At The Theater #31: The Town

I flied solo for the first time during this movie watching project when I caught The Town on a rainy afternoon at Brooklyn Heights Cinemas. This is the first time I went to see a movie by myself since I saw A Hard Day’s Night at Film Forum about 10 years ago. Before that, I don’t think I had been to the movie by myself since I was in junior high school, when I saw movies alone regularly in the summer 1990 (the last being either Problem Child or Total Recall) at the two small movie theaters in Pearl River, NY. On a side note, I was hugely popular in junior high (Liar!).

On another side note, how sad is it that both of those Pearl River theaters are now gone? Any readers of this blog remember those theaters? Okay, one wasn’t that great, but the nicer one had such a classic old-style movie theater vibe that’s hard to find in these days of multi-story megaplexes.

On a third side note, what’s with me going to the movie theater alone only during years that start new decades?

I know people who refuse to go to the movies alone, just as I know people who refuse to go to a restaurant alone. While I would much rather see a movie or dine with a companion, I recommend doing either alone both from time to time. There are definite advantages to seeing a movie by yourself: there’s no compromising on what movie to see (The Town), the show time only has to work for one person (me), and you get to pick out whatever snacks you want (small popcorn with butter and a regular Dr. Pepper, please) . But while this is freeing, there are definite downsides. You’re responsible for all the popcorn you choose to buy (luckily I had the foresight to order a small). Also, don’t expect a stranger to fill you in on what you missed while you were in the bathroom (that medium Dr. Pepper made the last 20 minutes of The Town excruciating). And when the movie’s over, there’s no one with whom to talk about the movie (except you, faithful blog reader, but even this is a mostly one-way street).

In order to get to 52 movies for the year, I expect I’ll be seeing a few of them by myself from here on out. But it really is much nicer to go with someone else.

The Town is about a 1960s ad exec and an ageless smoke monster teaming up in the FBI to take down Daredevil and an Iraq war veteran, who have turned their back on the law and become bank robbers. You’d think the smoke monster would wipe the floor with the bank robbers, but he’s surprisingly ineffectual during the climatic gunfight. Wait, I might be mixing up some roles…

Don Draper doesn’t get Mad (Men), he gets even.

Seriously though, The Town is awesome. Go out and see it in the theater. I will be very surprised if this movie doesn’t get nominated for an Oscar. As my snack stand order was being rung up, the ticket-seller/concession counterperson/movie-booker (seriously, while she was pouring my Dr. Pepper, she was on the phone ordering future movies for the theater – that’s multitasking!) said, “This one’s really good, you’re going to like it,” referring to The Town, not the Dr. Pepper. At least I hope she wasn’t referring to the Dr. Pepper. Don’t get me wrong, the Dr. Pepper was enjoyable. I just wouldn’t expect someone to get that excited about a fountain beverage.

Listening to the dialogue in The Town, I started to get a feeling that Ben Affleck was largely behind writing the cute dialogue in Good Will Hunting. The conversations between Affleck’s bank robber Doug MacRay and his hostage turned girlfriend Claire had the same vibe as Will and Skylar’s date in Good Will Hunting.

The highlight of the movie for me was the interrogation scene between Jon Hamm as an FBI agent and Ben Affleck’s theif Macray. Jon Hamm lets out the most exaggerated Boston agent ever while making fun of MacRay. It’s awesome.

The Town is definitely the victim of its own marketing campaign. When I first heard the title and saw the poster, I thought it was a horror movie. Maybe the name The Town reminds people of The Village. That can’t help. The trailer for The Town cleared up what genre the movie is, but didn’t do much else. The trailer made The Town seem like it was Heat 2.

Filmmakers, do your best not to associate your movie with this one.

The Town is a much better heist movie than Heat. Affleck is 2-for-2 as a director. If he keeps this up, Affleck may become the Martin Scorsese of Boston crime movies.