Mindy Newell: Feeling The Excitement
Don’t you love getting excited and worked up about movies that you can’t wait to see or television shows that you can’t wait to watch or comics that you can’t wait to read?
You know what I mean. I remember reading everything I could get my hands on about Star Wars, especially in Starlog magazine – that’s for you, Bob Greenberger. (I also remember being incredibly pissed coming home from work that May 25, 1977 to find that my then-husband, Steven, had gone to see Star Wars with his friends while I was stuck at work, and then incredibly happy and excited because he said that he would go see it again. Immediately. And out we went.) I remember standing on what seemed an endless line three years later and worrying that we wouldn’t get in to see The Empire Strikes Back. And I remember the insanity that led me to taking 3 ½ year-old Alixandra to an 11 a.m. showing of Return Of The Jedi because I couldn’t wait to see it and I didn’t want to go to the movies alone. (She was remarkably good, too; didn’t have to bribe her with candy…much.)
I remember reserving a copy of Crisis On Infinite Earths #1 at my local comic book store (now unfortunately defunct) and still worrying that it wouldn’t be there when I got finally got there. Yes, I know that I was freelancing at DC at that time, but I didn’t want to wait for my freelancer’s pack, and, besides, I liked supporting the shop. I remember when Alan Moore took over Saga Of The Swamp Thing and I read his first issue (“The Anatomy Lesson,” Saga of the Swamp Thing #21, February 1984) not because I was into shambling muck monsters, but because Karen Berger was my editor at the time and she was raving over it. Then the time between issues seemed not a month of waiting, but years of impatience.
Do I still feel that excitement?
Sadly, these days…
Not so much.
It isn’t that there aren’t movies and TV shows that excite me; I think it’s a product of being older and being jaded and knowing that if I miss X-Men: Days Of Future Passed, for example, in the theater – and no, I haven’t yet seen it – I will be able to watch it in a few short months courtesy of Netflix or Amazon Prime or iTunes. And certainly the price of one movie ticket these days also holds me back. And I hate going to the movies alone; for me part of the joy of going to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture or any of the Star Wars movies – well, the first three, anyway – is the communal experience.
One of the best times I’ve ever had in a movie theatre was back in the 90s, when I was working at Marvel full-time. A whole bunch of us – Mark Gruenwald among them – went uptown to the Museum of Television and Radio on W.52nd St. to see a showing of two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation about time travel: Yesterday’s Enterprise and Cause And Effect. It was absolute heaven watching them in a roomful of ST geeks who were my friends, and it was absolutely joyful to talk about them afterwards.
But these days I’ve either lost touch with some fellow geeks, or they live too far away to just call up and say, “hey, let’s go to the movies tonight/today/this afternoon (that’s you, Mike and John), or as working adults everyone’s schedule is too crazed and too hard to synchronize. And when Alix, of whom I’ve proud to say may not be a total geek but absolutely gets her geek mom, and Jeff, her wonderful husband with whom I share some geek qualities, want to go out for the night, who gets called to babysit with little Meyer (which is how we distinguish him from my father and his great-grandfather)?
And of course I will gladly give up going to see The Hunger Games: Mockingbird to be with my grandchild, if called upon to do so.
The last movie I didn’t wait to see was Star Trek: Into Darkness. I went to see it by myself on a Sunday afternoon. And you know what? I didn’t enjoy it as much as I was expecting to – my biggest disappointment was the lack of imagination in that J. J. Abrams (and the studio?) decided to remake The Wrath Of Khan; I still think that retelling the Gary Mitchell story would be a home run for the rebooted series – because I was alone, and there wasn’t anybody that I could “ooh” and “aah” with during the viewing, or share the “tingles” with as Alexander Courage’s iconic theme came up, and afterwards go for a drink and dissect the film and bitch and moan about “why did they remake TWOK, the perfect ST story and film?”
There’s one movie that I’m already feeling the shivers and pricklings and quiverings of excitement for.
One movie about which I am already saying, “Fuck Netflix! Fuck Amazon Prime! Fuck iTunes! I’m going to see it now, with or without company!”
One movie that’s already got me searching the web for tidbits of information.
Mark Hamill. Carrie Fisher. And…
Oh, no! Harrison Ford broke his ankle while shooting on the set! Is he okay? Will he be able to continue? And it could screw up the schedule?