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Happy Warrior

Cinema ex Machina

by Mark Steyn

Of my two local-ish movie theaters in New Hampshire, one has an irksome habit of always showing the film just a little larger than the screen, so that anything happening out on the borders of the frame remains a mystery: If memory serves, it was the most recent Die Hard sequel that had all the dateline stuff in the lower left-hand corner, so that the two-line “MOSCOW. AUGUST.” appeared intriguingly as “COW. GUST.” My second local theater’s even worse, a dingy box that always reminds me of being a young cadet at my boys’ school, and the dispiriting huts the sergeants used to muster us in to show us ancient public-service films on how not to catch venereal diseases.

So, when I’m in the big town, I like to catch up on the big movies and see them on the big screen. The other day, the big town wasn’t that big — Burlington, Vt. — but it had a multiplex or two, so I scanned the listings: Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters Inc.; Man of Steel, the re-reboot of Superman; Pacific Rim, something to do with robots vs. aliens; Despicable Me 2, a sequel to a computer-animated cartoon about a reformed supervillain; Grown Ups 2, an Adam Sandler sequel with all the urine and feces gags they cut from the first film; Grown Ups 2 in 3D, the same urine and feces gags but viewed through cardboard spectacles . . . And, for the first time that I can recall, there wasn’t a single movie I could face the thought of sitting through.

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