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Movie Rave, Embarrassing Announcers and a Susan Boyle Moment


If you are looking for something to do on a rainy Saturday, I suggest you head over to the Eastern Hills Mall and see a terrific new movie starring Richard Gere called “Arbitrage.”

Or possibly stay at home and watch it.

I bring this up after my experience last Saturday watching the intensely involving film in which Gere plays a hedge fund owner who makes a series of bad choices that threaten his company and his family’s financial survival.

I got to the theater about 10 minutes early, which usually is enough time to buy a ticket, get popcorn and a drink, and be in my seat in time to catch a preview or two before the movie starts.

Richard Gere: Enjoy His Latest Film

When I arrived last Saturday at my favorite theater chain in WNY, Dipson, the line was out the door with 25-30 people waiting to buy tickets. They all looked my age or older. I won’t stay what age that is, but it is in the neighborhood of Gere’s age and he plays a guy who is 60 in the film.

It took about 10-12 minutes to get my ticket and then I had a choice to get on line for popcorn or head straight to the theater to grab a seat. Since I think it isn’t a true movie experience unless you break your budget and get popcorn, I waited briefly to buy it. When one ticket-taker told the crowd there were only seats left in the first two rows, I questioned my intelligence almost as much as some of my political readers.

I got the popcorn and a drink reasonably quickly and headed to the theater, where I found a seat in the dark after missing the first 30 seconds of the film.

I thought of asking the guy next to me what happened, but he didn’t seem too happy that I had popcorn and was about to make some noise eating it.

After describing this hectic experience to a good friend, she advised me that it was all unnecessary.

“You know that film is on iTunes already,” she said. “You could have stayed home and watched it.”

I checked the next day. The film is on the iTunes list — and for a penny less than I paid. I didn’t try to download it, but it would seem reasonable that if it is on the list you can do just that.

I actually wasn’t happy about that. Not because I regretted my experience. I would watch it in a theater all over again if only because theater popcorn tastes better than the popcorn I make. I also enjoy the experience of watching with a large audience that, in this case, appeared stunned by the sudden ending.

I’m not happy because not everybody feels the way I do about the theater experience and if movies land simultaneously in theaters and online it can’t be good for Dipson and other theater chains.

Heaven knows, theaters are facing enough potential problems these days.

Channel 2 ran a story Wednesday about a Lockport theater that needs to raise $100,000 to convert to the digital format to survive.

It would be nice if a hedge fund guy came forward and wrote a check for it, but that only happens in the movies.

OK, so I went to the movies Saturday night just as my alma mater, Syracuse University, appeared in jeopardy of losing to a lower level football program, Stony Brook. I attended Stony Brook for a year before transferring to SU but I didn’t have conflicting loyalties.

And to be honest, my decision to go to “Arbitrage” indicates how much I care about Syracuse football. You couldn’t get me to go to a movie if Syracuse is playing a close basketball game.

But I digress. When I left for the theater, I DVRed the end of the Syracuse University game with Stony Brook carried on TWC 13. When I returned home and started to watch, I discovered that TWC switched the end of the game to another channel so I missed how SU managed to win 28-17 over a pesky underdog.

This was not entirely bad news. It meant I didn’t have to hear any more of the pro-Syracuse TV announcers assigned to the game. As a SU graduate proud of Bob Costas, Dick Stockton and all the success stories who attended SU, I was embarrassed by how bad these announcers were (I didn’t catch their names) and how often they are cheerleaders. Even more embarrassing was the visit to the booth of former SU Coach Dick MacPherson, who used to be the team’s radio analyst. I think I even heard him say “good” when a Stony Brook star was injured. The current SU radio team of Matt Park and Chris Gedney is much stronger and much more objective than the TV guys.

At halftime of the ESPNU coverage of the University at Buffalo’s 23-7 loss to Kent State Wednesday night, I switched over to “The X Factor” on Fox and think I caught this season’s Susan Boyle moment.

That’s when 30something country singer Tate Stevens appeared and dazzled all the judges, including Britney Spears and L.A. Reid. I wish I had heard Simon Cowell’s review, but he wasn’t judging the first hour.

The first words that Stevens sang established him as one of the contestants to beat. When the judges said “you are a country star,” I couldn’t agree more. He also was very funny.

But he probably won’t be enough for me to watch again for a while. Wake me up when it is near the end of the “X Factor” season.

What would be my blog be these days without one political comment to stir up my readers. I will remind you that I am not saying any of this, but reporting what others are saying.

This, after all, is the silly season of the presidential campaign. I can’t wait to see what the special edition of “Saturday Night Live” does tonight with Mitt Romney’s 47 percent comment.

But the NBC program will have a tough time topping what “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” did Tuesday night. It found an old black and white interview with Mitt’s mom in which she noted that her husband (and Mitt’s dad) was a refugee from Mexico. “He was on relief, welfare relief for the first years of his life, but this great country gave him opportunities.”

After the clip ran, Stewart cracked: “So according to Mitt Romney’s own logic, Mitt Romney could not win the vote of his dad.”

Now that’s funny no matter what your politics are.


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12 responses to "Movie Rave, Embarrassing Announcers and a Susan Boyle Moment"

  1. Rob says:

    A quick thought while while wondering what happened to John Anderson:

    You wonder how many people are going to use PPV to watch Jon Stewart debate Bill O’Reilly. Stewart was on his show earlier this week and was hysterical. The problem with anyone going on The Factor is that Bill always cuts off and interrupts his guests so they never get beyond a 30sec response to anything. That will hopefully go out the window when they have their one on one in a few weeks

  2. Sarah says:

    Downloading now, at home for six weeks, no driving, with surgical boot on right foot.

  3. ds says:

    “After the clip ran, Stewart cracked: “So according to Mitt Romney’s own logic, Mitt Romney could not win the vote of his dad.””

    If you want to misrepresent what Romney said, as talking heads often do to fit a narrative, then yes.

  4. jinx13 says:

    now there you go again alan, singling out romney, when just yesterday obama again blamed the republicans for his own broken promises that he made almost four years ago. the microscope that romney is under is far stronger than the one obama is under and i don’t understand given all the ammo that obama has provided us.

  5. P says:

    I lean liberal but I agree it may seem like the media has been a little harder on Romney. On the other hand, they were pretty hard on Obama four years ago (guns and religion, anyone?). Romney doesn’t help himself much either – he really does make a lot of stupid remarks.

  6. Irwin Burstein(MTC) says:

    My wife & I were in the same line the same Sat nite, probably the 4th last people in line. Didn’t notice you. We don’t eat in theaters, so we went right in and got the last 2 seats together in the 1st row on the extreme left. I agree that it was a great film: even Jeff Simon agreed
    Read and enjoy your blog every AM

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