Friday, January 21, 2011

Herr Wozzeck Muses: On Double Features

Hey, I've got nothing else to talk about, so why not, right?

There's something very... interesting about double features, I think. They're a good way to catch up with the movie scene when I get back from breaks--provided I can actually catch any mid-break, which tends to happen very rarely. Also, it helps in various other ways, as it gives me fodder for linking movies that I couldn't link otherwise.

But... there's an interesting sort of dilemma that pops up. Well... dilemmas, really. There is a lot more work to double features than you'd think, trust me.

As you know, double features tend to cost a little more than reviewing one movie, so then there's the question of: how do I get around that? Well, for the last double feature, I actually spent a free movie pass coupon for True Grit (because I could) and saw Green Hornet in a matinee show (which is still kind of expensive) and in 2D (which is nice, because they actually had showings in 2D of a 3D movie for the first time since I saw How to Train Your Dragon.) Usually, I don't get this kind of luxury, but it's still very refreshing to be able to have both things at once. But normally, I don't do double features because of financial woes.

And then there's a second problem with double-features: timing. Which one do I watch first? How long is each movie? And how much time should I allot between each movie? This question plays into things a lot more than you would think they do, actually; again, in my last double feature, I kind of gaffed with that: I put the two movies far too close together. As a result, my Green Hornet review currently stands as the fastest-written review in the history of HWR. Most other times, I got to take a little bit of time with my reviews, but I have to be careful to keep them apart long enough to write a review when doing a double feature.

And then, there's the problem of how do I order movies. This one is, fortunately, made a little easier by critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes. Yes, I check that site all the time, but mostly as a matter of course: even if it gets a bad tomatometer I'll still see a movie, because hey, I might actually like it. I only use it to tweak my expectations for a movie. But it helps for double features so I can get a sense of which movie to watch first; if I catch a bad/decent movie first, I can always wash it down with a good movie later. Sometimes, it works a little better than I anticipate (such as when I double featured The Book of Eli and Daybreakers). Fortunately, I've had yet to find a double feature ordering where I wash a good movie down with a bad one, so I think I'm doing something right by that. Of course, when trying to schedule stuff it can be a bit of a pain, but truthfully, it's not that big a deal.

And lastly, there's the thematic connection. Sometimes, I try to find some link between the movies I'm double featuring. Sometimes, that link is a little less obvious than it should be (like when I double-featured Precious and New Moon way back when on the notion that they were both about women who were suffering-- even if Bella Swan is an unlikeably pretentious bitch who needlessly amplifies said suffering), but other times, it's pretty obvious. And sometimes, as like what happened last time, I had to make a link up on the spot. That's happened too, but not as often as I would have hoped.

Overall, there's a lot more work that can be put into a double feature that I'm not mentioning here. But I can tell you that I don't do them often because it requires quite a bit of planning to do so. And given that I don't always have time to organize this kind of thing, usually I end up having to go with single features.

Will I try to do more double features in the near future? Sure, why not? Can I? That will greatly depend on a lot of things, I think.

This is Herr Wozzeck Muses. I'll see you guys next time.

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