COMMENTARY: I (almost) Lost It At The Movies

By Mike Stafford Radio Host Global News

The superheroes assemble in ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’ Mike Stafford says it’s pretty good. Marvel/Disney.

Off the top, I apologize to the late New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael for stealing the title of her groundbreaking 1965 book. Consider it an homage. (That’s Hollywood-speak for plagiarism.)

This column is about the world of cinema, a Canadian theatre chain with a troubled future, the lack of good non-CGI films, and a cracking recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich.

I took my 10-year-old stepson to a movie last weekend — you know, to get him out of his mother’s hair and off his multitude of internet devices.

I’m a huge fan of the old rep theatres with one screen in the building and a lone employee who sells the tickets, collects the tickets, makes the popcorn, runs the projector and stuffs the day’s proceeds in his mattress at night because he doesn’t trust the banks.

But I live in a suburb. My only choices are Cineplex multi-screens. And because it’s a very diverse suburb, half the films are Hindi with subtitles in Urdu. So our choices were either the latest Amy Schumer sex comedy or The Avengers: Infinity War. I had to go with Marvel, although Amy’s career success does seem a marvel at times.

“Avengers: Infinity War.” Marvel/Disney.

It may be my radio background, but I’m a slave to the clock and cannot stand being late for anything. The movie time was 1:05 p.m., and even though it usually takes 20–25 minutes for the featured attraction to begin, we were in our seats at 1:00 p.m. sharp. That means only one thing: we’ll be finished our hot dog and nachos by the time the screen tells us to put on our 3-D glasses to witness Robert Downey Jr.’s sallow complexion in glorious depth.

Recently, the CEO of Cineplex Entertainment, Ellis Jacob, suggested a flat fiscal quarter could be blamed on a lack of compelling on-screen product. He even admitted that if not for Black Panther, Cineplex would be forced to busk for loose change in the Toronto subway system.

I must agree with his take on the lack of quality coming out of Hollywood lately. Judging only the trailers for films coming this summer, and I was forced to watch almost a dozen trailers, 2018 might be another tough year for the exhibitors.

READ MORE: >Cineplex lays off nearly 100 staff, stock down almost 40 per cent since last year

Here are some of the titles coming when the weather gets muggy:

  • JURASSIC FOCKERS: This ill-advised mashup of two tired film series consists of 3-D footage of Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro literally running from prehistoric predators while screaming insults at each other. For 132 minutes.
  • ROOMS: Another mashup/dual sequels of Tommy Wiseau’s infamously bad melodrama The Room and Brie Larson’s Oscar-winning drama Room. Rob Schneider co-stars as the landlord of undetermined ethnicity who can’t collect rent from either of them. It’s screening in Imax.
  • IRON LUNG MAN: An obscure, ill-advised action caper from the Marvel Cinematic Universe featuring a superhero suffering from COPD who confronts drivers who park poorly at his local grocery store. Get the D-Box seats to experience what it’s like to be wheeled around everywhere.
  • MICKEY’S BIG AUDIT: Disney’s animation studio has run out of ideas so the iconic mouse experiences the sheer hell one can face when you’ve failed to keep the proper tax receipts. Co-starring Kevin James as Mickey’s alcoholic but kind accountant Duncan the Donkey.

As you can tell, this may be a tough summer at the box office. Yeah, there’s another entry from the tired Star Wars machine, another kick at the tired cloned dinosaur franchise and Meryl Streep as the lead in the Guy Lafleur biography looks interesting.

But these were the trailers I witnessed in-between bank commercials and a reminder to turn off my phone that day.

READ MORE: >Hot wing grilled cheese sandwich

The Avengers movie? Pretty good.

Grilled cheese using Colby cheddar with TWO slices of bacon? Pretty darn amazing!

I’m working on the sandwich screenplay as we speak.

>Mike Stafford is co-host of >The Morning Show on Global News Radio 640 Toronto.

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