Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hurray for Hollywood

Last week I finished a project with Lorraine Bracco. I had hoped to meet in her in person, but sadly all our business was transacted over the phone. Had we been in the same room together I would have held out my iPhone and snapped a Smelfi of the two of us.

Did you see what I did there?

Her iconic character from The Sopranos was Dr. Melfi. So I would have taken a picture of Lorraine and myself and called it a Smelfi.

Can you believe people pay me to write words on a piece of paper?

Perhaps it's best that scenario didn't work out. I'm sure I also would have bored her with the tale of how I was a standing member of her SAG-AFTRA union.

Now, I don't attend SAG meetings.
I don't participate in any of their workshops, "Playing Animal Roles and Being the Squirrel."
And I haven't been on an audition since 1999, where I was edged out of the part, Man on Bus with Newspaper.

And yet every year when that SAG union membership card comes up for renewal I gladly whip out the checkbook. I'm sure there are many non-working, non-interested-in-working fellow thespians out there that can tell you why.

It's the Screeners.

This year, we hit the jackpot. For those of you who are civilians, that's the perjorative term we (and I use the term 'we' lightly) actors like to use about people not employed in show business. Screeners are free copies of movies sent out by the studios in an effort to garner important votes for the upcoming awards season.

For the past two weeks we've been binging on high caliber Oscar-worthy movies.


There were some other chick flicks in the bunch, but I didn't watch them so they're not worth mentioning.

But the math is worth doing. You see my SAG renewal costs me 108 bucks a year. That's tax deductible, so it's really about $72.

Let's say my wife were able to drag me out of the house and convince me to go to 7 movies.
And let's say the Price of admission-- $13.00


7 movies (2 tickets each) - $13.00 X 14 = $182
Medium popcorn (7) = $35
Medium Diet Coke (7) (reluctantly shared by two) = $21
Parking (7) = $28
Obligatory (7) late night stops at Junior's deli to discuss why she loved the movie and why I hated the formulaic storytelling, including matzo ball soup, pastrami sandwich and some kugel = $150

That's $108 versus $416.

Not to mention the fact that at home, I don't have to sit next to mouth breathers, loud popcorn eaters, or people who can't track a narrative and resort to playing Words with Friends on their iPhones.

Of course the greatest benefit to watching Hollywood movies from the comfort of my own living room can best be summed up in two lines:

And those of you with poor bladder control know exactly what I'm talking about.

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