Movie Madness Strikes Again

We’ve been watching a lot of movies lately. So many that the search is on for explanations. Really excuses.

Is it the chicken or the egg? Are we watching movies to prepare for this week’s ever-popular Groundhog’s Movie Review? Or is the mood of the times the compelling force behind both behaviors? If that’s the case, we watch movies for the same reason that we run our annual Groundhog Movie Review on the first Thursday of February: It’s the season for burrowing for all kinds of creatures.

Certainly, our first taste of February weather reinforces that theory. Gray, gray, gray as far as the eye can see. Look out over the Bay and the experience is doubled: gray sky over gray air over gray water.

The hanging-on snow has darkened to gray, too, especially on roadsides and driveways where auto exhaust works like dye, showing us what’s really out there. Slushy gray yards are not looking their best; you don’t find nature’s beauty this time of year by looking down. But if you don’t look down, you’ll surely walk into a puddle or onto a slick of black ice.

Groundhog Chesapeake Chuck did not show himself when I went looking this morning. Why should he come out to weather like this when Netflix delivers movies direct to his den?

Real astrologist Rob Brezsny offers another credible excuse in this week’s column. The sign of the times is Aquarius, stretching from January 20 to February 18. So all of us fall under the sign of Aquarius this time of year and thus get insight (and excuses) from that horoscope. In it, Brezsny wishes us all Happy Slack Week, defining that quality as do theologians of the Church of the Subgenius as “a state of being in which everything flows smoothly.

Now is not the time for us to “strain and struggle to make desired events unfold,” Brezsny advises. If what I want to do is watch movies, so be it according to the commandment of Slack. 

You see what I mean about excuses? Like Ben Franklin, I’m a great admirer of excuses. Old Ben claimed that the great benefit of reason was our ability, as human creatures, to come up with justifications for whatever we really wanted to do.

If like the groundhog and me you’re disposed to Slack this season, you’ll find excuses at hand in this year’s Groundhog Movie Review. Staff writer Diana Beechener, our movie queen, has given us edifying and elevating excuses to while away hours watching good movies. This year’s picks are — or ought to be — on the twin Best Ever lists of moviedom. 

The American Film Institute ranks the 100 best movies of the first 100 years of movie making at

Entertainment Weekly offers another (and often overlapping) top 100 at

Start with our 20 picks, organized in five categories: New-to-Me Classics; Tried and True Classics; Creepy Classics; Overlooked Classics; and Classic? I Think Not. From there you can watch your way onto the Big Lists. By then, it will be spring. 

Other News on the Movie Front

As you’ve no doubt noticed reading our weekly movie reviews and previews, staffer Diana Beechener is taking over for long-time contributor Mark Burns as Bay Weekly’s Movie-goer. Diana is the fourth reviewer in our long history of running movie reviews written especially for us.

Doc Shereikis the Movie Professor began the tradition in our second year, 1994. Jonathan Parker took over in 1999, when Doc retired, claiming he’d seen enough bad movies for a lifetime. Parker kept us alert and entertained until October of 2009, when newborn twins knocked him out of the game. Now marriage and a fulltime job have returned former intern and Movie-Goer Burns to pinch-hit reviewing.

Are you a Movie-Goer reader? Diana and I are eager to hear what you think of both the weekly column and this special issue. Share your thoughts to [email protected]