I have just made my one and only New Year’s Resolution, and I intend to keep it.
I will never walk into another motion picture theater again.
If I am going to be insulted at this late stage of the game, it will be by some ravishingly beautiful and classically constructed redhead laughing in my face after I have invited her to have dinner, not by some slavering idiot writing ad copy for the movies.
I actually thought about going to a movie last weekend, so I picked up the entertainment section of my paper and read the ads, trying to decide which flick to see.
They were so sickeningly sweet, so syrupy saccharine, that they should carry warnings, like cigarettes. "This crap can be dangerous to your health!"
Here is what I read in one section of my paper, verbatim, no kidding, the blurbs for each movie listed word for word in italics, and the movie listed afterwards.
"Unlike any film you’ve seen before or will likely see again!" Paycheck.
"The Cinematic Epic of Our Time. The One by Which All Others Will be Judged. The One Film to End it All." The Lord of the Rings.
"The Best Movie of Its Kind Ever Made." Master and Commander.
"The Best Picture of the Year." The Company.
"The Best Movie of Them All!" 21 Grams.
"The Best Picture of the Year By Far." Mona Lisa Smile.
"The Best Picture of 2003" Mystic River.
"The Season’s Most Celebrated Film." Lost in Translation
"#1 Movie in America." Something’s Gotta Give.
"An Amazing Cinematic Wonder! A Phenomenal Achievement." The Last Samurai.
"The Most Breathtaking and Deeply Moving Film of the Year." Big Fish.
"The Greatest Story of Friendship Ever Told." Young Black Stallion.
"One of the Best Performances in the History of the Cinema." Monster.
"A Stunning Epic. The Year’s Most Rapturous Love Story." Cold Mountain.
"Astonishing! Superb! Powerful!" House of Sand and Fog.
"The Feel Good Film of the Year!" Honey.
Okay, I’ll stop already, but the list went on from there. When I finished reading, it was like someone had stopped hitting me over the head with a hammer.
Awash in adjectives, I was drowning in a sea of superlatives.
So I took off my coat and tie and shoes, turned the tea water back on, propped up the pillows, and flipped on the TV.
There were my old buddies, the Three Stooges.
I have a treasured photograph of them taken in my announcer’s booth at the track at Hazel Park in Detroit 50 years ago, with Curly hitting me with a right cross, Moe pounding me on the head with his cigar, and Larry pulling on my necktie. It’s hanging on the wall of my office, and friends and non-friends alike who see it say immediately, without prompting, "Oh, The Four Stooges."
I watched their movie, in black and white.
All I can tell you is that it was:
The Best Picture of the Year!
A Moving Experience!
A Masterpiece of the Cinematic Art.
An Experience You’ll Never Forget.
A Stunning Accomplishment.
A Television Epic.
A True Classic.
Two Thumbs Up.
And Happy New Year.