Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Finding Neverland (5April05)

Once again, Tuesday came with sunshine and warmth -- 77 and not a cloud in the sky. But after last week's experience, I decided not to make any assumptions about the crowd at the theater.

Over the weekend, most of the movies on my wish list had disappeared. In fact, only one remained. Joined by a couple of new ones -- Sideways and The Wedding Date (I know...I know...but can't a girl watch a cheesy chick flick every once in a while?), that made three options. Since Paul's going to be in Europe next Tuesday (thereby making our weekly date for Cheap Night at The Cheap Theater somewhat difficult to pull off), we decided to go with the held-over movie: Finding Neverland. Since it had been in the theater a week, we hoped it wouldn't be too packed.

Following a short walk around the block and a scarfed-down dinner, we headed out -- a half-hour early, as usual. Paul sped just the slightest bit as we contemplated the line-up.

"If there's a long line, I'll just drop you off, okay?" he told me as I checked my walled for a $1 bill.

But the scene in the parking lot this week was nothing like last week. My warm-weather theory had finally proven itself -- the lot was empty. In fact, I don't think we've ever been able to park that close to the door. And there was no line to get tickets -- we pretty much just walked right in.

The scene in the theater was about the same as last week, though. A few people in the back rows, randomly seated in pairs here and there. So we took our seats in an empty row, just off the center aisle (I was on the aisle, as I believe I always will be from now on, thanks to my Lemony Snicket near breakdown), with no one behind us.

That, however, did not remain the case.

As it got closer to show time, more people squeezed into the theater. Most of them, I noticed, were senior citizens -- a fact that made me feel quite comfortable, since the senior citizens I've known (well, outside of Massachusetts, that is) have all been very respectful of others. So as they squished in beside us and behind us, I didn't even flinch.

For the most part, I was right. Other than the couple behind me, who occasionally attempted to casually converse over top of the movie, the evening's audience was remarkably quiet. Well...mostly. Except for the stereo popcorn-munching, which made it up to deafening sound levels at the beginning of the movie before tapering off as:

1) The munchers of said popcorn got too involved in the movie to eat
2) They couldn't hear the movie over their own munching, so they decided to stop
3) They realized that they'd soon be utterly parched, and they'd forgotten the soda
4) They were parched and had remembered the soda, but they realized that only a camel could hold in a jumbo-sized soda through an entire movie, so they slowed down their intake

I would suggest that they had possibly fallen asleep, but I can't imagine that would be the case during such a spectacular movie.

It occurred to me during the movie that maybe people are capable of shutting up and sitting quietly in their seats if the movie is good enough to hold their attention. Because Finding Neverland was definitely good. And the crowd (except for the occasional conversation behind me -- and the baby a few rows ahead of me) was shockingly quiet. And perfectly still. Apparently, none of the other movies I've seen lately were any good.

So...the movie -- spectacular. The experience -- near blissful and surprisingly almost idiot-free (there was, unfortunately, a guy across the aisle who got a phone call mid-movie -- but at least he was kind enough not to answer).

It's movie-going experiences like this one that make me remember why I love movies as much as I do.


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