Monster, monster, MONSTER movies!

Monsters Inc is now out on Video and DVD, and I rented it over the weekend. It was the first time I’d seen the movie. I keep meaning to go check out the Pixar flicks whenever they come out in the theatres, but I keep having to see them on video.

Monsters Inc was, as I had hoped, up to the standards set by Toy Story and Toy Story 2. I’m to the point where I will only show an interest in a Disney movie as long as it has Pixar’s name on it. I’m a sucker for slapstick, and Monsters Inc delivers, but there was also an intelligence and an integrity behind the whole movie. The characters were fleshed out and consistent, and were wonderfully voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman. Bo, the three-year-old girl that the movie swings on, was almost too cute to be believed, but the movie sailed through the sweetness without slowing down. And the final scenes were actually quite touching. I’d recommend it, were it not for the fact that I sense that I was one of the last people in the world to see it.

It’s rare for me to see a movie in the theatre these days. The reason for this is simple: cost. I am sick of being grabbed by the ankles as I enter my local Silver City or Galaxy Cinemas and shaken for the change that falls out of my pockets. Why should I pay $12 for a two hour movie, and then have to pay extremely over-inflated prices for snacks when all I have to do is wait a few months and rent a video and watch it with much cheaper popcorn made at home?

It’s rare for me to go to the theatre, but it’s not unheard of. I do expect to be heading to the movies four times come November: for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and The Two Towers and, possibly if Dan drags me and subsidizes my way through the gates, for the new James Bond flick and Star Trek: Nemesis. So, the theatre has advantages that video and DVD lacks.

One of those advantages is the larger audience. A few rare movies channel the energies of the audience in such a way that they enhance the viewing pleasure of the film. Witness the difference between watching M. Night Shymalan’s Signs in a full theatre to a next to empty one. Also witness The Full Monty. It’s a funny and touching enough movie to sit proudly in my video collection, but the final scene in the strip club is one of the few times I’ve actually heard a movie audience cheer. Though the video still ends well, it lacks the energy that was present in the theatre those nights I saw it.

Movies can be personal and movies can be communal. The Truman Show works as well watched alone as it does in a theatre (full or empty). And Monsters Inc was funny enough at home, though I expect that dozens of laughing children probably leant it considerable energy in the cinemas. But how much spectacle from Attack of the Clones can possibly transfer from the big screen to the little?

So there are movies out there that are meant for the big screen (although, surprisingly, they are in the minority — to prevent video sales from tanking, perhaps?) and meant to take my hard-earned cash. Oh well. There’s always the second run theatres

Well, here’s a shock. I went through the Belief-o-Matic and it turns out that I’m 100% Unitarian! Who’d have thought it? I’m also 92% Liberal Quaker, 90% Reform Judaism (that can’t be right) and 87% Mahayana Buddhist. I’m least like the Jehovah Witnesses (14%) and the Mormons (30%), so that’s a relief!

There’s a person in our office with the last name of Pepper. Everybody wants him to go for his Ph.D.

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