On making the most of the movies Halifax gets

The lament of a lady who doesn't know how to get to Bayer's Lake

I’ve spent the last week woebegone, and Fred Willardless.

I’ve been anticipating the release of For Your Consideration (the latest offering from the good people who brought us A Mighty Wind, Waiting for Guffman, and my favorite of the lot, Best in Show) for many, many months.

Last Friday, the film arrived in Halifax. “At last,” I cried. But the movie, like Fast Food Nation and many other interesting films before it, has been relegated to Bayer’s Lake.

Of course, this isn’t an insurmountable problem, and the fact that I’m complaining at all also shows that in just three short months, I’ve become a bit of an entitled movie-expecting princess. In New Glasgow and Fredericton, my two previous cities of residence, it never would have occurred to me to even hope that a movie like For Your Consideration would come to the theatre. And, in my short time here in Halifax, I’ve gotten to see both Shortbus and The Science of Sleep in theatre.

Hey, to me, these are impressive accomplishments.

However, I think it's the knowledge that For Your Consideration is so tantalizingly close that makes the extra effort required to access it doubly frustrating.That, and the fact that a greater attention to detail and movie placement, and a little cooperation and communication between our city’s theatres, might have helped bring the movie even closer.

I’m hopelessly inept at bus navigation, and have only a very shaky sense of direction, so both of these make the idea of attempting to trek to Bayer’s Lake for the first time a scarier prospect to me than perhaps it should be. My own lameness aside, however, getting oneself all the way out to Bayer’s Lake from South-end Halifax (assuming one does not have a car) is still a bit of a hassle and a time commitment. It turns a two-hour movie-watching commitment into a 4 hour+ event, with bus times factored in---and that’s assuming that the movie-goer in question does not get lost, or hop the wrong bus, which I can see myself doing.

I do understand that the theatre in Bayer’s Lake is the biggest one around. Of course it’s going to get more movies. It just seems to me that the wealth could be spread around somewhat.

Fast Food Nation was advertised at the Park Lane theatre on a giant standee, but instead spent two weeks out at Bayer’s Lake, and now appears to have left Halifax. Assuming the movie was only going to be in the city for two weeks, why couldn’t it have been switched in its second week to the Oxford, or Park Lane?

Moreover, had it moved to one of these more student-friendly locations, maybe it would have stayed longer.

I’ve noticed this lack of foresight a few times in the last three months. But I'll admit, I do have slightly different priorities than the management team over at Empire, who probably aren’t putting much time into analyzing how to nurture movies, and help them reach the people who want to see them.

The problem isn’t just that movies are being left to die in Bayer’s Lake, either. Some movies that have been brought to the Oxford and Park Lane have also been managed rather imprudently. Little Miss Sunshine was at the Oxford for three weeks, the last of which it was also ran at Park Lane (where it then moved for another two weeks or more).

I liked Little Miss Sunshine, and was happy to see it come to the Oxford. However, had it been moved to Park Lane earlier, this might have opened up a screen at the Oxford for another film. As well, had Empire realized earlier that Little Miss Sunshine had enough of an audience to play at Park Lane, perhaps they could have opened it there to begin with, and left the Oxford screen open for one of the edgier, harder-to-access movies that, rightfully or not, we tend to assume will go to the Oxford.

The Queen also took up screen space at the Oxford for four weeks. It’s available this weekend at Park Lane.

If it had made the move sooner, could Fast Food Nation have taken its place at the Oxford for a week?

Either way, it would be nice to see a movie-screening system come into play that makes more sense, and spreads the movie wealth around more liberally.

Until then, I’ll be spending my time frantically examining my bus schedule and budgeting my time.

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