Setter’s ‘Spectives: Your Seats Won’t Make a Bad Movie Better

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613It’s nice to know there are movie theaters out there that are trying to make the film-consumption process more palatable than the tired popcorn that’s churned out every day before being drizzled with slimy butter topping.

I recently had the experience of sitting in such a theater, which featured a kind of stadium seating that might be found in the first-class cabin of an airplane … if such flights featured cinema-oriented stadium seating. Composed of soft padding, the chair had a bit of a recline thing going on, as well as lots of space for me to shift my tuchas when my position became the least bit uncomfortable. The requisite cup holder added convenience; extra leg room added area.

Unfortunately, it didn’t improve the movie I was seeing: This Is Where I Leave You.

That’s too bad. I only wish the theater concentrated more on providing a better film than it did on offering cushy seating. For a good picture, I’d sit on hard wooden benches. I’d sit on the floor. I’d sit in the smoking lava of the Mount Doom caldera.

Well, maybe I wouldn’t go that far.

My point is that the quality of the seating in a theater is less important to me than the quality of the filmmaking. I prefer to see movies based on how good they may be, not how comfortable the space is. And I just don’t think a huge number of mainstream theaters consider that.

I understand numbers are important. I understand luring eyeballs is essential. But I just would like to see more of a focus on bringing great pictures to the theaters than one geared to bells and whistles. I don’t know if this will happen; it’s probably not a realistic hope. It’s the wish of a moviegoer, though. The wish of an individual.

That should factor in somewhere.

Setter’s ‘Spectives: Staying for All of ‘This Is Where I Leave You’

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613I should’ve left early before I finished This Is Where I Leave You. But no – I stayed for the whole thing.

My loss. It was absolutely horrible, as glib and smarmy as I didn’t predict it would be. So much for my capacity for prediction.

And so much for enjoying the two hours I spent in the theater. The film – directed by Shawn Levy and concerning, in a nutshell, the gathering of a group of semi-Jewish (the question does, self-consciously, arise during the proceedings as to whether they are of this religion) siblings at the family home after the death of their father – strained credibility to the nth degree in its attempt to blend coarse humor with heartfelt sensitivity. Neither worked, and the fact that this ensemble piece featured quite a few ill-defined characters made it all the less credible.

A number of good actors worked on this project. Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, among others. They couldn’t save it, however, and despite their innate charm, the picture went to pieces. The script, adapted by Jonathan Tropper from his novel, was snarky without being believable and showcased plenty of less-than-credible situations, including what seemed like an endless series of fights, arguments and couplings that never went anywhere plausible. Couple that with a time span that was way too long, and you’ve got a rambling, tiresome picture.

So why did I see this? Why did I pass the time watching this flick when I could’ve exited with my dignity intact?

I don’t know. All I can say is I’m only human. It was a lapse in judgment. I could’ve saved those two hours for something productive.

On the other hand, if I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t have written this review. Maybe it was meant to be.

Mysterious ways. If only there was a bit of that in This Is Where I Leave You.