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The Special Pass

Yesterday was a tearful, bittersweet and somewhat difficult day for the Wallerstein/Huff household. January 31st marked the end of an eleven month era. At some point, Chris and I will look back wistfully and remember the good times of our carefree, happy and unbridled decision-making. We will treasure the time when we had the freedom of choice and no burden of financial loss. This was a time of the most golden card ever owned. This was a time of the AMC special movie pass. People use the word special too often to elevate the ordinary. This is a one-day special price (it's not), this is my special niece (she's annoying and bratty), but this, my friends, was indeed special. The golden movie pass was our equivalent to being a couple of Charlie Buckets. It was a magic card that allowed two people to see as many movies as they humanly could - for free. Even in IMAX, 3D and new releases. The pass was our golden ticket and our glorious plan was to use it to every inch of it's life.

I acquired the pass sometime in mid-late February by pure luck. My name was drawn out of a hat and for once it wasn't to win an automatic soap dispenser or free home water testing. This time, I got something precious and coveted by movie fanatics everywhere. When it arrived in the mail, I was so excited and determined to use the next eleven precious months to see as many movies as possible. As a special pass holder, I learned a lot about myself, AMC Theaters and the movie industry. Firstly, there are many genres of movies I don't care to see - even for free. These genres include but are not limited to: slasher films (Paranormal Activity 5), macho meat head films (Fast & Furious 6) and a somewhat weighty percent of sci-fi and fantasy films (After Earth). When scanning the list of movie choices, at least one-third of the films were not worth the time investment. Secondly, the comedy genre is an almost lost art form. Flimsy language, sloppy physical antics and pathetic two dimensional characters with, of course, a couple of named stars are all it takes to make a comedy. Long gone are the days of The Big Lebowski or even My Big Fat Greek Wedding. 2013 was a dark time for comedy films. Chris and I divided our movie watching experience between three AMC Theater locations: Town Center, Ward Parkway and the Fork & Screen Studio 30. For those who live in the area, AMC Ward Parkway wins the award for the nicest seats with it's glorious red recliners. The food at Fork & Screen battles a Crapplebees menu with Olive Garden prices, and Town Center is a human ant farm at all hours of the days except for Monday nights. Our ambition to see as many movies as possible resulted in 36 films. A paltry number to what our hearts had in mind at the beginning. However, we both agree that our luster for movie watching bottomed out after seeing two films in a week. First off, there's not as many movie choices out at a given time as you might imagine. I checked IMDb daily and the late spring and early fall are almost dead periods in the movie release cycle. Also, we have full time jobs, traveled extensively over the summer and at times I cheated on our special pass. I turned to Chris more than a few times and said "I need to see some live theatre, I just can't look at a two-dimensional screen anymore".

But, the good news is I believe the special pass equated to almost $700 in movie savings which is by far the most valuable gift card I've ever received. Our complete list of movies:

1. Life of Pi (3D)

2. It's A Good Day to Die Hard 3. Lincoln 4. Silver Linings Playbook 5. Identity Thief 6. Argo

7. OZ The Great and Powerful (3D) 8. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone 9. Olympus Has Fallen

10. Admission

11. 42

12. Iron Man 3 (3D)

13. Star Trek Into Darkness (3D / IMAX) 14. The Great Gatsby (3D)

15. Man of Steel (3D / IMAX)

16. The Internship

17. Much Ado About Nothing

18. RED 2

19. The Heat

20. We're The Millers

21. The Way Way Back

22. Blue Jasmine 23. Lee Daniels' The Butler 24. Runner Runner

25. Gravity (3D / IMAX)

26. Merrily We Roll Along

27. Enders Game (IMAX)

28. Hunger Games Catching Fire (IMAX) 29. Anchorman 2

30. Saving Mr. Banks

31. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (IMAX)

32. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 33. Her

34. August Osage County

35. American Hustle 36. The Invisible Woman

In my humble opinion,the best of the list would include: Star Trek Into Darkness, August Osage County, Argo and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The worst of the list would include: Runner Runner, Anchorman 2, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Olympus Has Fallen. But, through the good films and the bad, we collectively saw almost 300 movie trailers and ate almost $200 worth of movie popcorn, soda and reece's pieces. Although we will morn the death of our special pass, we will forever cherish the fond entertainment that it provided.

We love you, special pass and thank you for the sweet memories. Now, back to seeing four films a year and going out to enjoy sunshine!

Check on that wear!
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