Before I start, I have be honest (1) which is something I’m not typically good at. I totally stole this idea from Crackpot: The Obsessions Of John Waters. On page 24, you’ll find “Hatchet Piece (101 Things I Hate).” I’d like to say this was homage (2) to him, but as he said in This Filthy World, when Rugrats used his Odorama idea, they called it homage. “A check would’ve been homage” was his response. So this is an outright rip-off. I think he’d understand.
I’ve always loved going to the movies. Still do. But somehow it gets more complicated the older I get. There’s first the eternal problem of finding a movie at a time and place I actually want to see it (3), and there are certain lines I simply will not cross. The only thing I avoid like the plague even more than a movie’s opening night (4) is going on any Friday night (5). Crowds (6) are nerve-wracking, and long lines (7) give me moderate angina. Getting to the movies is a no-win situation. If it’s at a nearby mall (8), there’s the drive to the place (9) and parking (10) to deal with which means there’s either a nearly full parking garage (11) or no parking garage, thereby guaranteeing a downpour (12) will start the second I get out of the car. No matter. Once I cross the threshold into the tranquil sanctuary that is the cinema, all will be well, right? Oh don’t be naive. For one thing, I’m always compulsively early. For everything. It’s only with undue effort that I’ve managed to scale this back considerably. When I was a teenager, I’d sometimes get to the theater two hours before showtime and would still get completely stressed out (13) if there was traffic (14), construction (15), or just a slower than average driver (16) on my way there.
Being early doesn’t accomplish as much as you might think in terms of stress reduction. One problem with being compulsively early is the lobby itself. On one hand, most of the movies I go to will, by their very nature, preclude the dreaded presence of little kids (17). On the other hand, there are usually plenty of them running loose (18) and shrieking (19) all over the lobby. Then again, there was all that parental hue and cry (20) after people took their kids to see Deadpool despite the ad campaign warning against such stupidity. Really there’s no telling how much longer I will continue to be safe in the cheer and comfort of an R-rated horror flick. Another downside of being early only applies when I’m meeting up with someone. This is not a criticism of anyone who goes to movies with me. This character flaw is entirely mine, but any amount of time I spend waiting for my movie companion to show up (21) is psychological torture. Even if my movie companion shows up 30 seconds after I do, that 30 seconds plenty of time to render me an anxiety-riddled mess. After I look at my phone to see what time it is, roll my eyes, and exhale audibly, the inner monologue begins. It starts with, “Great. There won’t be anywhere decent to sit (22)” and immediately becomes a downward spiral of negative energy that ends with, “And I better not miss the fucking previews (23)!” Invariably all is well.
Right. So I’ve made it past the concession stand, a monumental act of white-knuckle willpower once I smell popcorn. Because my fucking cardiologist (24) has relegated me to involuntary veganism (25), I’m no longer able to eat movie theater popcorn (26). At over 1000 calories and over 40 grams of fat, the man has a point. “No matter what I do,” I tell myself, “I’ll still end up just as dead one day.” But another little voice, an annoying one (27), always pipes up, “Yeah, but it doesn’t have to be from a massive heart attack while you’re watching Krampus (28) at a cineplex or the god-awful final cut of Blade Runner (29) at an arthouse joint.” Soon it’s time to go find a seat, but not before a final compulsive trip to the bathroom (30). Don’t know why, but I can’t not do it.
There’s rarely anyone in the theater when I get there, so I can almost always sit exactly where I want: last row, dead center. People behind me (31) make me paranoid. Now all I have to do is hope it’s a sparse crowd so I don’t end up with anyone sitting within two seats of me (32) either, especially if that person has marinated in an egregious amount (meaning any amount) of perfume (33), cologne (34), or any amount of any iteration of Axe Body Spray (35). I’m generally misanthropic, so it astonishes me when someone walks into a nearly empty theater and sits in close proximity to the only other person in the place (36). It’s still early. If I’m at Naro Expanded Cinema, at least the music is good. If I’m at a multiplex, I get to watch their dumbass ads, National CineMedia’s FirstLook (37) being the most irritating.
Finally, the previews start. I know people who hate previews. Not me. And given the bent of my film tastes they sometimes turn out to be the best part. For the record, I’ve broken up with several girlfriends who made me miss the previews (38). To be fair, I’m not exactly a basket of kittens, so it was no great loss for any of them either, but I do have standards damn it! That said, when I saw Rogue One, I experienced something new: thematically organized previews (39). Seriously. All the previews were for stuff like Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2, Logan, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Transformers: The Last Knight (40), stuff like that. Don’t get me wrong. I can’t wait to see some of these, but at least throw me more of a horror movie bone than Tom Cruise in The Mummy fer fucks sakes.
It goes without saying that there’s a special circle in hell for people (41) who talk/make noise during the movies (42). That includes the previews. There’s a smaller, much more painful circle for people (43) who text at the movies (44). Surely the smallest, most excruciating circle of cinematic perdition has to be reserved for people (45) who try to record the movie on their phones (46). I’ve seen people doing this but never ratted anyone out for it but only because someone always beats me to it (47). Still, watching someone being led away for it is almost as gratifying as turning them in, so I’ll take what I can get. All else aside, once the movie starts, I should be fine barring any fuckwit who comes in late (48) or even worse comes in trying to find someone (49). If someone’s phone goes off (50), there’s a better than average chance I’ll start running my mouth which could conceivably lead to an assault charge and/or trip to the emergency room for one of us.
Either way, bring co-pay/bail money.