' ' Cinema Romantico: What Movie Will Mark My Triumphant Return to the Theater?

Monday, May 10, 2021

What Movie Will Mark My Triumphant Return to the Theater?

A couple weeks ago I received my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, modern miracle, officially making me a Fully Vaccinated Man. And though I recognize the Pandemic is not over - indeed, it seems only to be growing worse in certain parts of the world - I also felt joy at certain activities I once took for foolish granted being cautiously available to me and My Beautiful, Perspicacious Wife (also fully vaccinated) once again. It is why my idea of a post-vaccine celebration is not posting a picture of my precious vaccine card but finally, quasi-officially answering the question that has dogged my mind for well over a year: what movie will mark my triumphant return to the theater?

I had an answer to this question, of course. I mean, at one point it wasn’t even a question at all. “Top Gun.” I was going to go see the “Top Gun” sequel, “Maverick”, slated to open over the July 4th weekend. Oh, how many times I dreamed of that moment! Alas, Tom Cruise, hero of the movie, I presume, made like a villain, pushing the release date back to November so he could go on worldwide tour for its release. Sigh. And yet. I’ve come to suspect that “Top Gun: Maverick” might not have been the wisest choice for my triumphant return to the theater if only because between nostalgia and being in a movie theater for the first time in 16 months, I likely would have been reduced to a cacophonous blubbering mess when that Harold Faltermeyer score (I can only assume) kicked in. The ushers probably would have been forced to intervene. “Sir, we’re going to have to ask you to leave. Your crying, it’s just too darn loud.” 

With “Top Gun: Maverick” out, I’m unsure where to turn as nothing else calls out to me so clearly. And while there is an argument to be made that my triumphant return to the theater should be nothing more than waking up one morning, deciding to go see a movie, seeing what’s playing nearby, and picking something out , well, how do you make a blog post out of that?

What Movie Will Mark My Triumphant Return to the Theater? 

Moonfall. Roland Emmerich is making a movie about stopping the moon from crashing into the earth? Well, okay then, this was easy. It’s all settled. I’m going to see “Moonfall!” Wait, what’s that? “Moonfall” doesn’t open until 2022? Criminy ditch. On with the list.

The Woman in the Window. This is a Saturday Afternoon TNT Movie. Next.

Samaritan. “...the project has been described as a dark, new take on superhero movies.” Oh my God. I really don’t need any more of this in my life. Next. 

F9. This one isn’t my speed. Next.

Wrath of Man. If F9 isn’t my speed than shouldn’t a middling thriller be my cup of tea? Eh, yes, but the stakes here are huge. This is my triumphant return to the theater! It has to be the right middling thriller. This is wrong. Next. 

The Dry. Oooooooh. Now this middling thriller seems a bit more like my cup of tea. And yet I can’t help but be more intrigued by another middling thriller.

Army of the Dead. This middling thriller. “After a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries takes the ultimate gamble by venturing into the quarantine zone for the greatest heist ever.” I mean, the glorious Pitch Meeting-ness of that synopsis (it’s a heist movie crossed with a zombie movie!) moves it into serious contention. But, it’s Zack Snyder. And Snyder’s aesthetic is too Netflix-y for such a moment. Next.

Limbo. The thing is, I really want to see “Limbo”, maybe more than any movie on this list. It’s just, it doesn’t scream EVENT. And while there is some of that “Sideways”-ish argument about going to see the movie for the first time in 16 months itself being the EVENT, I’m still looking for a more of a sense of imaginary red carpets and searchlights. Next.

Here Today. I love the idea here. I want more of these movies, where rather than emphasizing the IP, you’re emphasizing the actor, taking Tiffany Haddish and figuring out the rest later. But this still feels more like, say, a third movie back than a first movie back. Next.

A Quiet Place Part II. Emily Blunt facial expressions are one of the best parts about the movies, granted, but I just don’t have enough attachment to this burgeoning series to choose it for such a momentous occasion. Next.

Jungle Cruise. If it seems ridiculous to rule out “A Quiet Place II” and then give greater consideration to “Jungle Cruise”, which I suspect is going to become 'problematic', but what can I tell you? Loyal frustrated followers know I want to see “Jungle Cruise”! Don’t judge me! If I want to see Emily Blunt be a Movie Star, not an Actor, let me! But. This isn’t being released until July 30th. That’s too far away. Next.

In the Heights. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s big movie musical certainly feels like an EVENT if nevertheless missing one key ingredient. ...

Those Who Wish Me Dead. ... This ingredient. Because regardless of what anyone else thinks, calling up their box office receipts and dumbed-down elementary definitions of the term, Angelina Jolie is a Movie Star. And a movie where Angie is playing a smoke jumper being pursued by assassins, that scratches the maddening itch of the last 16 months. Besides, while being released into the theaters, it is simultaneously being released on to HBO Max. That means I am consciously choosing not to see a movie on the small screen and that feels momentous. 

See you [wipes away tear] at the movies. 

*An earlier version of this post conflated the forthcoming In the Heights with the forthcoming West Side Story, or perhaps conflated the forthcoming West Side Story with the forthcoming In the Heights, I honestly don’t know. Every movie looks the same to me anymore. The blog regrets the error.

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