27 February 2011

Pickelodeon: AMC Best Picture Showcase

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AMC Best Picture Showcase

Sometime last week I was made aware of a little gem called the Best Picture Showcase. The Best Picture Showcase (BPS) was presented at AMC Theaters across the country where moviegoers could enjoy all ten films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. I had heard of such showings in the past, but never was able to get to one until this year. With ten films nominated for the most prestigious prize in the Hollywood, there were several options for the BPS. You could see five films on a Saturday and then the remaining five a week later, or you could see all ten in a 24-Hour movie marathon. I was only able to catch the second Saturday's films at the AMC Loews theater in Cherry Hill, NJ. I'd like to share my experience with you and offer some tips on how to get the most out of this experience next year.

The Setting
 The main concern you will face is selecting a theater. While the AMC chain has rarely let me down, for an event like this you will want to do a bit of research. I had heard prior to the BPS that the theater I chose did not have the best projection quality. While the projection was not terrible, it was noticeable. For one film, that's not a big deal, but for five or ten, it becomes a bit annoying. You will also want to look into the theater's concession offerings and nearby restaurants to get a quick bite during the break. In this sense, a theater attached to a mall would be ideal.

The Cast
I highly recommend going with a decent-sized group of friends, for a variety of reasons. For one, it will give you a variety of people to sit with and talk to. Two, your friends will provide a buffer between you and other theatergoers. I found myself stuck next to the same people for awhile, and surrounded by a bunch of people who were making cringe-worthy assessments of each film. Thirdly, you have a bunch of different people to share snacks with. Finally, after a twelve-hour day of watching films, it's handy to have a copilot for the drive home.

Check the playbill ahead of time to plan out your BPS experience. I knew ahead of time that I was only able to see one day's worth of films. I had to choose between day one with The Kids Are Alright, 127 Hours, Toy Story 3, The Fighter, and True Grit and day two with Winter's Bone, Black Swan, Inception, The Social Network, and  The King's Speech. I ended up opting for day two, and while I am disappointed that I did not get to see all ten, I am happy with the five I chose. Also, if you have seen some of the films already, picking a day that has more films you have not seen may be your best choice.

Take Five
 There is an hour break between the third and fourth movies, so plan ahead! As indicated in our article Pizza in the City of Brotherly Love, there is a Cici's Pizza down the street from the AMC Loews Cherry Hill 24. I figured this would be a quick option to get out of the theater, have a quick meal, and get back in time for the next movie. As I was driving to the theater, I kept my eyes open for a backup plan just in case I had less time than anticipated. That turned out to be good foresight as during the break, there was a line out of the door at Cici's. So be sure to have a few plans in place on how to spend your break time.

Final Cut
Overall, attending the BPS was a great experience that I highly recommend. Seeing the nominees for Best Picture will prepare you for the Oscars, and you will be well-versed in most of the major award categories. Plus, at $35 for one day or $60 for two, it's a price that can not be beat. So next year, as Oscar weekend approaches, keep an eye out for announcements for AMC's Best Picture Showcase and join in the fun.

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