I have precious little patience for movies in my own home. I assume it’s my Millenial-adled mind that sees far too many distractions and can’t allow me to sit still long enough to pay that much attention, but I’m just really bad at it. Oddly, the more people that are involved, the better I get (by myself? I NEVER watch movies at home? Just me and my wife? It’s 50/50. Multiple friends around? I will watch the hell out of a film!). But you know what I LOVE? Going to the movies! I know it’s a bit archaic and inconvenient, but I have a love for going to the theater for a big new release. It feels “special” to me. Also, now I have MoviePass! What a boon to my lifestyle that is!
So here we are, talking the cinema. There’s no real agenda to this post; this is just my ode to one of my favorite things to do.
In 2008, I made the only New Year’s Resolution I ever kept, and that was to see 26 movies in theater over the course of the year (if that’s an odd number to choose, I picked it because I wanted to average one movie every other week). Oh, and they had to be separate flicks; if I saw the same movie twice, it did not increase my count. It was… an odd resolution, I suppose, in that it did not improve me as a person in any way, but it WAS difficult work and something I forced myself to adhere to for a full 52 weeks. So… there’s that? Stick-to-it-iveness, I guess. I even kept a list of what I saw over the course of 2008, and here is my accomplishment, in its entirety:
I Am Legend
Meet the Spartans
Be Kind Rewind
The Bank Job
The Forbidden Kingdom
Even though I don’t even remember some of those (Eagle Eye, Nobel Son, Smart People), 2008 was generally a pretty good year for movies, right? Check out that list. I Am Legend. Tropic Thunder. Iron Man. Dark Knight. Those are some absolutely great movies there. Unfortunately… there were some major clunkers, too. And at least one still stands as one of the absolute worst things I’ve ever seen.
Heh. God, that movie was bad. Sometimes it is late spring and no good movies have come out, and you see something just to keep the total up, I guess. There was a Jessica Alba horror flick I passed up to see that… I think it was call The Eye? Couldn’t have been much worse.
Funny story, too. I was single for the entirety of 2008, so a fair portion of those movies I saw solo. Not most of them, no. For a few, I had dates, and many of the comic book ones I saw with my dad, but a good chunk of them–maybe 15-20%–I saw by myself.
I actually have a dream of being the ONLY person in a movie theater. It’s never happened, but I’ve come close on a few occasions. I don’t even know why I want this, but the notion has always kind of tickled me; like I would be having my own private showing. Now, for transparency’s sake, I’ve been with a friend or on a date where the two of us were the only people in a theater (the crappy independent film Mumford starring Jason Lee and Ted Danson, I think, springs to mind). And I’ve been by myself only to have another person or group of people come in right as the movie was starting (Twice off the top of my head, and one was that awful Meet The Spartans again. The other was the original The Pokemon Movie). But a viewing with just me without even a compatriot of my own? It hasn’t happened yet. I have Fridays offs… I really should make it to the movies more often and keep chasing that elusive goal. I’ll have to get it eventually.
The other thing I yearn for are awkward movie experiences. I love those more than anything, too. I live for the “let me tell you what happened when I was at the movies” experience. Case in point? My favorite story ever. I went with my dad to see Ghost Rider.
When we got to the theater, we walked in right at the same time as this other group; they were a mother and her two teenage children, one of which was a son who was… hmm… let’s just say “delightfully socially awkward”. The son politely held the door for us, so we walked in first and picked our seat. With the entire stadium seating arrangement to choose from, this family elects to sit… directly behind us. So that’s weird, but okay. Everyone likes to be central, I feel that.
This kid in this family is a gem, though. He spends the entire movie either trying to kick my arms off of my arm rests so he can put his feet there, reciting dialogue back to the screen, or answering the movie’s rhetorical questions (such as responding “No!” when a character asks Nicholas Cage if he wants to give up his Ghost Rider powers). But the moment that sold this experience is when he sneezed. Now, it was a simple sneeze–the story doesn’t result in my being sneezed on, thankfully–but following it, a person in the back of the theater had the misfortune of saying “God bless you” (which… also is weird. Who does that during a movie to a stranger?).
And this kid also didn’t understand who would do that because HE LOST IT.
He JUMPED UP in his seat and yelled–YELLED–“WHO SAID THAT?!” His mom said “They just said bless you!”, but he was not friggin’ having it. “NO, WHO SAID THAT?!” I died a little in my seat and missed a solid ten minutes of Nick Cage chewing scenery and awkwardly pointing at his foes because I was trying desperately to contain my fit of giggles. I just collapsed into a ball in my seat trying to stop from, and I’m not kidding, guffawing. I would have guffawed. God knows what that kid would have thought of that.
That kid really hated being told “bless you” for his sneeze.
What else? Oh, I saw a really crappy flick about male witches called… I don’t remember, but it was bad. Maybe The Covenant? Or maybe not, it was bad and I don’t care. But the most memorable part of this was the guy who sat right next to me and ATE AN APPLE for the entire beginning of a movie. I mean… who eats an apple in the movie theater? Or in public at all? The entire movie might as well have been called “CRUNCH CRUNCH CHEW CHEW CHEW” for all I knew. That apple was the most important thing that guy had going on that day.
During Paranormal Activity 2 my wife and I had the pleasure of sitting in front of people (I am apparently never BEHIND the weirdos) who were having the most mundane movie narration I could imagine. It was less “talking over the film” and more “Describing every detail of what is going on, regardless of how unimportant”. When one of the characters began making tea, their dialogue was, and this is 100% for real: “Now she’s in the kitchen again. Why is she getting that weird pot? Hey, she’s putting water in the pot. What is she filling up that pot for? She’s putting it on the stove–oh! She’s making tea. She’s making tea now”. It was at this point, that my wife did a slllooooww head-turn-around without moving her shoulders at all–like Linda Blair in The Exorcist or something–so she could look at them and judge them wordlessly, and then she equally slowly turned back to face the movie at the same slow, possessed pace. Not only did the family cease their running narrative of the film’s rising action, but they left the theater for good maybe 10 minutes later. Maybe movies are less fun if you don’t get to practice calling out every action you see?
Sometimes you make the moment yourself, like when I jumped up during Bride of Chucky to yell “John Ritter, fight back!”. But man… I was hoping John Ritter would have kicked Chucky’s ass. Why did I see that movie, anyway? It wasn’t to see John Ritter job to a stupid doll that’s for sure!
So yeah, it’s not just the dynamic sound and huge screen and joy of sharing the movie experience with total strangers… I dig the whole cinematic experience. But I’m still pretty good at it. It’s early still in June, and I’ve seen twelve movies in theater so far. So I’m not exactly on my 26-in-a-year pace, but I think I can close that gap…