My Jewish Christmas
Christmas might be the one day of the year which comes and goes faster than any other day on the Calendar. And yesterday was really no exception.
Waking up at 10, because the combination of my body not getting along with my bed here at home and the fact my internal clock refuses to accept the fact that I don’t have an 11am class I can’t skip, gave me a chance to get an early start to my day.
And not having to worry about looking under some undersized tree for overpriced gifts was a relief, because the odds of Santa getting me what I wanted this year came and went between 10 and 15 years ago when I decided I wanted to commit my life to rooting for the teams I root for.
But never the less, I was able to get back to the gym after a two day break, and 4 miles and 3 episodes of Scrubs later, I then was feeling good and played another 30 minutes of basketball by myself in the snazzy new Knicks shooting shirt I bought myself at the Garden on Sunday.
After my second shower of the day it was time to head into the city for a movie.
The city was surprisingly busy, despite the fact I had seen the unusual sight of stores in the middle of Times Square closed.
The Movie theater was absolutely mobbed, mostly with J’s. And its not like these were your more typical Jewish people with noticeably large noses, heavy appetites and light wallets, but I’m talking about yarmulke wearing, men and women on separate sides of the theater J’s.
Lunch consisted of a very nutritious dirty water dog with mustard, sour kraut and onions, which was then pushed further down in my stomach by the M&M’s I treated myself to.
After waiting 10 minutes to purchase said snacks, we got finally made our way up 4 escalators to our theater, only to find that there were no seats together anywhere other than the very front row.
Forgetting to bring a pillow and recliner, I was in no mood to sit up there, but splitting up was not really a fun option, so we sat with knowledge that by the end of the movie our heads would be permanently looking upwards.
But onto the movie itself.
Coming close to seeing Charlie Wilson’s War, the final decision ended up being The Bucket List, with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.
Eventually my goal is to expand this blog to include a much bigger emphasis on movies, but until then I’ll start here by giving my own review on The Bucket List.
Before even seeing it, a movie with actors of the caliber of Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman screams out that even an awful script and terrible plot could be turned into gold with the two of them sharing the screen.
And they did not disappoint, as the movie mixed in a terrific combination of humor and sentiment. It was a feel good movie which featured two strangers who meet on their respective death beds- figuratively and literally speaking- and decide to come up with a list of things they want to do before they both “kick the bucket”.
There was great chemistry which at no point seemed forced or fake between Jack and Freeman, which took a average movie and made it above average in my opinion.
Another plus was the length of the film. I went in expected at least two hours when i was treated to a very neatly packaged hour and a half. It was quick but not rushed. There were more than enough laughs, and although the audience becomes fully aware that these two men are entering the finals months of their lives, it never takes away from the things they do and the relationship they develop.
While seeing Freeman in a dramatic role is hardly something rarely seen, the softer emotional side of Jack Nicholson in the character he plays was really pretty special to watch.
I myself was able to refrain from crying (I have absolutely no shame in admitting I’ve cried during many a movies) but this movie had me right on the edge of shedding some tears.
I don’t want to give thumbs up or stars, as me and my roommate Matt like to rely on the letter grade system, and this movie to me was a very, very solid B+.
Now to give you and idea of the scale I use (and I’ll get more specific when I finally start to incorporate movies more into the blog) but The Departed was an A- while Walk Hard was an equally solid D-.
The Bucket List was very satisfying, and has a few really great messages you can take away from it, mainly that there aren’t a lot of things more important than just getting as much joy out of your life as possible, while also trying to give other as much joy as you can possibly dish out.
Bottom line is I would recommend seeing the movie when it comes out in wide release January 11th.
Getting back to my day, and staying on the topic of the movies, a few things which caught my attention when it comes to the movie-going experience.
-Movie ticket prices. I know it was Christmas day, and I know I was in Times Square. But two tickets cost over 23 dollars, and thats just outrageous. Of course if they wanted, movie theaters could charge 15 dollars a ticket and people would still show up today. And for that matter, ticket prices will continue to rise because the theaters know that people have a never ending desire to be entertained, and as a result will show up at the movies as long they exist.
-The Previews. I have mixed feelings about previews. On one hand, sometimes previews are worth the price of admission, as they end up being more entertaining than the movie you actually paid to see. Plus for those of you like me, who get a rush out of seeing things and getting things before the majority of the general public, previews at the movies give you a chance to get a sneak peak months in advance. The flip side is that a lot of these previews give away too much of the movie. It has become increasingly harder for movies to stay unpredictable when the previews leave you with enough of the plot to figure out enough possible endings to avoid seeing the movie all together.
-Clapping after the movie is over. Whats up with that? We are not seeing a live performance, meaning that after the credits rolls there wont be anyone taking a bow and waving to you. The movie industry is happy enough you paid your 12 dollars to see the film, only to then pay another 20 when the DVD comes out. Hearing people applaud at the end of a movie just comes across as stupid in my opinion, and makes me laugh every time I hear it (as today was once again one of those occasions). I am not saying that the movie may not be worthy of an applaud, but the fact is its a movie, not a sporting event.
All that being said, I love going to the movies, and nothing I mentioned will deter me from continuing to do so, because I- like most other Americans, love overpaying for 90 minutes of distraction.
After getting home from the movie, I capped off the traditional Jewish Christmas Day by ordering Chinese food, which was delicious.
Chicken and Broccoli with Garlic Sauce, pork fried rice and steamed dumplings really screamed out Merry Christmas to me in a way not many other things could have.
And so Christmas has come and gone, and hopefully without the door hitting on the ass on the way out. While most of the world will miss it, I can safely close the door on the Christmas spirit with this to say:
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