Monday, March 01, 2004

Movie Review - 50 First Dates

I have a love/hate relationship with my theater of choice.

When in Bowling Green, I generally go see movies at Showcase Cinemas Maumee. Maumee is a suburb of Toledo, and the theater is about 20-30 minutes away from my apartment. There are closer theaters--Bowling Green is home to the Cla-Zel theater, which is Ohio's oldest single-screen movie theater, and also to a five-screen Cinemark at the Woodland Mall. However, if you're looking for a quality moviegoing experience, you can't beat Showcase. That's why I choose to go there. The problem is that it's so damned expensive. Two admissions @ $9 each = $18, plus $3.95 (plus tax) for a large Mountain Dew and $5 (plus tax) for a large popcorn to share = $9.40, and the whole movie experience is almost $30. That's a lot.

Still, that said, I pay it willingly, because going to a movie there is head and shoulders above going to a movie anywhere else nearby. All of their screens feature stadium seating, which means you never have to worry about sitting behind a tall guy in a tall hat. The legroom is good and the seats are comfortable (my ass didn't even get numb during any of the Lord of the Rings films). The armrests all have cupholders. Most importantly, though, movies there just look and sound awesome. The video is crisp, and the audio through the digital surround-sound is outstanding. That's probably the biggest difference between movies there and anywhere else. If you should happen to see a movie at Showcase, and then again someplace else, the difference in sound quality is astounding. The sound is perfect at Showcase; at the other place it will sound like you're listening to someone watching a movie in the next room.

So that's why I pay the extra money to see movies at Showcase. I'm a bit of a movie snob in that regard, and I'm mostly okay with that. I have nothing against seeing movies at other theaters, and if I'm with a group of people who want to go somewhere else, that's fine. If I'm choosing, though, I'm almost always going to Showcase.

Anyway, Brandi and I went up there last night to see 50 First Dates. We had been talking about it for a couple of weekends in a row, and finally decided to go do it. We both really like Adam Sandler, and I must also admit a certain fondness for Drew Barrymore, who is a fine actress as well as being totally adorable. Beyond all of that, Brandi had heard that the movie was pretty good, so we decided it was one we shouldn't miss.

It turned out to be a pretty good movie. The premise was a little goofy--like Dana Carvey's Clean Slate, except it focused on the people around the person with the memory loss as well as the person herself. I feel like the premise is a little contrived and goofy, but I suppose that's mainly because I don't know if it can really happen or not. Basically, a car accident and the resulting head trauma causes Drew Barrymore's character to lose her short-term memory each night in her sleep, so she wakes up each day thinking it's her father's birthday, and her family acts this out for her each day.

Anyway, the premise aside, the movie was well done. It had a good cast, although it seemed just a little bit like a reunion of The Wedding Singer--along with Sandler and Barrymore, it also featured Allen Covert as "Ten-Second Tom" (incidentally, I think Covert may be Sandler's Siamese twin, as he was also in Anger Management...actually, as I look at his credits on IMDb, I see that he's been in a bunch more Sandler movies). The movie also featured Sean Astin (about as far from Sam Gamgee as he can get), Rob Schneider (another common Sandler sidekick) and Dan Aykroyd.

50 First Dates also shares a couple of songs in common with The Wedding Singer. That's not a bad thing, though, as The Wedding Singer had a killer soundtrack. In this movie, all the songs are pretty familiar, except they're all being covered by new artists (except the recurring Beach Boys song that plays throughout the film, which, interestingly, isn't on the soundtrack). I like that. The songs are fresh that way, and I think the ones they chose all fit the story and the scenes pretty well.

As I said, the movie was pretty good. Sandler meets Barrymore and befriends her, only to be totally confused when she doesn't remember him the next day. He learns of her condition, and has to convince her to like him each day. It's a good setup for some pretty funny stuff. The movie does get a little sappy from time to time, but it's okay. It fits. The comedy more than makes up for it.

I'd say if you like Adam Sandler, you should definitely check this out. Even if you don't like Adam Sandler, you shouldn't automatically rule this one out. This one isn't quite as goofy as some of his earlier offerings, but it still manages to be funny.

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