Monday, April 18, 2005

As a general rule, I'm a tightly-wound guy. Usually, the only times I seem to be able to relax are is when I go to the movies. Movie theaters are my sole happy place. Because of this, I take great offense to the smallest invasion of my oh-so-rare relaxation.

First off: the theaters themselves. I just spent a bucket of money to get into your theater. You're going to show me a slew of commercials before the umpty-seven over-long trailers that give away the endings to movies I didn't want to see in the first place. So as my cash is being vacuumed out of my pockets, you could do me the courtesty - ye theater-owners and dead-eyed teenaged ushers - of having a half-decent projection system. I understand that in these days of the reigning Googleplex that you have to keep eleven-hundred projectors running at the same time. So hire more than one projectionist. Please, do us all this favor. And turn the bulb up to the required setting. Keeping it dim will NOT lengthen its lifespan. I worked as a projectionist. I'm aware of this money-saving myth. Theater owners are the only ones that believe in it. It's their toothfairy. The bulb will still burn out in the average amount of time; unfortunately, our eyes will as well.

Sound system... if you advertise THX or Extra-Crunchy Dolby, I kinda expect to experience that. Now that movie soundtracks utilize a minimum of eighty-seven tracks, if your speakers aren't up to snuff, we're going to miss a whole lot of movie. They're not just visual (and if you don't have your bulb turned up to the required wattage, they're not even all that visual).

Now, for the rest of you riff-raff who long to be "entertained": Don't bring a toddler or an infant to a noisy action movie. Don't sit behind me and strike up a conversation on your cell phone. Don't kick my chair. Don't masturbate unless you're at least two rows back.

Not so much to ask, right?

I'd been looking forward to the premiere of Spider-Man 2 since the first teaser appeared about six months ago. Could not wait. Every television spot made me bounce like a little kid. Amy and I get to the theater - all is well. The only humans around us, aside from some friends who were sitting further down the rows - were my parents and sister. A few stragglers started to trickle in as the commercials started. Not a big deal.

The movie starts... the screen's too dark. The daydream-believers are conserving wattage. Swell. I'm watching a murky Spider-Man swing through a muslin-covered New York City.

Five minutes in, a carnival troupe of four "adults" and at least ten Morlock children arrive.

And they sit directly behind us, kicking us as they go to sit. Screams come from either end of the row for the shared popcorn. There's an elderly woman shrieking to the mumbling toddler to be quiet. Every six minutes, there's a three-person mad dash to the bathroom, or the concession stand. To make their way down their family-choked aisle, they lean on the backs of our chairs, tearing out our hair as they do so.

I'm praying for an over-orchestrated action sequence to drown the hillbillies out. But the theater's speakers aren't up to it. With every crescendo, we get a crackling buzz.

Suicide or homicide... the eternal question.

I've been accused of being an elitist because I think box-office I.Q. tests should be manditory before tickets are sold. Not for things like White Chicks, of course. Those are I.Q. tests in and of themselves.

As the film ends, the carnie-folk get up to leave as the credits roll. I was expecting half of them to quickly file in front of me so they could block my view as well. But finally, I'm thinking I can relax for just a few seconds while the wind-up monkeys exit my personal space forever.

But the patriarchal lummox behind us has lost his keys. To find them, he must lean on the backs of our seats and bend down low, murmuring, "I lost my keys," as his hydrocephalic mantra. And yet, it would have been illegal to kill him.

There's a term I never understood: "Common courtesy". It's not common - it's decidedly UNcommon. Common dis-courtesy is more the norm. And it does no good to implore the unwashed masses that this is not proper theater-going ettiquette.

They don't read blogs, you see...

No comments: