The Literary Horizon: A Year at the Movies

A Year at the Movies by Kevin Murphy

For some of us, moviegoing is an occasional pleasure. Kevin Murphy made it his obsession, and he did it for you.

Mr. Murphy, known to legions of fans as Tom Servo on the legendary TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, went to the movies every day for a year. That’s every single day,people. For a whole fricken’ year. And not only did he endure, he prevailed — for this is the hilarious, poignant, fascinating journal of his adventures: the first book about the movies from the audience’s point of view.

Kevin went to the multiplex, sure. But he didn’t stop there. He found the world’s smallest commercial movie theater. Another one made completely of ice. Checked out flicks in a tin-roofed hut in the South Pacific. Tooled across the desert from drive-in to drive-in in a groovy convertible. Lived for a week solely on theater food. Took six different women to the same date movie. Dressed up as a nun for the Sing-Along Sound of Music in London. Sneaked into the Cannes and Sundance film festivals. Smuggled an entire Thanksgiving dinner into a movie theater. And saw hundreds of films, from the Arctic Circle to the Equator, from the sublime to the unspeakable. Come along on a joyous global celebration of the cinema with a man on a mission — to spend A Year at the Movies.

via Amazon

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I am a huge Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan, so this is really a no-brainer. I’m also kind of a fool for pop culture detritus—I found the movie book for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in a used bookstore in Macon the week before last, and I had to stop myself from buying it simply for how silly and retro it is. It’s a decade on from Murphy’s year at the movies, and I think I’ll have a grand time.

Collin Souter, writing for eFilmCritic, quite enjoyed it. Christian Sauvé, despite his differing opinions with Murphy, liked it, although he notes the first couple of chapters can be rough. Tasha Robinson, writing for the A.V. Club, liked it, although she found it occasionally repetitive and could skip over the actual films every once in a while. Daniel Roos, writing for Snark, Critic, and Pop!, also enjoyed it, noting that MST3K fans should love it.

A Year at the Movies was published on September 1, 2002.

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