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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

August 12, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Which screening to choose?

So, this is the kind of dilemma that people in my job often face: duelling screenings. Things are perhaps different in New York and L.A., but here in Seattle, movies tend to screen for the reviewing press (and for members of the public who’ve picked up passes from radio stations or whatever — these people are called, in a publicity term that never fails to crack me up, “outside filler”) just once. There are exceptions — “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” for example, seems to be screening at least five or six times before opening, to build up word of mouth — but for the most part there’s just one screening, usually on the Monday or Tuesday before the Friday opening. Sometimes local publicists will call me to make sure they’re not double-booking; sometimes they’re just told, by the studio in L.A., that they must screen on Tuesday.
And that seems to be what’s happened for next week: Three movies screening Tuesday night, none having any other screenings at another time, none with DVD screeners available. (Screeners are sometimes a possibility for small arthouse releases; virtually never for major movies.) And the movies are:
— “Nanny McPhee Returns,” the sequel to the rather charming Emma Thompson family film from a few years back
— “The Switch,” formerly called “The Baster,” in which Jennifer Aniston finds out the father of her turkey-baster son — could it be Jason Bateman?
— “Vampires Suck,” a ‘Twilight’ spoof which, I must admit, has a very funny trailer.
I pondered this for a while — I have a train-wreck fascination with Jennifer Aniston’s romantic comedies, and have myself stuck a toe into the fertile world of “Twilight” satire — but I think I’ll go to “Nanny McPhee,” because a) Emma Thompson is always a pleasure, and I haven’t seen her on screen in a while, and b) I heard the movie contains pigs who do synchronized swimming. But if I could clone myself, I would. Am I making the right choice? If you had to go to one of these three movies, which would you pick?

A cheerful piglet in “Nanny McPhee Returns” — more fun than Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman? Or a crew of werewolves dancing to “It’s Raining Men?” I’m still a bit torn. (Photo courtesy Universal Pictures)

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