Saturday, August 6, 2011

The People Were Clapping and Talking and There Was Popcorn and Chocolate

I want to talk a little bit about the movies, mostly because I'm on a caffeine jag and I just went to go see Cowboys and Aliens and feel like I should be doing something productive besides watching yet another Yankees and Red Sox game, reading literature intended for teenagers or even working.

I like going to the movies. Yes it's overpriced. It's insanely overpriced. A matinee is now $10, which kind of made me forget that they have matinee prices, until I recently went at night and realized it is in fact a buck cheaper to go during the daylight. I'm picky about when I go to the movies; I won't go opening night because I don't want to deal with every drunk asshole who just came from a Houlihan's and wants to crack up his dumb friends. I used to be that asshole (sans the Houlihan's part) and I wouldn't want to sit anywhere near him.  There's also kids or people who just don't get the movie and feel the need to ask questions out loud or senior citizens who get up to go to the bathroom fifteen times because soda goes right through them. There are a lot of pratfalls to seeing a freshly released movie. That's why I'll usually wait for a matinee a few weeks later or maybe a Monday evening.
Unless it's something that I simply refuse to wait for. The Dark Knight was a good example of this. I'm a grown boy who enjoys his Batman . I don't think I'm a fanboy. I don't know enough to be a fanboy. I've read some graphic novels but I don't know the complete canon of Batman, or Superman or X-men or anything really. I liked the Tim Burton Batman movies and I like the Joker. So the Nolan sequel demanded a Thursday at midnight trip there was no debate. Sir Blumes secured us Clifton tickets for myself and a surprisingly interested Mr. Howe. We arrived what I thought would be early but were already towards the middle of a few hundred people. I was worried we'd be neck crimping it in the front row, but we were lucky; the theater anticipated insane crowds and had 5 theaters armed with the film. We sat front and center.
They sat us an hour and a half before the lights went out. Hyper active and drunk the crowd was loud while we waited. Some goon was dressed in Joker makeup. Someone came in to do trivia with a bullhorn, t-shirts, popcorn and soda cups were tossed around, the kid in the Joker make-up wasn't the hit he thought he'd be. It was fun but I figured I'd miss half the movie.

Through all the bullshit soda commercials, previews of the Fall TV schedule and shitty August movies no one shut up, however once the credits came up for the film everyone shut up. We were all there for one reason. Aside from the occasional pop for things like the Joker pushing a guy's head through a pencil or the Batpod climbing a wall it was complete silence. People clapped at the end (which I still think is dumb). It was probably the best movie experience I had since going to see Back to the Future when I was like 7 because it was hot as hell out and raining and we went just to get in the air conditioning, and because, you know, it was Back to the Future and it was awesome.

Another example of an optimum movie experience would be the Happening. I had no desire to see it. None. Sir Christian Black prodded though. We'd seen every summer movie that opened up to that point and he told me that Lady in the Water  wasn't that bad. I didn't know. I kind of gave up on Shyamalan after The Village but I reluctantly agreed. About 15 minutes in, inside a practically empty early Friday afternoon theater in Garden State Plaza I looked across the row to Sir Christian and Mr. Howe:
"Are these people in the same movie? This is the worst dialogue ever."
"Yeah I have no idea what is going," Mr. Howe agreed.
The rest of the movie turned into the kind of Mystery Science Theater attempt I'd normally hate but on this rare occasion was severely deserved. (the scene where the survivors are knocking on the abandoned house but no one notices the shotgun slowly sliding out of the mail slot made me laugh so hard I think I had soda coming out of my eyes.).

There have been some genuinely horrible movie experiences too don't get me wrong; I'm convinced that I still don't like The Hangover that much because of the three meat-heads sitting behind me that said "yeah bro, we'd told do worse than this when we go to Vegas"  or sitting in the front row for Transformers 3 for 2 1/2 hours and wanting to stand up at the end and turn to the audience and yell "what the hell are you applauding for?"( To be fair though, after the first two I should have known what I was getting myself into). More amusing was the old guy, who probably was in World War II,  behind me during a matinee of Inglorious Basterds who kept saying "this is crazy" to his wife.

I don't care. I love going to the movies. I hate the price, I hate the fact that the smell of popcorn in the sterile air-conditioning is usually too much for me to resist even though it gives me heartburn almost instantly. I hate the dumb behind the scenes features on tv shows that will probably be canceled half way through the season. I hate the fact that I usually see coming attractions for something that I'd rather watch than what I came to see. But overall I like the idea of going somewhere to completely shut off for two hours or more.

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