I've developed a very specific kind of tradition lately as it relates to my Wednesday-before-Thanksgiving trip to the theater.
In the past, I'd always try to go to a movie on the shortened last day before a long weekend -- Memorial Day, Labor Day, what have you. My boss tries to release us two hours early on days like this, and I'd taken advantage of those extra hours to grab a flick.
Since the birth of my son, my responsibilities have necessarily caused many of these opportunities to fall by the wayside. One that hasn't fallen is seeing a movie on my pre-Thanksgiving early release, and since my boss already told us yesterday that he might not be in today and that we could leave two hours early, I don't have to worry about a last-minute bout of Scrooginess causing him to renege. (Unless he reneges electronically, but that seems unlikely.)
And even though it originally looked like the times might not work out, it now appears likely that I'll be able to attend a 1:50 showing of Ang Lee's Life of Pi. Making this the third straight year that I will have gone to a 3D movie on the day before we eat turkey.
In 2010 it was Tangled. In fact, it was Tangled by default, because either there wasn't anything else opening that interested me, or the other things opening didn't have convenient start times. I dragged my ass to Tangled even though I didn't have high hopes for it, just to take advantage of the opportunity and my wife's blessing. As you may recall, I absolutely loved it -- so much so that I eventually ended up ranking it #2 for the year.
Then last year it was Hugo. I didn't love Hugo like I loved Tangled, but there were parts of the movie that delivered an equivalent level of exhilaration to me. In fact, the thing both films had in common was their exceptional use of a technology that is frequently fumbled by filmmakers: 3D.
Now Life of Pi is being billed as "The next Avatar." At least, on the billboard I see on my way in to work. I certainly hope that the story is better, but I think the comparison they're trying to make is a technological one. If this billboard is to be believed, Life of Pi is doing things with 3D and CGI that will make us ooh and ahh the way Avatar did.
Actually, I know the story of Life of Pi is better because I've actually read the book. I say "actually" because reading has been a particular weak spot for me in the past couple years. In fact, until I experienced a reading renaissance through audio books on my commute to work in the past six months, which has led to the consumption of about a dozen new books, it'd had been a couple years since I'd read a book from start to finish. Pathetic but true.
And so when an adaptation of one of the books I've read comes home to roost, it does give me a little sense of pride that I'm not a total philistine. For similar reasons I'm looking forward to the adaptation of Ender's Game, which is due out next year and will probably be a visual marvel in its own right.
But let's not look ahead to next November 1st. For now I'm excited about this November 21st, when I'm hoping to go three-for-three in pre-Thanksgiving 3D extravaganzas as part of this newly established tradition.
Now just knock on some wood for me that I don't have any work crises that nullify the possibility of my early release.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.