Earlier this morning Rhonda turned to me during breakfast and said, “Hey, want to go for a 9 mile run this weekend?”
I immediately began thinking of ways to turn my ankle.
I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but it bears repeating: I hate running. I’ve heard from many encouraging people that, if I run enough, I will eventually like it.
They are liars.
But as I began to sketch out on my breakfast napkin various ways to turn my ankle, I realized that almost all of these sketches would require a trip to the hardware store. And while I’m quite fond of the name of our local hardware store…The Crafty Beaver…I don’t actually want to go there.
(If you need an explanation as to why that name is funny, consult your 12 year old son)
I actually like hardware stores. They smell good. And I like high ceilings. What I don’t like about them is how I wander around from aisle to aisle like I’m reenacting a scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I don’t know what the heck I’m doing 90% of the time in a hardware store.
I like when they have power saw demonstrations, though…
So, because I’ve been writing a lot about running and working out, I thought I’d switch things up and write about something I am passionate about: seeing movies at a movie theaters.
I’m absolutely serious.
With the advent of direct-streaming movies, theaters have declined in popularity. Oh yes, I’m sure you don’t like the high prices or the overabundant bucket full of salty packing peanuts they generously label as “popcorn,” but I want you to bear with me for a bit and hear me out.
I think direct-streaming movies are destroying our ability to interact on a communal level, not to mention depriving you of some very entertaining people-watching.
You see, just as a gym is GREAT for people-watching, a movie theater is a less strenuous alternative that offers just as much, if not more, enjoyment.
And I love watching franchise movies at their midnight showings. My wife hates me for this, but like so many things in our marriage, it’s not going to change (much like my inability to successfully clean the bathroom). I’ll do this till the day I die.
Best franchise opening night viewing experience? Star Trek.
Full disclosure time: I’m not a Star Trek fan. Never have been. But man did I figure that opening would bring out the fun characters. And it did. In spades.
Aliens galore at that opening. And almost everyone had one of those dumb pins they wear on their chest. No lie, I saw some people hitting it during their conversation as if they were talking to one another over those intercoms.
And one woman came dressed as Uhura with the short dress and go-go boots. Classic. Absolutely classic. Watching her negotiate those stadium theater stairs was hi-larious. And don’t you know everyone whistled when she walked in (except for yours truly…I’m classy).
Now, before you think I’m going to these events simply to watch people, I have to say that I love movies and love watching them. And I love watching them with lots of people because you get that “crowd reaction” during certain portions that, when I’m at home watching them with Rhonda, only I do…and then she begs me to turn it off because I’m being annoying.
The great thing about these midnight showings is that everyone there knows its a safe place. In that space you can cheer when Leonard Nimoy makes his guest appearance. You can “Oooo” as the spaceship goes down in flames.
And you clap at the end, which I particularly enjoy.
Another great opening night that I went to was Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Terrible movie. Horrible. I would say it is arm wrestling at this moment with Temple of Doom for the distinction of worst movie in that franchise.
But when else will you hear people begin to cheer as the “Lucasfilm Ltd” marker shines forth at the beginning of the movie? Nowhere else, that’s where…unless you’re at my house watching it.
And because these opening night fans are so ravenous in their devotion, occasionally you’ll be able to judge them and not feel bad about it. Like when I went to see the opening night of Thor and the couple to the left of us brought a newborn in with them.
Yes. Newborn. Couldn’t have been more than a month old.
The kid slept through the whole thing (we all did, actually…to label it as “craptastic” is to go easy on it), but still: parenting fail. If you’re willing to pay $16 at midnight for that crappy movie, you should also be willing to shell out another $20 so the zit-laden high schooler can sleep over while you relive comic book glory.
Most recently I went to see The Avengers. And while I wasn’t able to go on opening night, I would say that the crowd the following day was comparable to an opening night crowd. The comic book shirts were in full swing, and while I didn’t see any Iron Man helmets or Cap shields, there was quite a bit of nerd-yelling and vocalizing.
Like from the dork three rows up and to the left. The Hulk starts smashing things in a seminal fight scene and the kid begins cheering like he’s watching his favorite horse pull into the lead at the Kentucky Derby. But while we are all silently judging, no one says anything. Why?
Because we’re secretly wanting to do that, too.
And that, my friends, is yet another reason why I see movies in the theater: the dorks around me can enact my deepest childish outbursts, so that I don’t have to.
My local theater, The Davis, is family run. It’s small. It’s sticky. The tickets are cheap, the concessions are reasonable, and the crowd is decidedly local. I love it.
The one thing I wish it would upgrade is the men’s room. The urinals are so close together you might as well just throw a large bucket on the floor for everyone to stand around. And, really, after 64 oz of cherry flavored Coke, a dude’s gotta go.
But it’s a small price to pay to have the communal theater experience in a local setting.
So, as part of the Year of Health, I’m advising everyone to see a movie in a theater to expand your cultural health. Don’t give me that whole, “I don’t like people” bull (I’m looking at you, Rhonda). It’s important to have common experiences with fellow human beings over shared interests, whether they be important or banal.
And definitely go see a movie on opening night once in your life. And if the mood strikes, dress up like a character. It’ll give me something to talk about.