I have a bone to pick with Hollywood.  Which just goes to show how annoyed I am, that so soon after the festival of engorgement I’m still talking about picking on bones!

Do you like movies? Do you like going to the movies, or are you one of those people who prefer  sitting on your couch with a Netflix rental or scrolling through the On Demand list for something worth watching?  If you are the latter, then don’t bother reading any further.  You just won’t get it.

But if you’re like me, and enjoy getting out of the house and, for the price of a senior ticket, watching a good film on a really big screen with Dolby sound (whatever that is) then perhaps you’ll share my frustration at not living in a Select City.

IMG_4820This is the time of year when the movie industry really knows how to amp up the disappointment!  They save the best for last.  The films released at the end of the year in order to be in the running for the 2012 Academy Awards.  Wonderful films with wonderful actors and wonderful stories.  Film goers are enticed with advertisements and coming attractions.  You react.  Oh! I can’t wait. I must see that!  Then you read the bottom line: Exclusive Engagements or Now Playing in Select Cities.  Soon to be Released Everywhere – Whenever.

It just happened with  Lincoln and now with Hitchcock, Anna Karenina, Hyde Park.  Tolstoy! Anthony Hopkins! Helen Mirren!  Bill Murray playing it straight as FDR!  But we must wait our turn.  Our city is not worthy.

So I wonder, who are the select cities and how do you become one? Is there a rotation of some sort? If that is so, then I wish my city would jump on the wheel.  I have this fantasy of a bunch of cities sitting in a classroom and the teacher says “OK – who wants to be a select city this month?”  And the cities all shoot their hands in the air and cry “Ooh, ooh – pick me, pick me.”  But, unfortunately there are those few bully cities that are larger than the rest, and are capable of intimidation.  So the same cities are chosen all the time and the rest of them, the smaller ones, are forced to return home and confront the stigma of their puniness.

I used to live in a Select City.  Perhaps the most Select City in the country – New York.  Not in the outer boroughs, but right in the heart – Manhattan.  Brooklyn and the rest of them don’t even count when it comes to theater selection.  As a movie-goer I was spoiled rotten.  I just took my Exclusive Engagement status for granted.  Of course I would get first crack at a new release.  I had no idea that my rights as a citizen would be so compromised when I made the decision to relocate to a town with fewer than eight million people.  And to think I gave up a rent-stabilized apartment!

Listen.  I’m not saying that small towns don’t get any new releases.  Why, just the other day I noticed that Wreck-It Ralph was playing on at least three screens in our local multi-plex.  That should satisfy the movie-going crowd between the ages of twelve and under.  Or am I over-estimating?

Hollywood, there has to be a better way.  On the whole, you are known to be a democratic group.   On behalf of smaller towns and cities everywhere, I am asking you to be fair.  The locations where you choose to showcase your best products should not be based on their representation in the electoral college.  ( Which is thought by many to also be unfair, but that’s a topic for another day.)

Perhaps you would consider a lottery of some sort, or a bake-off?  Just a couple of ideas off the top of my head.  You’re the creative guys.  I’m sure you can come up with something to level the playing field.

In the meantime, I shall  try to be patient and wait for Anthony and Helen to appear in a theater near me.    I knew I was being too hasty in giving up that rent-stabilized apartment!