December 4, 2006

Fandango Wants Our Opinion

Over the weekend Cinecultist did that rare thing in our obsessive movie-going lifestyle, we actually bought a ticket to see a film in the theaters. We'd missed the preview screenings of The History Boys and thought it might be worth a watch. If you ever go to the movies here in New York, or really any major American city these days, you know trying to get into a flick over the weekend can be tough sometimes, so CC bought ahead on Fandango.

Like a lot of online businesses these days, Fandango keeps track of all of your vital info, from your purchasing frequency to your favorite spending locations. In our account you can see all the movies CC's bought online over the last few years which is sort of a fun exercise in personal anthropology. Then today we got an email from those info trackers at Fandango asking CC to log on and rate The History Boys for a potential gift of up to $100. Our interest piqued, we clicked through the email to a log in page. Fandango wanted to know about our social habits and viewing preferences besides movies, to place in a public profile. We filed a bit of the most innocuous details about ourself and then proceeded to The History Boys page. We were asked to rate the movie on a scale of 1 to 5 (from Oh No! to Must Go!) and then fill in a review.

This kind of thing always tickles the Cinecultist and makes us rub our hands in evil glee because when companies or publicists at advance movie screenings ask for our opinion, they really don't know what they're getting themselves into. For god's sake, CC has an advance degree in being an obnoxious movie goer! We've been trained in this field but some of its leaders.

Afterwards we tried to click back to see our review online, but it doesn't seem to be up quite yet. Maybe they have to approve the reviews first, make sure no one uses some crazy obscenities or gives a rave review of Deck the Halls. Anyhow, here was our opinion, just in case Fandango tries to censor our lukewarm response to the flick.


I'd read a certain amount about the award-winning play but hadn't seen it, so thought a film with the original cast would be the next best thing. However, I didn't think the reported energy and intensity from the stage production translated into a visual or gripping movie. While the acting was good, particularly Samuel Barnett, and the soundtrack of '80s hits were fun, the various monologues about learning, history and thinking for yourself didn't really come across as strongly as I would've expected. Only later when I was describing the film to friends, in particular the issues of homosexuality and relationship between teachers and students, did it come across as a more interesting film than while I was watching it. That very intangible quality of a movie to move from scene to scene with force is tough to quantify, and while I thought the History Boys was a good movie, it didn't have that "something" that could've made it great. Too bad.

After all of that work, of course it turned out that the $100 was towards discounted magazine subscriptions. Yick. If there's one thing CC doesn't need in our life is even more magazines filling up our tiny apartment. Advice to Fandango, use this user talk-back feature to award your clients with discounted concessions or a punch card towards free movies. That would be a good incentive. Also, CC sort of likes that idea that a community could grow on these movie ticket websites and movie lovers could dialogue or interface with each other on line. Any way for film fans to connect and argue seems like a good idea to Cinecultist.

Posted by karen at December 4, 2006 6:31 PM