Random Factoid #371

3 08 2010

What’s better than seeing a movie in the theater?  Easy.  Seeing two movies in one day at the theater!  The art of the double feature is one that I have acquired over the past two years (although I haven’t been polishing it at all this summer).

And to clarify, I am not talking about the art known as theater-hopping or movie-hopping, which is a form of cheating and stealing.  Not to be a prude, but I respect the people who make movies enough not to cheat them out of much deserved profits (providing that the movie doesn’t stink.)

So here’s what I’ve learned from my double features and how to plan the perfect one.

  1. The movies have to be pretty close in quality.  If one movie is really good, the other has to be great as well.  And if one movie is bad … you need to see a good movie.  If they aren’t pretty evenly matched, the day gets pretty lopsided, and you leave with a bitter taste in your mouth from it all.
  2. Plan for the first movie you see to be worse than the second.  You want to end the day on a high note.
  3. Pick genres that mix.  Action and comedy go well together; drama and comedy sometimes don’t.  Think of how you will feel after each movie you want to see and what would be appropriate to follow it up with.

Way back in Random Factoid #25, I talked about my first double feature:

The first time I ever saw two movies in the same day at a theater was July 18, 2008.  Recognize that date?  It’s the day cinema was changed forever with the release of “The Dark Knight.”  Was that one of the two movies that I saw?  Of course not.  I saw “Wanted,” which was pretty tight, and “Hancock,” which was good at first but then became just plain dumb.

So here are my other double features, in chronological order, and how I either did or didn’t apply my own rules.

  • November 26, 2008: “Four Christmases” followed by “Changeling.”  I really wanted to see both of these, and it’s a really strange combo.  Yet it worked because the much heavier “Changeling” came last.  I wouldn’t have wanted to see anything afterwards had I seen it first.
  • April 17, 2009: “I Love You, Man” and “State of Play.”  I loved the first movie, man.  Not quite as big on the second one.  Kind of the same as “Changeling,” I probably wouldn’t have been excited to see something else after “State of Play” because it wasn’t that good.  A movie like “I Love You, Man” makes me want to see another movie.
  • July 21, 2009: “Cheri” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”  I saw one movie in the morning and the other at night, so not your traditional double feature.  But it was a pretty dismal one because “Cheri” was a snoozefest, and I was seeing “Harry Potter” for the third time that week, which I found out was just too much.
  • November 14, 2009: “The Men Who Stare at Goats” and “I Am Love.”  Honestly, neither movie was good, so no lessons to be learned here.  “I Am Love” was a film festival event, and I had no idea what to expect.
  • November 21, 2009: “Couples Retreat” and “2012.”  Comedy followed by action is pretty solid.  “2012” is so long that you leave wanting to go home and take a nap, not wanting to see another movie.  So it really couldn’t have worked the other way around.
  • December 18, 2009: “Avatar” and “Up in the Air.”  A true exception.  Seeing two Best Picture nominees, and deserving ones at that, for the first time in one day is incredible.  Having my eyes treated by “Avatar” in the morning and then my brain treated by “Up in the Air” at night was absolutely perfect.
  • December 27, 2009: “Up in the Air” and “Sherlock Holmes.”  The downward slide made this double feature one to forget.  I should have known that you can’t top “Up in the Air.”
  • February 26, 2010: “Shutter Island” and “Crazy Heart.”  Both were very, very good, although in very different ways.  “Shutter Island” is such a crazy adventure that it definitely makes you want to see something else, whereas “Crazy Heart” leaves you with a more mellow content.

(P.S. – This is my “list post” for Anomalous Material‘s 31DBBB, as it can be conveniently abbreviated.)


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6 responses

3 08 2010
Simon/Ripley

I forgot about that…damn.

I’ve never seen a double-feature, usually I can only afford one movie a week. I miss the days of drive-ins.

3 08 2010
Marshall

1. You ought to check out my summer movie survival guide.
2. I’ve always wanted to go to a drive-in but there’s not one within reasonable distance of Houston. Which is such a pity.

3 08 2010
Castor

Never have been a big fan of doubleheaders. I like to go home with my mind still in the movie I just watched and it’s definitely not something that can be easily done when you watch two movies in a row.

4 08 2010
castalavista

There’s a great cinema in Edinburgh called the Cameo that does a double feature every Sunday. Usually they try and do one film that is potentially coming to the end of its run at the cinema and one that is in some way related to it – for example earlier in the year they had Me and Orson Welles followed by Citizen Kane. Easily the best one I’ve been to was their “alternative Christmas” double header a week before the day – Gremlins followed by Die Hard. Perfect!

4 08 2010
Marshall

That is SO classy. I’d kill for that last pairing you mentioned. I’d love to see some sort of directorial-themed thing stateside; here’s my suggestion for the first one: David Fincher-themed for the release of “The Social Network.” But the problem is none of his movies are anything like that movie at all.

8 08 2010
Red

I love going to movies back-to-back, but I haven’t done it in a while. Usually the first one is to just fill the void of time before the second one begins.

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