A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey is a great piece of work for anyone who is either a fan of film, a fan of Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo from Mystery Science Theater 3000) or both.
I have read books by other MST3K alumni. This one is very different. While Frank Conniff talked about films from the show and then got sidetracked telling funny stories and Mike Nelson spent his time riffing more modern movies, Kevin Murphy went on a year-long filmgoing adventure and chronicled it.
Murphy spent 52 weeks, 7 days per week, going to the movies. He didn’t just sit in the same theater everyday though. Murphy traveled the world, sought out unique film houses and even visited a couple film festivals to give his take on their politics and snobbery.
A Year at the Movies is one of the funniest and best books that I have ever read about film. Murphy proved that he is much more than a wisecracking guy under a table with his hand up a gumball machine’s ass.
Murphy’s desire to see his mission through was inspiring. His wit and charm throughout the journey was refreshing and entertaining. Sometimes he felt the need to rant about certain experiences and sometimes his passion and love for many of the things he encountered was fantastic to read.
The highlights for me were the tales about the uncommon types of theaters he discovered while travelling abroad. The tiny theater in Australia and the coral-walled theater in the South Pacific both made for great chapters in the book. If anything, I was inspired to travel and see some of these places for myself. Time to update the bucket list.
There aren’t a lot of really good humorous books on the film industry. This is one of them.
I kind of wish Kevin Murphy would write some more books now.