Remember social events?

There is this meme floating around Facebook — sorry I can’t show it to you, because I don’t care — that puts up four movie franchises, like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, & Marvel, and asks you to pick only three. I enjoyed seeing all of them once, but sheesh, enough, I don’t particularly want to rewatch any of them, I’m not particularly interested in seeing any of them continued, I don’t need any spin-offs or alternative universe series (Star Trek did that, hated it, Marvel is apparently planning to play games with the time line, I hate that too). Give me something fun and creative that does not expect me to get invested in the next movie that will come out. That’s all I ask. I have simple tastes. Show me a monster from outer space eating spaceships, I’ll contentedly buy a ticket and eat my popcorn. I don’t need to know there will be a monster from outer space eating spaceships II. It’s actually a bit of a turn-off because I know executives somewhere are drooling over piles of cash and planning more without concern for the quality, and by the time we get to monster from outer space eating spaceships VII it’s going to be dreck intended to shear the sheep still lining up to see it. Or, inevitably, it will be bought by Disney. So just stop. Please, for the love of gods, I don’t need to see another Spider-Man or Batman origin story, OK?

But I do love going to the movies. Always have. I’ll go see whatever is playing at our local movie theater, which I hope manages to weather the pandemic. It’s been closed for a year now! I’ve had my vaccination, which will kick in with full immunity in about 6 weeks, and once the theater reopens I’ll be there every week, and I won’t care much what is playing. This video ramped up my nostalgia.

The drone pilot is really, really good, but it’s also a great perspective on just going to the movies. Also, it was recorded in Plymouth, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis — I’ve been there, but not to that particular theater. Now I want to go to the movies, any movies.

The same pilot also made a similar video of Bryant-Lake Bowl — I have been there, multiple times. I even gave a talk in the little auditorium attached to it, and I’ve been there for one of Rebecca Watson’s quiz shows, which were held as part of Convergence. It’s a great place, a center of community, where people get together to relax, have fun, drink beer, and talk.

I want that back. I want it back sensibly and safely, though (note all the mask-wearers). I’m not an extrovert, but I still would like to hang out in communities of my fellow ape-creatures, quietly, just sitting back and savoring the vibes.

By the way, we’re slowly coming back. I see that Convergence is planning an in-person con in Minneapolis on 5 August, which should be OK — we’re all supposed to be vaccinated by then. I might still be a little nervous about attending, so I’ll play that one by ear. Skepticon is playing it safe and will be an entirely on-line con on 13 August, which is reasonable — they would have had to book the venue at about the time the pandemic was peaking (which does make me wonder where Convergence acquired all that confidence).


  1. kenbakermn says

    The Plymouth theater in my local joint. I think the last thing I saw there was Ad Astra. I like being able to buy a beer and bring it into the movie.

  2. says

    I live in South Korea and the movie theaters here never shut down. However, I never got to enjoy this privilege because i was afraid to take a train to a bigger city.
    As to the franchises PZ mentioned, Fellowship was the only LotR movie worth much and i’d rewatch it over and over; I’m not into Star Wars/Trek anymore; and I can’t wait for Black Widow to come out, and am actually interested in what direction the MCU will take. The only MCU movies worth rewatching (for me at least) are Iron Man, Winter Soldier, Avengers 1, Civil War, Infinity War, Guardians 2, Thor 3, and maybe excerpts of a few more. I did not like Endgame after the first viewing, the time travel and fan service were hokey, and i would have preferred a movie going into why the infinity stones exist and all that hubbub than what we got. because the canon explanation of “well the big bang did it” is really uninteresting story-wise.
    (But my all-time favorite movie ever [at least for right now] is The Haunting (1963). Y’all should see it if y’all haven’t. Definitely worth repeats.)

  3. wzrd1 says

    Whatever are you going on about, PZ?
    Batman Begins Again 59732 was totally a hit!
    Or something.
    Rocky 37552 was a hit as well, even if Rocky 37553 got panned. Sylvester Stallone drinking his Geritol has always been a hit.
    Or something.

    Well, back to watching my favorite soup opera, “The Old and the Restful”…
    It comes on right after Star Wars 500000.

  4. raven says

    Remember social events?

    Yeah, seems like ancient history.

