My unsolicited opinion: Charlie Wilson’s War is a pretty damn good movie. After loving the book, Shannon and a friend convinced me to give it (the book) a try, and I thought it was a fine read; a few months ago, we were both pretty excited to see a preview for the movie, not having had any clue that the project was in the works. We had the usual fear that translating a 560-page book into a 90-minute film wouldn’t go so well, but all things said, Aaron Sorkin did a really good job, and tonight we all left the movie satisfied.

OK, I’m not sure what crack Reihan Salam is smoking; Fletch was an awesome movie. I mean, just the scene with George Wyner (playing Fletch’s ex-wife’s divorce attorney) is comedy gold…

Peter Rainer, the film critic at (of all places) the Christian Science Monitor, penned a great piece about the trend towards people treating movie theaters like their living rooms. (Thanks, Rebecca!) Of course, this isn’t as recent a trend as Rainer would have you believe; Anil wrote about it (and made lemonade out of the lemons) nearly four years ago. I certainly see Anil’s point… but I’m also irritated to all hell when the person behind me decides to answer the phone and begin an entire description of his day.

Shannon and I drove down to southern New Jersey last night from Boston — now that we’re married, we’ve started with the Official Splitting Of The Holidays lifestyle, and since Thanksgiving was with my family, Christmas is with hers. We got in around midnight, and settled into the living room with her parents only to discover that they were watching Jason X, a flick that turns out to be a serious contender for the title of Worst Movie Ever. For those who aren’t unfortunate enough to have been afflicted with Jason X before, let me give you the short version. (Warning: if you actually care about having the plot of this turd of a movie ruined for you, don’t read the following paragraph.)

Jason Voorhees — the man behind the hockey mask who terrorized summer campers throughout the early 80s, and was finally killed only to be dug up and reanimated as a zombie by a bolt of lightning — is cryogenically frozen by the government as punishment for his murderous crimes. In the year 2455, a group of students stumble upon his frozen corpse, take it on an interplanetary space ride with them, and decide to thaw it. Of course, this sets the stage for death and mayhem in space, and ultimately lead to a showdown between Jason and an android who has been transformed by one of the teens into a terminatress (but only after he first transformed her into his sex toy). She blows Jason’s leg off, then his arm, and ultimately his head… but nanotechnology on the spaceship rebuilds Jason into an indestructible killing cyborg. After a few tension-filled scenes of barely-clad teenagers running in fear from the slowly-walking, machete-wielding cyborg, the students are rescued by another ship. (In the course of events, the terminatress android gets decapitated, and her student-cum-lover spends the rest of the movie cradling her still-talking head in his arms and stroking her hair. Really.) As things happen, though, one unfortunate schmuck is left floating in outer space and wrestling with Jason, and manages to force him to reenter Earth’s atmosphere and burn up. The movie ends with a teenage couple’s makeout session getting interrupted by “a shooting star,” and them deciding to investigate as the viewer sees a clip of Jason’s now-metallic mask sinking to the bottom of a lake… setting the scene for another installment of this painful series of movies.

Honestly, I wish I was making any of this up. I’d imagine that Jason X is the kind of movie that makes aspiring L.A. screenwriters pissed that they can’t get their scripts read.

So why do the studios do it? Why do they hassle voters, piss off filmmakers, and risk losing awards (and the financial rewards thereof), just to prevent piracy in a group that isn’t likely to pirate in the first place? It’s because breaking international piracy rings is hard, and stopping individuals from swapping MPEG files on the Internet is impossible. But hassling people who love movies—be we awards show voters or just ordinary moviegoers—is easy, because they know where to find us. In short, the studios are looking for their keys where the light is best, even if it’s miles away from where they dropped them.

Jacob Weinstein has an interesting post about the screener DVDs that the studios send out to people who vote on movie awards.