I miss seeing movies. As a child, I was the wierd one who stayed in the house on Saturday mornings watching back-to-back black and whites on the local TV stations, by the era of the big box office, I was compelled to see each blockbuster. Comedy, sci-fi, epics, anything with a decent story. Later, it became my business to see everything out there and my husband and I shared in the joy of Friday openings. But since becoming a mom, the precious hours when I’m not power-organizing other people’s lives, it’s either too difficult to schedule the two-hour slot on date night or I’m too exhausted during the week to get through a film queued on my DVR .

So I was bummed when faced with the choice for this coveted weekend’s flick. After a season dry of money-worthy films, there were two at the cineplex I was dying to see: 21 Jump Street; for pop-culture sentiment, my background in and love for a good comedy, and because I truly want Jonah Hill to have a huge win on his film (curses that my birthday weekend in New Orleans fell on his opening day), and Hunger Games; because I’m a sucker for any epic futuristic dystopian teenage drama. My husband and I (grudingly, because in my perfect world I would see them back-to-back), tossed a coin and saw Hunger Games.

As noted, it’s a daily race to the finish line to carve out a crumb of private time, so I’m particularly annoyed with the critics for giving Hunger Games such a blatant pass and high score on the adaptation of Suzanne Collin’s YA novel. And though I didn’t even read it, the gaping holes in story, conflict and character’s purpose were catastrophically aparent. It’s a challenge when conveying any literature to the screen, but it can be and has been, done right. And well, the writer and director really failed on this one.

Sure there were tearful moments and the acting was good — yay for Woody Harrelson, who rocked it, but in general, the desparation and passion were amiss. And I could waste my time critiquing Hunger Games but everyone else already has. Up until now, in my view, certain reviewers have retained a shred of dignity, but it seems we’ve lost those discerning few to the Hollywood machine.

The thing is, I not only expected Hunger Games to be good, I wanted to believe the hype. Unfortunately, I surmised, at the level everyone was freaking out over it, that I would, at least, have left the theater satisfied that the two hours and $25 spent was worth it, but it wasn’t. And I’m additionally irked that I didn’t give my time and money to Jonah Hill’s 5-year artistic achievement. Don’t worry Jonah, I promise to get there, but sadly now, not until after spring break. I pray you’re still in the theaters then.

Pam Alster, former stand-up comedienne, Lifetime TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her forthcoming debut novel Robin’s Blue. www.pamalster.com

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