Out of the Gauntlet…

…and into another trap.

March was an interesting month. As both of you reading this blog know, I thought it would be fun to participate in the Letterboxd.com March Movie Madness Challenge, which resulted in a bunch of short reviews under the “ABCs of March” heading. That involved going through the alphabet by watching a movie every night. I have a sort of sick jealousy towards people who could actually do that – I indulged in a tremendous amount of gaming the system, watching several movies a day during my enforced week off (Spring Break at the college). Coming off that glut of movie watching and following up by a rather ravaging Crapfest also had an unforeseen consequence: I was completely burned out on movies.

The Author's Brain: Artistic Representation

The Author’s Brain: Artistic Representation

I done one… one! review since. While recharging my batteries, I’ve gone back to Habit Number One, reading. Burned my way quickly through Lindsay Faye’s marvelous Dust and Shadow and Gods of Gotham. Finally finished Warren Ellis’ thoroughly demented Crooked Little Vein, which was the detective novel Hunter S. Thompson probably wishes in the afterlife he had written. And (also) finally got round to Richard Kadrey’s fourth Sandman Slim novel, Devil Said Bang, and those damned things just keep getting better.

I’d been flirting with the idea of getting back on the cinematic horse when I was hit with one of those two weeks of extreme business that seems to be your lot when you’re working a couple of part-time jobs and engaging in several freelance projects. One of those projects finishes up this Sunday, and I’ve hit a period of relative calm. Well, I think to myself, it might be time to watch a movie or two.

Then I discover that Danny Baldwin and Oscar Velasquez, the same people who came up with the March Movie Madness challenge, have come up with another one for May, and oooooh, is it irresistible. To honor the memory of Roger Ebert, participants watch Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, then one movie a night from Ebert’s Great Movies series. I mean, good Lord, look at that list. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

I’ve watched about a third of those movies, so finding 30 I had not was relatively easy. Some of them are even on The List. In the final version of my proposed watchlist for May, I already owned 19; 4 were on Netflix; 6 I could get from my local library (my local library system is pretty damned sweet, if I haven’t mentioned that lately). The last two I picked up for cheap from my own Amazon Wish List.

So I guess I’m doing this.

challenge-accepted-stoplightThere are all sorts of problems I foresee. I don’t have Spring Break to fall back on. At least six evenings are already scheduled for work. Two days for my wedding anniversary get-away. One evening for the Capital Fundraising Kick-Off for my old theater. Monday and Tuesday evenings my wife must have the HDTV to watch Dancing With The Stars, so I can’t watch Blu-rays those evenings. There should be a Crapfest in there, somewhere, too. This is a field of logistical landmines, to be sure.

I am also likely the only person in the world who would complain about watching quality movies.

So there will be more system gaming, I am sure. I will likely start the process tonight, trying to build in a buffer. My portable DVD Player will go with me to San Antonio. I’ll have to save the shorter movies for nights with work and so on. And somewhere in there, find time to write about this ordeal of excellence.

I guess this why they call it a challenge.