As a movie lover living in flyover country, three things keep me from watching every movie that comes out: time, money and opportunity. The first two limit how many I can afford to see, while the last limits what I can see, since not every movie plays in my neck of the woods. Faced with these limitations, I'm forever prioritizing: can I wait and watch it later on DVD or cable? Or is the film crying out to be seen right now on the big screen?

As I noted in my weekly Indie Weekend Box Office report, both Black Irish and Music Within opened last weekend and struggled to find audiences. Both appear to be relying chiefly on reviews and word-of-mouth rather than expensive advertising campaigns. Black Irish revolves around a sterling, thoroughly engaging performance by Michael Angarano as a high schooler in Boston coming to grips with his family and his future; the script and direction by Brad Gann is solid and features a few surprising, gentle twists. Music Within stars Ron Livingston as Richard Pimental, a real-life character who didn't find a direction in life until he lost his hearing during the Vietnam War. Ultimately he became a remarkably effective activist for the disabled.

I don't mean to damn the the films with faint praise -- I've seen and enjoyed both to varying degrees -- yet I'm not positive that they demand to be seen in a theater. They're small scale dramas with a degree of humor that would, most likely, play just as effectively on a small screen. If you have an affinity for the subject matter or like the actors, though, by all means seek them out. (Check the official sites for Black Irishand Music Withinfor more information.) As always, prioritize according to your own criteria.
categories Features, Cinematical