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  Film Reviews: Watching With The Elite: Spider-Man Opening Weekend  

Monday, May 6
Watching With The Elite: Spider-Man Opening Weekend
Ah, the hype, the ads, the merchandizing, Kirsten Dunst doing the wet T-shirt thing…how was it going to be possible to see Spider-Man opening weekend without having to see it from the front row surrounded by unruly teenagers? Could we really see this Summer Blockbuster (part of the SBS!) and be amongst the first? The answer, my friends, was simple: turn to the one theater that makes movie-going an elitist event. Yes, we paid the premium and reserved seats in the balcony at the Arena Grand Theater. We dined on sushi, sat in plush leather seats and mocked those that were forced to sit with the commoners below us. Did I mention the top-shelf liquor that was available for purchase as well?

Okay, so it wasn’t your mall Cineplex movie-going experience, but we do recommend paying the premium (what would have been $16.50 over the phone was $22.50 for the two of us) if you want guaranteed seats, two bucks off concession and an audience that understands that they’ve paid to watch a movie rather than participate in chat-time. You might be thinking “yeah, yeah, but does that sort of elitist attitude really get you anywhere?”

Watching Spider-Man from my privileged seat with husband next to me, I found that being surrounded by the luxury of purchased comfort helped me see the true plight depicted in the film. Sure, many will tell you that Spider-Man is the classic comic-book dream of nerd turned superhero – perhaps they will even tell you that it is a thinly veiled allegory about the common-man rising up against big government and big business. Spider-Man may very well have been about these things, but I would instead tell you that it is a cautionary tale, meant to teach us that superheroes need our support in order to do their day-to-day heroing.

Sure, Spider-Man can scale walls, sense danger with a near precognitive ability, spin webs from his writs and fight like nobody’s business. He does this all for free and asks little in return. Crime fighting, unfortunately, does not have set business hours. If there were set hours, it would have been easier for Peter Parker to maintain a day job that would afford him, say, macaroni and cheese on a regular basis. Instead, our own Peter is forced to *** himself out at professional wresting events (ever wonder of Randy Savage still had a career?) and as the official freelance photographer of Spider-Man for a few hundred bucks a week. To top all of this off, there are many times where the city (often egged on by JJ Jameson, editor of “The Daily Bugle”) doesn’t even appreciate this service – instead, they question Spider-Man’s motives and openly wonder if he’s really a bad guy in disguise.

This must stop. From my perch in the fine balcony, I figured out what needs to happen. If all of us could jut get together and throw a $2500-plate black-tie dinner quarterly, we could throw some of the proceeds into a “Super Hero Fund.” The fund would need to be administered somehow, but we could pay our local superheroes a monthly stipend that would keep them in mac n’ cheese, costumes and perhaps afford them a meal out at an Olive Garden once in a while. I’m seeing some themed events – perhaps even some sort of “Monte Carlo Night” with a James Bond look-alike contest (any of the 6 – including Woody Allen!). Maybe we could have a Southern Belle night where we all come as our favorite character from “Gone With The Wind.” Even better, we could have a Presidential Evening where couples come dressed as their favorite US President and First Lady. The possibilities are endless – and it’s all for a good cause and it’s the responsible thing to do!

The movie? Oh, it’s simply the story of how Spider-Man came to be (ignore the fact that Gwen Stacy is absent from this series) and of his fight against the Green Goblin. The Peter Parker legend is left in tact, including his hand in his Uncle Ben’s death (that was Stan Lee, not me) that leads to the over-used “with great power comes great responsibility” line that is repeated ad naseum throughout the film. We do meet Peter’s best friend, Harry Osborn and the love of his life, Mary Jane Watson. All of it set up for Sam Rami’s (the director) planned Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 sequels. As with any film part of the SBS is obvious product placement (OPP). The OPP was first introduced by ET in the form of Reece’s pieces – an OPP made even more famous by the fact that M&Ms turned down the ET OPP. In Spider-Man, I began to wonder what products DIDN’T approach Sam Rami to pay for an OPP (ever wonder how you afford a $140 million budget?). Dr. Pepper makes a HUGE appearance, but the digitally-altered Times Square billboards are beyond over-the-top when in comes to the OPP.

And for those of you that are wondering…JJ Jameson is also Vern Shillinger from “OZ” fame (that was really bothering me!).

But I digress…on to The Usual:

Recommendation: Matinee is more than fine, a full night out if you’re a fan of the SBS.

Annoying Theater Goer: Hey, we were with the elitist snobs that all stay quiet during the movie! Instead, I shall tell you the tale of the “oh, god, please say I wasn’t that bad” story of the 12-year old at Ted’s Montana Grill. Remember being embarrassed by your parents? Enough so that you would say in a public restaurant “god, you are so embarrassing, I can’t believe I have to stand here with you!”? Well, please tell me I wasn’t like this 12-year old girl who was wearing a pink tank-top, micro-denim skirt with rinestone string belt and platform flip-flops! (Kettle, meet Pot, Pot, Kettle.)

Main Reason To See This Film: Fun-filled film that sticks fairly close to the original mythology of the Spider-Man story.

Main Reason Not To See This Film: Okay, I’m jumping on the waaaaaay too many digital-effects bandwagon. When it’s obvious that you’re not even looking at a real Spider-Man any more, you’ve gone too far. For Sirk: Macy Gray makes an appearance (but her life is in peril!).

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Nudity: No. (Husband also points out that wet T-shirt scene was far too short.)

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