Nate Parker and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Beyond the LightsFriday, November 14, 10:45 a.m.-ish: I'm beginning the day with writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood's Beyond the Lights, a romantic melodrama about a troubled, Rihanna-like pop star, and it opens with its central character, as a little girl, getting reprimanded by her awful stage mother for the heinous crime of being first-runner-up in a talent show. Nearly two hours later, with the now-grown chanteuse overcoming her demons and finally scoring her long-awaited personal and professional triumphs, everything the prelude led me to expect from the movie has come to pass, but with one major exception: I'm grinning like mad and wiping away tears. How the hell did that happen?!

Kevin Costner in 3000 Miles to GracelandI remember a time, not so long ago, when I actually looked forward to movie trailers. Getting the chance to see what certain performers and directors had coming up next; witnessing the artfulness of the preview itself, which has to build anticipation with three minutes of footage; experiencing that happy rush when an entire audience simultaneously reacts to a trailer with a feeling of "I can't wait to see that"? I ate it all up.