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Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Great Buck Howard Pre-Screening

After exiting the cinema after seeing Tropic Thunder last Friday, we were handed an invitation for a pre-screening of The Great Buck Howard. Since I've never been part of such an event in Switzerland I definitely had to check it out.

So Guido and I returned to the Loew Waterfront cinema yesterday to see what would happen. When we arrived there was already a queue of about 40 people, but we saw that the cinema was big enough to seat even more people. The first thing we had to do was disclose our age, so that they could get an overview about the demographics of the audience. Next people were being let into the cinema and assigned seats. Just when we were about to enter the line was stopped to allow the others find their seats. When the facilitator returned he asked us if we would mind assisting him for a couple of minutes, in exchange he promised us prime seats. We were very intrigued and of course agreed immediately.

We (Guido, I and 10 other people) were then led to a saloon room on the second floor where we could give feedback on six different possibilities for the movie poster. This session was very interesting and it was amazing to see the different concepts. At the end we were almost unanimous about which poster we liked best.

Then we could take our seats in the front row of the dais. The Great Buck Howard is the story of the Great Buck Howard, a mentalist/magician who has been on the road for decades but has recently lost the link to the new generation, and Troy Gabel, a would be writer who gave up law-school and now works as Buck's road manager to earn his keep. The opening of the movie is very cool, with different texts appearing next to people on screen, but did remind me of the Bedazzled remake with Liz Hurley. After the funny start movie slows down a bit to introduce the main characters and Buck's show. On the road Troy soon discovers that Buck has a better image of himself than anyone around him and so he plays half empty theaters in the middle of nowhere as if they were packed houses in a big city. But then they get to Cincinnati and everything changes.

The Great Buck Howard is a very entertaining movie. Even though it is labeled as a Comedy, the human drama and interaction is more important and laugh-out loud moments are rare. The ending is a bit abrupt, because even the story of Buck Howard is well rounded, many questions are left unanswered regarding the fate of Troy Gabel. This and the fact that the movie dragged a bit in places lead to me rating this movie 4/5.

We didn't get to see the end credits, because as soon as the movie was over the light came on and we were handed a feedback form, which wanted our detailed impression on the movie. After completing the form most people could leave the cinema. We were asked to remain behind for a more in-depth feedback round. During the next 20 minutes we discussed the movie and its implications. At the end of the session we were again presented with the six posters we already saw at the beginning. Interestingly, the poster we initially selected was no longer our favorite, instead we picked another one which we thought more fitting to the movie.

All in all it was a very interesting evening and I was glad I took the chance to see this movie (and this pre-screening process) :)

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