We’re doing it! We’re actually doing it!

Also, you may have noticed that one of us isn’t there any more. If you look to your right (stage left), you’ll see that Nancy is now wearing an “INACTIVE” mask.

Let’s talk about it.

It’s pretty simple, really. The rules, as stated at the very beginning, were that 1) you have to watch your movie once a week, and 2) you have to post a Viewing entry each time. That’s it: Cinema 52 in a nutshell.

A Cinemanaut is many things: writer, comedian, critic, exceptional lover… but the most important of these is “scientist.” When we began, I stated clearly that this was an experiment, and when it comes to science, you can’t slap an asterisk on it and write “we followed most of the conditions of the experiment.” This is Cinema 52. Watch weekly… not mostly weekly. The example I gave was: “If one us gets in a car accident, it had better be on a Sunday.” And if one of us was in a spot like that, you’d better believe we’d come together and smuggle a DVD into the hospital.

Nancy was not in a hospital. Nancy was at her home in Massachusetts on May 19th. A Saturday, the last possible day to watch. She texted me that her DVD of Spider-Man 3 just wouldn’t play on her parents’ DVD player. Nobody in Massachusetts was willing to give her a ride to the nearest video rental place. She did not have any way to download a digital copy. I told her it was up to her how badly she wanted to stay in the experiment, but if she missed it, she would be out.

And now, a segment I call God Kicks Us in the Metaphorical Dick.

I was busy at work in Portland, ME, Cinema 52’s primary base of operations. Nancy had been sending me texts all evening about what she could possibly do, but around 8 o’clock, she said that she was going out with friends. I assumed this was an official declaration; Nancy’s strain of cinema had been contaminated. It was time to freeze it and study what we’d learned so far.

Then, I walked through the break room.

Spider-Man 3 was playing on ABC.

This is the part of Cinema 52: The Movie where I run frantically to a phone and tell Nancy, “Hurry, hurry! You’ve still got a chance! We’re not going down without a fight!” But no, I couldn’t get a hold of her. And, let’s face it, would you count a TV edit, anyway?

Still, when I first spotted Tobey Maguire on that screen, I felt the uneasy push of Yahweh’s boot heel against my frightened penis. Metaphorically. God was just showing off at this point.

While Nancy was out of town, I went through her stuff. Calm down… she lives with Cinemanaut John. But after the whole incident (she apparently got my messages too late and couldn’t find the entire movie on YouTube), I saw her copy of Spider-Man 3 on Blu-Ray in her living room. And then it hit me.

“No, Nancy,” I was telling myself. “You didn’t…”

I opened the case. There inside was the DVD.

Which meant there was a DVD player in Massachusetts with a Blu-Ray in it.

Not much, really. It was a lesson to all of us. Don’t mix formats. Don’t wait until the last day. Don’t forget to plan for trips.

Nancy told me a month later that she was done with the project completely. No more posts, no end-of-the-year analysis, no updates on how good it feels to not have to deal with emo Peter Parker any more.

Nancy, you’ll be missed. Your wine-soaked lamentations and hopeful attempts to get into the Spider-Groove were a key part of the Cinema 52 experience. We wish you all the best with that other blog about Portland pizza. Perhaps Uncle Ben’s timeless words can comfort and inspire you as you continue on your way in this life:

“And the Lord said, ‘Let there be light.’ And voilà! There is light. Forty soft, glowing watts of it.”

 Godspeed, Nancy.

“Wait!” you may be saying. “What’s going to happen for next year’s experiment that I wasn’t even sure was a thing? Just three lab rats? It’ll never work! Nancy was our last hope…”

No. There is another…