Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Misanthrope at the Movies

Towns are full of people, houses full of tenants, hotels full of guests, trains full of travelers, cafés full of customers, parks full of promenaders, consulting-rooms of famous doctors full of patients, theatres full of spectators, and beaches full of bathers. What previously was, in general, no problem, now begins to be an everyday one, namely, to find room.
José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955), Spanish essayist, philosopher

We went to the movies last Saturday afternoon, the 4 p.m. show in order to get the discount. We proceeded to the last row so no one would sit behind us chewing their popcorn in my ear (actually those are my requirements, wife could care less). Because it was still 20 minutes before the show started they had some commercial video playing that promoted the crap out of myriad television shows and upcoming movies.

Meanwhile the theater was filling up, and why not, it was the first weekend for "American Gangster", which did $40 plus million, I watched each person come in dreading that they would sit in front or beside us carrying their buckets of popcorn, barrels of diet Coke. We brought our own little bag of microwave popcorn and a couple of candies in a baggie.

A couple seated themselves in front of us even thought I attempted to keep my foot on the arm of the chair as long as I could without appearing to block the seat, the entire penultimate row was empty and he had to sit in front of us. I, of course, commented about that and he got up and moved to the center of the row, then the other five members of his family came in took up the middle section of the row. Another couple ignored my dirty shoe on the arm of the chair and sat down, he was huge so I kept my mouth shut.

The previews started and ended maybe 15 to 25 minutes later. Eventually the movie started and the family in the middle of the row in front of us spent the next 10 minutes, maybe longer unwrapping all their goodies.

From my perch atop the back row, I surveyed the crowd and realized that I paid nearly $20 to watch a movie with all these people. I once again decided it was not worth it to be subjected to noisy eaters, aisles with no leg room, tight uncomfortable seats, and people all around us. Hell, we could have been flying cross country for all this discomfort.

The only movie theater I will go to is the Arclight in Hollywood. It’s about a 30-minute drive, costs $2 to park, $11 for a ticket, but I can get the tickets in advance, select my seats online, and use the points from buying the tickets to get nearly free snacks. There are no commercials and the movie starts on time.

"American Gangster" was okay, but not great.


Anonymous said...

Psst., AMC's pre-noon shows are cheapest of all: $6. The chica and I have been haunting the early shows ever since they started that promotion. And if you're going to see a 3-hour movie like American Gangster, as we did this weekend as well, best to start watching it at 10:15 AM!

Personally, loved the film; I think it absolutely holds its own as a complicated, compelling gangster film (a genre you'd think we'd be sick of by now, making my enjoyment of the film that much more notable in my mind).

The Misanthrope said...

Hi Teresa, I'll have to remember that about the AMC shows. When I go to Arclight it's usually the 11 a.m. show hoping everyone in Hollywood is still sleeping on Saturday morning or just waking up.

I agree with you that "AG" holds its own, but I expected more. Denzel has reached that point of Pacino, Nicholson where his performances are all similar. For Denzel it's that don't mess with me smile and laugh, his performance was good, but I don't think it was a stretch. "Training Day" where he played a bad cop was great as were a number of his other movies. I enjoyed Russell Crowe's character a bit more in this movie.

sporksforall said...

The Sherman Oaks pacific is being transformed into an Arclight as we speak. Not as far as Hollywood, at least.

I have a major issue with people eating behind me, too. For $6, I suffer through it.

Mel said...

It never fails - some tall guy with a top hat, possibly even Abe himself, always sits in front of me, rendering the stadium seating useless. Although that doesn't compare to the woman next to me texting during the entire movie!