Ramblings from the Warrior's Den
Sunday, January 18, 2004
If you have been reading this Blog for long enough, you've probably figured out that I'm not exactly a big fan of movies. Sitting around staring at a really big screen for two hours while trying to extricate rogue popcorn husks from between your teeth in a socially acceptable manner has never really appealed to me for some reason. As a general rule of thumb, I tend to go to the movies about once a year or so, give or take. I have yet to see Star Wars Episode 2, nor have I seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies... And yet somehow, I still manage to get away with calling myself a geek. Fortunately, the relative obscurity of this particular Blog means that l probably won't wake up to an angry mob of fanboys surrounding the house for saying that.

So what then was I doing standing in a long line in front of a local theater at 9am on a Saturday Morning? To be honest, I'm not really all that sure myself. As near as l can tell, I was there for a special Matinee screening of some sort of food safety training film. I hadn't seen any sort of promotion for this film, which leads me to suspect that this is one of those pretentious low-budget art-house films that you have to ponder the implications of over an espresso with fellow members of your interpretive dance troupe somewhere in the ultra-trendy part of town. The subject matter of the film also leads me to suspect that this particular film's production was heavily subsidized with taxpayer money. Nonetheless, we were charged $10 for the "privilege" of attending this matinee screening. I guess that highly cultured art film snobbery comes with a price tag to match. Now if you'll excuse me, I feel strangely compelled to go give a bunch of money to PBS...

After waiting through the long line and paying the super special film snob price to get in, I must say that this particular film was even more inscrutable than I would expect these art-house films to be. There was no discernable plot, and character development was literally nonexistent. As far as I could tell, the whole thing revolved around a bunch of chefs cooking things, then cooling them down and putting them in the fridge to keep them out Of some sort of danger zone. Woe be to anything left inside this danger zone, for it will be invaded by ravening hordes of really nasty stuff. Should you even think about eating anything that's been anywhere near this danger zone, there's a good chance that you'll probably die horrendously. It would seem that you would be able to make a semi-decent low budget horror flick out of a plot like that, complete with the requisite preachy shame-on-you social commentary you come to expect from such a production. Instead, you get hand washing. A lot of hand washing. I can only assume that this is intended primarily to give the literati something to argue about down at the Starbucks.

There didn't seem to be any significant amount of dialogue, just the type of monotone narration normally reserved for airport terminals and extra-stuffy golf telecasts. On top of all this, they cheaped out on the AV equipment, so the whole thing showed up on the screen at roughly the size of a postage stamp. As for the special effects, I'll just Say that I've probably seen better ones in Powerpoint slides for junior high science classes. Fortunately, they made the whole thing really short (in fact, if it were any longer I'd probably feel even more ripped off.)

On top of all this, someone decided that there was going to be a quiz afterward. After they confirmed that I was smart enough not to thaw out meat in the trunk of my car (yes, there was a question on the test about that), I was awarded a food-handler’s permit for my troubles. I might actually consider giving this film two thumbs up, but I get the sneaking suspicion that were I to do so, I would be berated for Failure to observe proper hand washing procedures. The things they’ll pass off as an indie hit these days… If a film like this can pack a movie theater at 9 in the morning, imagine what I could do with some of my brother’s old home videos… Nonetheless, I'd say this one's probably a renter.

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