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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Shaky Camera

Saturday
February 18, 2012

Perhaps I should have seen it as some kind of omen on Valentine's Day when Stacy and I tried to see the film Chronicle at the Malco Roxy theatre in Smyrna, TN. The 7-ish start time Stacy had looked up the night before had been preempted for the showing of a sneak preview of some other movie, the title of which we didn't get. So, with our Valentine's Day plans bumped, we decided instead to go to a matinee showing of it today.

Sadly, that was a mistake. Both Stacy and I suffer from motion sickness, particularly when it applies to motion pictures on the big screen shot in the "found footage" style similar to The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. We had heard good things about Chronicle, with strong reviews on Rotten Tomatoes: 84% fresh among all reviews and 85% among top critics. That was good enough for me, and I didn't outright read the reviews because I wanted to avoid spoilers.

Bad idea. About 10-15 minutes into the movie, I was starting to feel nauseous -- and that was with me looking down every time they went to a shaky shot. I wanted to yell at the screen: "Get a tripod!" But that would have been rude to the other people there, so I kept my mouth shut. Unfortunately it wasn't just me; the shaky cam caused Stacy to feel the onset of a headache.

So we walked out, I found a manager, and I got my $14 back. Props to the Malco Roxy for not giving me any static over it. Before today I had never actually walked out of a movie. Even with Paranormal Activity, I closed my eyes and/or looked away from the screen when the shakiness began. But there's a first for everything, I suppose.

I'm a movie snob, which is why I check reviews and suggestions before going to see a movie. Modern-era movie ratings amuse me in a sardonic kind of way, where they list all sorts of things considered unacceptable in a box below the rating. The best recent example of that is the well-promoted film Project X, which has the following caution before it:

This film has been rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, drugs, drinking, pervasive language, reckless behavior and mayhem-all involving teens.

Nevermind that the term "teens" is misleading since some teenagers are adults and some are minors. Also, if nothing else, the descriptions I anticipate will actually make young people want to see the film more. But my point is that they gave a very, very in-depth description of elements within the film without *any* caution of potential motion sickness, which I've been lead to believe may be an issue with that film as well.

Forget all of that nonsense -- what they really need is a motion sickness warning. Your kids hear far worse at school than you probably realize, but rules are rules. But a "dizzy scale" or something to that effect would be wonderful. Scale of 1-5 or whatever, something to let people like me know that we run the risk of getting sick by watching the film. Seriously, that's a niche that would be great for a movie review site. I know I'd check the motion sickness scale, if one existed, for any movies I had plans to see.

The NFL combine takes place next week in Indianapolis. I had hoped to cover it for Draft King, but the NFL snubbed me, denying me credentials citing more demand than available spots as the reason. That turned out to perhaps be for the best, as the place to stay in Indy that I had been offered by one of my fraternity brothers from college turned out to be a no-go when I contacted him about it. So perhaps it's for the best, plus the NFL Network will cover it live so I can monitor it from the comfort of home.


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