August 6th, 2011

80s, music

The Paramount Theater "Movie Classics"

Shannon and I had planned a date tonight, intending to go to the Paramount, where they were showing Back to the Future.

Okay. Sidenote. What? The Paramount Theater is showing Back to the Future? Not North by Northwest? Not Casablanca? Not The Maltese Falcon? Not Citizen Kane? Not Singin' in the Rain? Not All About Eve? Not It Happened One Night? Not A Night at the Opera? Not something starring Humphrey Bogart or Audrey Hepburn or Marlon Brando or Jimmy Stewart or Clark Gable or Joan Crawford or Buster Keaton or ... I don't know ... somebody classic? But no, they're showing Back to the Future as part of their "Movie Classics" series this year? I am appalled. Is it perhaps intended to be ironic? Like "Our theater is old and we usually show old movies, but here we are going back to the future by showing something newer!" Well, except that the movie is still 25 years old (Ouch. Okay, now I feel older than ever. Which makes sense, since I am older than I've ever been before. I mean, that's true every single moment of my life, so I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise or disappointment when I notice it.), so we're still not talking about the future, but I suppose it's futurer than, say Rear Window. And it is kinda the future of the theater, if one is considering its perspective (if a theater had a perspective) from it's time of construction in 1931.

Anyway, so we had this kinda spontaneous date all planned out. We normally go out to dinner together on Friday nights, but it's generally pretty local, and it generally doesn't involve other entertainment. But I had noticed yesterday (due to a Facebook post) that Back to the Future was going to be showing at the Paramount tonight, and so I resolved to go. I've always loved going to movies at the Paramount, and I haven't gone in years.

Unfortunately, as I just mentioned, I haven't been to the Paramount in years, and so I'd kinda forgotten the sheer insanity of the crowds. We ended up getting there (or, at least, riding our bikes past, because the crowd outside was so immense that we decided it wasn't even worth stopping) maybe half an hour after the doors had opened, maybe half an hour before the curtain was scheduled to go up. But the sidewalk in front of the theater was packed. We had passed the theater an hour or so earlier, at which point the line to buy tickets already stretched all the way to the south until it hit the corner, and the line for ticket holders to actually go in to the theater stretched all the way to the north until it hit the other corner. When we passed it the second time, heading toward home after dinner, the crowd looked even worse.

So I decided I didn't feel like waiting in line for 20 minutes (or more) in order to search for seats in an already crammed full theater. I mean, I love the Paramount, but ... we should have gotten there an hour earlier.

So ... no Back to the Future for us tonight. But we still had a pleasant bike ride together (though I kinda thought I was gonna die when we were biking uphill for miles and miles on our way home) and a pleasant-enough fast food dinner. I'm not upset that we missed the movie and missed the Paramount experience ... I just have a different plan for next time.
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S - A - T - U - R - D - A - Y ... night!

Hung out with Lisa today, as usual, and we randomly decided to go to Chester's for lunch, for a change. I used to looove Chester's, and Shannon and I both went there frequently when we lived in North Berkeley, but the restaurant was sold to new owners some 10 years ago or something, and it has mostly sucked ever since. Their menu is still reasonably interesting, but the actual food quality is less than impressive and the service tends to be terrible. But we were looking for something reasonably quick (for reasons I will explain in a moment), and Chester's never has a line (though it used to, back when it was good). So I was prepared for mediocracy.

But today I ordered something I hadn't had there before: the "Modesto Potato Pancakes." Here's how the menu described them: "Hash brown potatoes, mixed veggies, three cheeses, tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, eggs your way, toast." It turned out to be kinda like an omelette, but with potatoes as the primary structural ingredient, instead of eggs. For ova-phobic people like myself, this is an exciting idea. I actually thought it was really yummy, too. These supposed "mixed veggies" must have been chopped so finely as to be imperceptible, but that's okay. Their "potato pancakes" (most decidedly not latkes) were quite tasty! Worth another trip to Chester's one of these days.

The reason we wanted lunch somewhere relatively speedy was that Lisa had gotten a film from Netflix which we both wanted to see, and particularly wanted to watch together: Honey and Clover, which is a 2006 Japanese (duh) live-action adaptation of a manga series for which we had previously watched the anime adaptation. I was dubious beforehand, but I ended up really liking the movie! It's a sort of coming-of-age, romantic sort of thing, set at an art college in Japan. There isn't a lot of actual romance romance (in the kissy kissy sense) in the movie, but there's lots of unrequited love, contemplation of falling cherry blossoms, pondering the ways of the world, expressions of admiration for Youth and Art, etc.

I was shocked to see that I could watch a 2-hour movie -- with subtitles, no less -- without feeling even remotely tempted to fall asleep. Of all the sleepiness tests I've done recently, this one had the most unexpected result. Very exciting!



In other news, our neighbors seemed to be having a rather large party in their back garden this afternoon/evening, with various tables of food/drink/etc. I hope this doesn't mean that the old lady who owns the house has died (though that was apparently Shannon's first thought when he saw the people gathering, as well). This lady is (or was) probably close to 100 years old. Well, I hope she's okay, and that she and her "helper" guy (also very old, but considerably more spry than she is) continue to live there. They are very nice neighbors, and I've never known them to host a party worth noticing before today. They don't tend to get high and crank up their music while the pot smoke wafts through our open windows. They don't tend to watch the Superbowl really loudly and scream (in unison with all the equally hyper friends they've invited over) at the tops of their voices every time a touchdown is made. They don't (as far as I know) haul their extra garbage over and shove it into our tiny trash can. Plus, one time, the "helper" guy came over with a big bag of plums from the tree in their backyard, and gave them to us! So they're pretty cool neighbors. Long live the neighbors!