A Survival Guide to the Worst Weekend of the Year

The Atlantic Wire

This just might be the worst movie weekend of the year. It being Friday, we'd normally have a movie review or two up for you to read, but the already reviled Movie 43 didn't screen for critics, and we just couldn't bring ourselves to slouch over to Parker or Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Those are the three major offerings debuting today, sending us glumly into a bleak weekend. But don't despair! There's plenty else you can do to entertain yourself between now and the next time you work, so let's take a look at some of your options.

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Catch up on awards movies. Do you have annoying friends who have been constantly nattering on about Zero Dark this and Amour that since basically the summer ended? You know, those awards show-obsessed people who print out ballots and have viewing parties with themed food ("Life of Pineapple Upside-Down Cake," etc.) and have seemingly seen everything and you have no idea where they find the time? Well, maybe this weekend you can find the time. So you won't feel so left out for the next month, you could go see a big Oscar movie or two. Invest the three hours in the eyeball-itching Zero Dark Thirty, suffer through the grim beauty of Amour. Hell, go see Les Misérables! Or find one of those cheaper second-run theaters that's still playing Argo or even Beasts of the Southern Wild. (Which might actually be on demand? Worth looking into. To that end, here is a list of how to see every Oscar-nominated film. If you can't figure it out with that, then you're hopeless.) That way you'll at least have some idea of just what the hell your awful friends are talking about when they scream things at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night.

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Oh, right, watch the SAGs! Sure they're alllll the way at the end of the weekend, but that just means they[re something to look forward to while you stare at the wall. The SAGs are short and sweet; they only award actors, obviously, so the whole thing is done in two hours. The awards don't really mean much on their own, so most of the speeches are breezy and amusing, but they can also function as a good indicator of what's likely to win at the big Oscar dance next month. (Especially the Best Cast trophy at the end.) Sure Sunday night is a busy television night (if you watch Girls and Shameless, that is), but the SAGs (at 8 p.m. on TNT) could be a fun diversion from the usual, so relegate the other stuff to your DVR. Sorry, Downton.

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Celebrate the classics. It's Virginia Woolf's birthday today and Meryl Streep isn't nominated for a SAG or an Oscar this year. Those two things might not have much in common, unless you consider The Hours, the movie adaptation of Michael Cunningham's novel that's all about Virginia Woolf and which stars Meryl Streep. OK, so, Streep doesn't play Woolf, but she does play a modern-day Mrs. Dalloway, so it counts. Again, folks, worst weekend of the year. We're gonna have to be creative here.

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Start saying goodbye to 30 Rock. While you're on Netflix, next week is the series finale of Tina Fey's beloved sitcom, so maybe you could hole yourself up in bed or on the couch and watch as many 30 Rock episodes as you can? They're all on there. Pretend you're Liz Lemon as you order some cheese delivered to the house, wrap yourself in an off-brand Slanket, and fill it with your farts. Goodbye, 30 Rock!

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Catch up on football. If all this fruity movie stuff isn't to your liking, or it is but you want a change of pace anyway, why not take a second to consider that next Sunday is the big Super Bowl football match and try to prepare yourself for that? Maybe you have another group of jerk friends who are as crazy about football as those other dweebs are about the Oscars. You won't want to be the only chump watching the big game next week who doesn't have a favorite team. So, watch these quick catchup videos, about the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens (those are the two teams playing, dummy), and maybe that will help. They're not very long, so you'll need to do some other reading. Maybe start with this piece about Joe Flacco, and, I dunno, read this piece about the 49ers QB situation? There's a wealth of sports writing out there! Go find it and educate yourself. Obviously you're mostly going to that Super Bowl party for an excuse to drink lots of beer on a Sunday and to eat fried cheeze-ums with nacho dipping sauce, but you might actually enjoy the game more than usual if you know a little about it. You've got just over a week. Get cracking.

Read some more. I know you've already got your homemade football digest to look at, but maybe you could also do some other reading? If you haven't read it yet, The Atlantic's cover story on the inscrutability of America's giant banks is pretty terrifying. And this week's New Yorker has articles about Hugo Chavez and the failure of Caracas and an Ezra Klein piece about filibuster reform. Exciting! Those are behind the paywall, though, so maybe a piece on a man who buys dinosaur bones will have to do. And there's always Longreads. Or, like, a book? Maybe The Insurgents, the new one about David Petraeus and Iraq? The new George Saunders perhaps? That's supposed to be pretty good, even though it's just short stories. Or you could finally read Pride & Prejudice like you were supposed to back in the tenth grade but obviously didn't. It's good! But don't take our word for it.

Or go outside or something. Though, do so at your own peril. It's cold out there.

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