OBJECTIVE: Watch The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring once per every week of 2014.

WHEN: April 19, 2014, 9:14am. (Week 16, Apr 13-19.)

Hey, guess what? I’m gonna save the Where, the Format, and the Company for the end, because this was one of my biggest viewing disasters in the history of Cinema 52 and I don’t want to spoil the awfulness. But my PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: Unwilling to stay indoors to watch a three-hour movie when it’s finally sunny outside.

For those who don’t know, I live in Maine, and our most recent winter was absolute bullshit. If anything, curling up on the couch and drinking in the perpetually spring-like Shire week after week probably helped me through it. But now it’s gorgeous outside, and why watch nice weather when I could be surrounded by it? So, I decided to bring my laptop to a nearby park and watch The Fellowship of the Ring while basking in glorious sunshine.

Aww, lovely.

Pretty Shire-y, right? There’s even a bridge in the distance for Gandalf to roll his little cart across. How pleasant. So, let’s find us a bench…


…and settle in for a charming cinematic experience with a movie I loathe. Time to fire this baby up.

Uh, shit.

Okay, I’m noticing some problems right away. For starters, the fact that I can see myself more clearly than Cate Blanchett. Also, bright sunlight really brings out the finger smudges on a touchscreen. Well, this isn’t completely unsalvageable. Let’s turn up the brightness, wipe down the screen, and set it up in the shade of a tree.

Uh, still shit.

Alright, so I’ll need to huddle in close to block out the sunlight, put my notebook aside, and stuff my hands in my pockets, but if I do that, I can kinda sorta see well enough that this counts and I’m totally not starting over, because fuck.

Success kinda!

Alright, so how was it? Well, the picture sucked, obviously. My laptop’s sound is pretty good, so passersby got to enjoy some snippets of nonsense dialogue. The Shire was enhanced by my lovely surroundings, though the sound of cheery chirping birds took away from the more ominous scenes that followed. Oh, also, no joke, during the part where Frodo and pals hide from the Ringwraith, a guy in a black hoodie walked behind me and the tree I was sitting under. Neat-o. Plus, I spotted a fucking crow.

He’s the tiny black dot spying on me from a distance.

Well, I must say, this isn’t a terrible way to spend a morning with a film I’m utterly sick of. Plus, joggers look pretty epic when backed by Howard Shore. Looks like smooth sailing from here on–


Okay, this laptop claims to last 5 hours, but from a full charge, it gave me the 10% battery warning at approximately 1:45:00. My guess is they weren’t expecting the brightness to be cranked all the way up, but I figured I’d at least be able to go the length of Top Gun or Back to the Future before it kicked the bucket. Well, no time to write up a scathing review, I’ll have to synchronize the film with the copy on my iPhone and continue watching it there.

Unfortunately, my iPhone was on 15% battery.


What followed was a blur of hastily scribbled notes and zero photos, because time was tissue. While syncing my iPhone’s video player with the laptop, I got the 7% battery warning. Laptop’s time of death: 1:49:17 into Fellowship. I threw the laptop into my backpack and speed-walk-watched the movie back to my place on my phone. (Sadly, it was during quiet sitting time in the Mines of Moria, so I had no sweeping score to accompany me.) I burst through the door of my apartment shouting, “Cinemanaut emergency!” to Becca, collapsed onto my bed, scrambled for my charger, and plugged in the phone with 10% battery to spare.

So, you know, that happened. Here are those stats I promised.

WHERE: In a park near my apartment; speed-walking to my apartment; my apartment.

FORMAT: Digital download on a Sony VAIO Flip 15A; digital download on an iPhone 4S.

COMPANY: Joggers, children, a guy in a black hoodie, a fucking crow; people on the sidewalk; Ex-Cinemanaut Becca.

If Peter Jackson brightened up all the scenes in the dark.

Man, I’d make a great director of photography!