When I was waiting to see Lost in Translation last night, there were plenty of new trailers. This meant a perfect chance to play the thumb game. It’s simple: the moment a trailer ends, each participant votes thumbs-up or thumbs-down, Siskel-and-Ebert-style. There are two rules: your verdict must be instantaneous (in demanding a snap decision, this game shares in the spirit of “In the Bag”), and, most crucially, there is no middle ground. Period. A horizontal or flickering thumb is grounds for no popcorn. And that’s about it; there’s no winning or losing, just the need to publicly commit to a judgment before sussing out what everyone else you’re with thinks, and live with the consequences.
The trouble is, these days even trailers for good movies are pretty reliably awful, so anyone voting thumbs-up for anything risks having to absorb a lot of abuse and condescension for the rest of the evening. Depending on how tough the crowd is, and how honest, it can make things more interesting to require each player to vote thumbs-up at least once or twice, no matter how dismal the offerings.
Drastic measures weren’t necessary last night, though, since there were a couple of advertised films that actually looked pretty good. Here’s my scorecard:
In America: New Jim Sheridan looks faintly autobiographical, but seemingly centers not on Irish starving-artist