    The last social event I went to was a small venue rock show in mid-March 2020. Even then, people were starting to be careful. With good reason, that was when my friend caught Covid-19 virus in her aerobics class. It’s been a year now. She is still sick and still recovering, a long hauler.

    This pandemic stole a huge amount of our lives away. As a Boomer, this is when I/we don’t even have all that much time left.
    It also stole away our arts and entertainment.

  5. says

    …I don’t need any spin-offs or alternative universe series (Star Trek did that, hated it, Marvel is apparently planning to play games with the time line, I hate that too).

    Can’t speak to what plans the Masters of the (Marvel Cinematic) Universe may have up their sleeves. However, it may be worth noting that alternate universes are very much a stable of superhero comics, perhaps more so for DC than for Marvel. So if Marvel is, indeed, going for multiple timelines, it’s just staying true to the source material.

  6. Tethys says

    Too bad all the drive-in theaters have been converted to strip malls and crappily built subdivisions. They had built in social distancing.

    I am looking forward to doing anything more social than grocery shopping. I hope spring shows up soon so I can get out in the garden again. Its a simple pleasure to have random chats with random neighbors walking by.

  7. PaulBC says

    MCU movies are entertaining enough and usually have very good acting in addition to special effects, but the kind of movies I really like are along the lines of Charlie Kaufman’s work. I don’t think he has ever outdone Being John Malkovich (and thankfully it is self-contained and we don’t need a Malkoverse with one or more timelines). It has the same appeal for me as Twilight Zone and Outer Limits did. That’s a lot more interesting to me than heroics.

  8. Rob Grigjanis says

    cubist @6:

    alternate universes are very much a stable [staple?] of superhero comics

    Didn’t that start because they didn’t keep track of their storylines and had to invent alternate universes to maintain consistency? Kind of a Cosmic Kludge.

  9. PaulBC says

    Alternate histories have been applied deliberately for a long time to explore “what if” scenarios (e.g. H. Beam Pipers Paratime stories). They’re also a useful way to wriggle out of time travel paradoxes. I’m not much of a comic book person, so I don’t know when they first started to be used to fix inconsistencies.

  10. says

    To be fair, if Marvel messes with the timeline, that will actually be true to at least the spirit of the comic books, and possibly the actual specific storyline of the comics as well depending on how they do it. Superhero comics are almost uniformly terribly written. If the movies get so wrapped up in their own guts until there’s nowhere left for the plot to go without cutting a huge swath through the continuity — like the comics do — then nobody should be surprised if the writers decide it’s Big Red Lever Time and reset everything. The only good things published by Marvel have been semi-independent stuff outside their mainstream continuity, usually without superheroes, like Groo The Wanderer. (Which they lost a long time ago because they tried to shaft Sergio Aragones.)

  11. birgerjohansson says

    Social events? Some students in Uppsala, Sweden have gone full Trumpist and ignored the distancing rules by having parties.
    So now we have a lot of students with the South African virus variant (Swears loudly).
    The realisation that branching parallel worlds could solve time-travel paradoxes was publicized in New Scientist maybe two decades ago. I imagine the idea quickly found its way into fiction shortly thereafter, although ordinary parallel worlds have been around much longer.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    Safe socialising.
    In Pratchett’s “Pyramids” one character completes a task quickly by entering a time loop, helping himself.
    In theory PZ could thus be his own company several times over, thus avoiding the virus risk. But knowing in advance what other versions of him will say will get boring fast. Ketamine? I am told it messes with memory.

  13. magistramarla says

    We’ve been re-watching Star Trek TV shows, and thoroughly enjoying it. I would really enjoy a new Trek movie in the theater.
    We binge-watched all of the seasons of Deep Space 9 and now we’re well into TNG.
    I really didn’t remember many of the plots, probably because I was too busy with my own kids and with teaching other peoples’ kids back when these shows aired,so it’s been great for me.
    We’ve also been loving the new Star Trek:Discovery and Picard. I actually like spin-offs, if they are well-done.
    We’ve also been re-watching Warehouse 13. After dinner, a glass of wine, some dark chocolate, and a showing of a Warehouse 13, followed by one of Star Trek, TNG is what I call a relaxing evening.