Sunday, February 28, 2016

AMC Best Picture Showcase 2016 - Day 2

One week later and it was time for the second day of AMC's Best Picture Showcase. If you haven't already done so, read about the first day here.

My journey to The City had an interesting beginning. Recently, BART has rolled out some prototype cars to accommodate more passengers. During peak commute hours, BART trains have been overcrowded. These Test Cars have fewer seats so that one can squeeze in more standing room passengers. When I saw that one of the cars in my train to The City was a test car, I knew that I had to give it a shot.

BART Test Car
BART Test Car

Most BART cars have 2x2 seating; the test car has 2x1. With fewer seats, the aisle is over twice as wide as before. This allows the car to hold a significant number of extra passengers and should ease feelings of claustrophobia. I think it's worth the loss of seats.

Once in The City, I took a slightly different walking route to the theater. During my walk, I came across a construction wall mural.

Construction Wall Mural
Construction Wall on 600 Block of O'Farrell

From checking Google Street View, the wall went up sometime in 2013. The mural was added between October 2013 and February 2014. I'm surprised it's been up this long.

Once at the theater, I was given my lanyard for the second day's films, picked up some popcorn and soda, and settled into my seat.

Me and My Pass - Day Two
All set for more movies


This was a nice film about a young woman's transformation from being Irish to becoming American. It's something I would watch on a rainy day at home. Is it one of the best pictures of the year? Absolutely not. This is the film that the #OscarsSoWhite folks should be pointing at as an example.


I found myself thoroughly engaged in the story even though I knew how it would end. It was a great showcase of how investigative reporters are given an assignment and then work their butts off to see it through. What further impressed me was how close the filmmakers stuck with the story. Unlike some of the other nominees based upon real events, this had no contrived dramatic situations. I wouldn't be surprised if this wins Best Picture.

 The Martian

I was looking forward to seeing "The Martian." I'm sure folks are surprised that I had not already seen it, since science fiction is my favorite genre. Reading everyone's reactions to it gave me high expectations. I was very pleased that it delivered. I enjoyed it completely. While I would be very surprised if it won Best Picture, it was my favorite of all of the nominees.

As with the first day, we had a longer break before the last film of the day. As I had written in the post for the first day, I decided to have dinner at the brick-and-morter location for The Chairman.

The Chairman
Interior of The Chairman (at 670 Larkin)

I've been to their food truck a few times. The restaurant has the same offerings: pork buns, rice/veggie/noodle bowls, and other appetizers. I had a Chairman Rice bowl with Coca-Cola Braised Pork. The bowl included the selected meat along with pickled vegetables and sauce on top of the Chairman Rice (a mixture of black beans and wild rice.) It was filling and hit the spot.

I got back to the theater in time for trivia. This time I chose to play, and I won! I was asked, "In what countries was 'The Revenant' filmed?" I correctly answered "The U.S., Canada, and Argentina." After trivia, it was time for the last film.

I won!
My prize (actually there are two passes)

The Revenant

This was another film I was looking forward to watching. Unfortunately for me, it did not live up to all of the hype its received. I enjoyed the movie, but once it got going, I had a strong feeling about how the film would end and it took quite a while to get there. Make no mistake, I think this film will deservedly rack up a lot of awards, it just wasn't as good as it was hyped.

All in all, I enjoyed all of the Best Picture nominees. I got to watch 8 good films for a total of $65. I had $5 of concession credit each day which went towards soda and popcorn.  I won two free passes. If I have the opportunity to do this next year, I will.

One bonus... While walking back to BART, I was rewarded with a view of a lovely neon sign.

Nite Cap Neon
Nite Cap neon (Corner of O'Farrell and Hyde)

Thanks for reading.

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