Monday Morning Questions: What do You Want to Ask Me the Week I Go on Vacation?

Happy Monday! I had such an exciting weekend! Migraine, plus we went to the dog park for the first time, and I did 4 loads of laundry and packed for my vacation. Oh, and bought blue jeans! But mostly, dog park! So exciting!

As always, you can ask me anything from the personal (“did Albie Dog like the park?”) to the specific and factual (“what is the story of Holi?”) to the general discussion (“what is the best Holi movie?”)

He did really like the dog park. And then he came home and went to sleep, so much excitement!

Now, question for you! Which I already used on Saturday, but I’m reusing because it is VERY IMPORTANT: What movies should I download for the flight?

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24 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions: What do You Want to Ask Me the Week I Go on Vacation?

  1. I’m a kid-at-heart sucker for good animation. The Little Prince will make you feel good all over, even if you hit an air pocket.

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  2. I suggest Crazy Rich Asians! It’s fun, breezy, and very “Bollywood”.

    Question – did you see the new Kalank song? Why is Madhuri not dancing?!?!?

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    • I did not see the new Kalank song and I have no idea why Madhuri is not dancing! That seems horrible. I will have to watch it and put up a post.

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    • Good idea! It’s also the kind of movie where I kind of need to focus, so being on an airplane might be good.

      On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 9:03 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Are you into Studio Ghibli at all? Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service or Whisper of the Heart are all nice movies. The first two involve flying in fun and different ways, and the third is just a lovely, quiet love story.

    What kind of place are you going to for vacation? Is this one of your “travel for 2 days in inconvenient ways for one or two days of relaxation before travelling inconveniently again” trips?

    Why oh why does Shah Rukh do all these Dubai promotions? I know why: filthy lucre. I heard that Frooti has dropped him and has signed Alia and Varun. But that sweet, sweet UAE money will likely flow as long as he wants it to. I hope he’s at least using some of it to help the South Asian indentured laborers who build and maintain Dubai. But that won’t wash all the blood off his hands. It’s a good reminder that our heroes are just human in the end.

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    • He is using it that way, I think he funded a hospital in Dubai at some point. And I know he and Gauri are building a lower income housing development. So you can rest easy! Well, easier. The middle east guest worker thing is complicated, the Malayalam industry has done a lot of really deep films considering it, but they don’t really assign “blame” or propose solutions, mostly they just land on “this is really sad and difficult”. From the Indian side of it, there is also the complication that folks in India are encouraging their relatives to go, actively hoping for them to go, because the money sent home is so needed. If you want to see more on it, there is the movie Jacobinte Swarigam, Pathemari (which goes into the whole history of it from the 1960s beginning), and Take Off which looks at why nurses in particular are such a common “export”.

      I watched My Neighbor Totoro when I was a kid and loved it, but that is as much Studio Ghibli as I have seen, mostly because it is too good! My Neighbor Totoro is pretty much the lightest movie they made, and even that was almost too scary and emotional for me. I’m torn between watching them on a flight so I can feel like I am escaping into another world completely and the trip will just fly by, and not watching them because I will end up sobbing embarrassingly in front of strangers in the seat next to me.

      This is my “winter in Chicago is killing me, I have to go somewhere warm” trip, which usually involves planes and busses and trains and things since I would rather take more time traveling than spend more money. Only it’s very different this year, because I’m visiting someone. I sent an email to a friend who moved to California this summer saying “hey, I’m planning a trip somewhere sunny, if I end up near you, want to get together?” and she responded saying that I should just stay with them. So it’s all around cheerful, I get to go somewhere warm and sunny (although the weather actually says rainy there right now), plus I get to feel all warm and loved and wanted by my friend, and I get to spend 4 days hanging out with her and her very nice husband. And all I have to do is fly out and then get picked up at the airport.

      On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 9:28 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • The trip sounds wonderful. Yay! I know the inconvenient travelling is to save money, but it’s still fun to tease you about.

        Thanks for the resources to learn more about the South Asian labor issues in UAE. I clearly have strong feelings about and so should learn more from the perspective of those affected by the issues.

        I deliberately recommended light Studio Ghibli ones. Each still has poignant moments, but overall are more funny and happy than sad. Kiki starts with a sad event but that’s just to set her on her journey, Whisper is poignant and generally low key, not many laugh out loud moments. Castle in the Sky is probably the lightest and funniest. Some of them are killers for sure. Haven’t worked up the guts for Spirited Away yet.

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        • I do love my ridiculous trips, 10 hours traveling very very slowly and reading a whole bunch of books. But being picked up at the airport is nice too.

          This is why I love Indian movies, because they give you the emotional perspective on an issue. Terrible sources for facts, or even a larger overview of events, but great resources for drawing you in and making you feel what people feel about things. I sometimes find myself talking with great authority on stuff like arranged marriages and then I realize that it’s just because the movies made me feel like I experienced that, even though I haven’t.

