcorn, candy, and movie) for less than the price of a regular ticket!

You may be saying to yourself, who in their right mind goes to the movies before noon when they could be sleeping?! Well, when I have gone, there have been a number of people. I, too, expected the theatre to be empty and not to have to worry about turning off my cell phone or live twittering my thoughts about this particular feature. [Which is wrong, don't do this, ever ;-)] Surprisingly, there are quite a few people that go to these movies, and not only who you might expect (me, I expect creepers and/or old people); there are families and teenage posses as well as the requisite creepers and old people.

Even if an odd hour for movies, I find this works into my summer schedule quite well. I can spend my Sunday morning drinking my weekly Starbucks (Tall Drip, cold soy) and reading the paper (i.e., coupons/crossword puzzle), which I can feel good about because I purchase it with my (RED) Starbucks card (I'm a giver), then walk right into the theatre and get the seat of my choice, and still make it to the library on time to work the afternoon shift in the Computer Lab until I go for a run on my way home.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Run, run, run, as fast as you can...

I have recently begun running.  Why, you may ask?  Not to train for a race, no, its because I want all the crap that comes with it!
Running should not be such a foreign concept to me.  My sister ran a marathon for goodness sakes.  I've tried beginning to run before, hell I played soccer for many, many years.  But even during my soccer playing glory years, I refused to run outside of practice (which may have been more out of the fact I was utterly exhausted in HS).  This is the longest I've stuck with it at all outside of practice for organized sports.
But what, you may ask, is different about this time?
#1, It's summer, I can run during the day and get a tan while burning a few calories.  If I am going to exercise, I might as well multi-task.
#2 There is so much cool running paraphinelia out there!  I have that iPod nike thing, but still need to attach it to my shoe (must go to mall while in LA).  There are clothes with media pockets and cord control features.  And the gadgets, oh, the gadgetry available...
I do have one gripe...how do I stay motivated while running?  I mean, the only part I enjoy is at the end where I sprint the last bit, while the rest of my running trods along at a slow jog that I can walk faster than.  I love the feeling of running fast.  Sadly, I cannot do the entire run at this speed if I do not want my heart to explode or the constant ability to bark like a seal.  So a majority of my run is monotonous, boring, and feels like it will never end.  Maybe I need a new outfit?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Watching TV vs. Watching the Internets

As a law student, I am in class/library/buying red bull/unconscious when most of the rest of the country's population recreations. So it being summer, my time is slightly more my own (just slightly) and I plan on using some of it to catch up on things I missed during the last 9 months, namely, sleep and TV watching.
Reading the entertainment blogs, it has stricken me that I missed a whole hell of a lot of TV this year. My plan was to fix this by watching it all on the internet when I was working in the lab (perk of the job, I know, such difficult work!). My plan has been foiled. For some reason, the networks have decided that they need only post the last 2 or 3 episodes that aired. So basically I can watch the season finale and the one before it...which is great, but I missed the first 20-22 episodes of the season.
I understand that this is a response to ad revenues and guild issues, etc., but in your negotiations, shouldn't the lawyers understand that law students can't really watch these shows when they air and further, the entire season might be put on hold until after finals/bar/papers. We are a very small segment of the viewership, but ironically, we are one of the most important viewing segments. Our potential income and penchant for conspicuous consumption puts us in a very desirable category to reach. And by losing our future viewership, because I will not be watching after I have missed an entire season, you are losing ad revenue and ratings.
I am not, however, over pirating these shows. I would rather not, as it is illegal, and it hurts not only you, but me.
I therefore have a proposal that will benefit us all:
Create a web database accessible only to law students, like Westlaw or LEXIS. Handout passwords at orientation. Pepper us with emails advertising everything. Include ads for expensive cars and top shelf liquor, like the ad time that used to get sold to air during West Wing. Include overdramatic law school movies and every Law and Order/CSI known to man.
Want to test a pilot that you think may be too high brow for the general viewing public, throw it up, if we like it, then it will probably fail!
Just remember, when we graduate we can work for you, with you, or against you...and no matter what, we are watching you, just maybe not how you want us too.