          And thank you for giving me light Ghibli options! If you look at their top ten lists or whatever, it tends to be the heavier stuff, and I definitely don’t want that.

          On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 10:05 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • For what it’s worth, I’d been avoiding Spirited Away too and it is very sweet and definitely OK to watch. Sad but with a through line of hope in humanity against all odds as Miyazaki does. And maybe the realism is kind of protective? It didn’t get past my usual defenses the way some of his dreamlike stuff can and does.

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  4. I have a question about box office calculations. (Forgive me if you’ve already answered this somewhere. If so, I’ve missed it and you can direct me there.) I understand the idea of looking at how much per screen a movie does, but how do you account for different size theaters? For example, I noticed that, in it’s second week, Badla was moved to a bigger theater at the multiplex in Times Square where it’s showing. Or take Gully Boy, showing in the same multiplex, which was moved from a smaller theater to a larger one from week 1 to week 2, while Total Dhamaal, which opened the same day, was switched to a smaller theater in week 2. I know they aren’t all sold out shows all the time, but surely Gully Boy was earning more per screen in week 2 than in week 1 at that theater (that particular movie was selling out a lot of shows both weeks).

    And here’s wishing you an enjoyable vacation!

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    • What a wonderful question! Thank you!

      The largest possible theater would probably still top out at $10,000 per screen if it is sold out. So if Badla is making $5,000, that means it is about 4/5ths full in small theaters, or 2/3rds full of the larger theaters. Moving to the larger theater, or down to the smaller one, is I think more about making the experience pleasant for the customers usually than actually having more tickets to sell. So you think “oh, let’s go back to that theater where we saw Badla, the screen was so big and clear, we were able to sit in the center of the row, and there was plenty of space to spread out and put our popcorn on a chair in between us”. Versus thinking “Oh, that Badla theater wasn’t great, I had to twist my neck to see the screen, and we didn’t get snacks because we were trapped in the middle of the row, and we were squeezed in with people all around us” and so on.

      Where this really comes into effect is those new recliner style theaters. They have been sold out almost every time I’ve been in one of them, and that is still just like $4,000 per screen because there are so few seats, and the tickets are the same price as in a regular theater. Theaters are assuming they will never be able to sell more than $4,000 worth of tickets, so they might as well make sure the experience is super pleasant and snack-friendly. I don’t think that effected Badla (just looking at where it was playing near me, it was mostly in regular theaters), but I bet it had a big effect on Thugs of Hindostan. It was selling itself as this event luxury kind of experience and ended up playing in those luxury kind of theaters. If it had been the hit they were hoping, then even weekday matinees would have sold out, people would have been willing to pay for the expensive 3D tickets, and it could have made its money back. But instead people were only interested at a “most convenient evening show for the cheapest price” kind of way, and those tickets sold out way WAY too fast because they were at the theaters with fewer seats. I saw this myself, there were a few friends interested in going, but we couldn’t get a block of tickets at a time and price that worked, and no one was willing to pay more or go at a different time, so we skipped the whole thing. If it had been playing in a regular theater at regular prices with a regular number of seats, we would have gone.

      On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 9:55 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Thank you for this helpful answer. In the case of the amc in Times Square, which has 25 theaters, none of them has those recliner seats, so I haven’t seen (there) the phenomenon you describe. But it makes sense.

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    • Ignoring all political news for my own peace of mind/keeping this blog as a happy escape place.

      And writing Kalank post now!

      On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 10:20 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Fun question, thank you! I generally don’t really like travel, I just tend to get stressed out by the logistics of it (will I miss this flight, will the hotel lose my reservation, like that). My favorite kind of trip is a very relaxed and underscheduled one, so it’s not so much about the destination as it is the whole travel experience that makes me have a good time.

      With that in mind, I think my two favorite vacation places are Washington DC, and Prince Edward Island. When I was growing up we had a friend who had a house in Washington, we drove out a couple of times and stayed with her and toured the city and it was wonderful. The public transit was great, there were loads of museums to see (we did three trips and still didn’t run out of museums), and it was all super relaxed because we got to go back to a nice cozy house at the end of the day. And then Prince Edward Island was where the Anne of Green Gables books were set, which is the main reason I wanted to go there. It is just a beautiful place, and a very relaxed vacation, easy to drive around and lots of very pleasant little places to stop. Plus, it has the Potato Museum! And I love Potatos.

      There isn’t really any country I particularly want to visit, although I feel like I should go to Germany some day since it is where my family is from.

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  5. Alia Bhatt – Salman new movie has just been announced – InshaAllah. How many movies is she in currently?? Is there really no one else?

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    • Well, from what I can see there is no indication that it is a romance between them, and Salman and Sanjay are maybe also confirmed. So I am going to go ahead and have hope that Alia has a small role as someone’s daughter or something.

      On Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 12:51 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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