Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Longest Yard (9Aug05)

This week, we had a bit of a challenge to face when it came to selecting the movie of the week. These wasn't a single movie that had been at The Cheap Theater for more than a week that we wanted to see, so we had to plan ahead to determine which of the new movies would be less crowded. We had two options: The Longest Yard and Revenge of the Sith. We figured that Star Wars was more likely to be packed with crazed fans who were competing with their friends to see who could watch it the most times -- and, for some reason, The Cheap Theater management had chosen to show it on only one screen, as opposed to the two they'd given to The Longest Yard. So the decision wasn't all that difficult. We agreed to see the movie with more possible showtimes -- and we left really early.

Despite the fact that we left home 45 minutes before showtime instead of the usual 30, there were already people piling in when we showed up. As the ticket-ripper ripped the tickets of those ahead of us, he pointed behind himself.

Rip. "Right there," he directed.

Rip. "Down that way, on the left."

Rip. "Right there."

Rip. "Right there."

Rip. "Right there."

When we got up to him, it was more of the same. Rip. "Right there."

The seats in the back row were already taken, so we moved up the aisle a bit and took our seats.

"THEY GOT MARRIED IN A CATHOLIC CHURCH, RIGHT?" I heard a raspy voice holler from behind me.

"YEAH!" another one hollered back.

I turned to see that two old men had taken their seats in the back row of the theater. Either they were seriously homophobic and didn't want to sit anywhere near each other, or they were saving seats for the rest of the folks from the home -- because there were three seats between them, which caused them to yell their conversation about someone's Catholic church wedding, which was either in January or March. They couldn't quite agree on which. Throughout the quickly-filling theater, people turned to catch a glimpse of the old men and smile.

I grinned, contemplating the fact that these old men had chosen to take the seats that are typically snatched up by amorous teenage couples (or, in our case, people with really long legs). I wondered why they'd chosen those seats, preferring not to think about the reason why teenagers choose those seats. And I quietly prayed that the displaced teenage couples didn't end up in the seats right ahead of us.

When the movie finally began, the theater was packed and noisy. I'm going to guess here that the generally rowdy and irreverent nature of the movie inspired the crowd. It was most likely the violence and the loud music to match that made everyone in the theater so rowdy (or maybe the movie made them think about the upcoming football season -- which, in these parts, can turn the mildest-mannered accountant into a crazed beast). Whatever the case, there was a constant hum of chatter around me. The guy behind me jabbered through the whole thing. And though the movie's volume was cranked beyond the usual levels, making it almost impossible to hear much non-movie noise, I'm sure that the two old men continued their conversation in the back row.

I'll just say now (since we've already published a review of The Longest Yard on that I loved the movie. Everyone around me loved the movie. We laughed -- and we even unknowingly cheered from time to time. But there was one person in the theater who obviously wasn't enjoying herself -- the two-ish-year-old girl whose parents decided to take her along to the movies for a fun family night. The little girl, perhaps dissatisfied with her parents' choice of movies, shrieked through the whole thing -- the kind of angry shriek that kids let out when they're forced against their will to sit for any amount of time. The poor child was furious, yet her parents were really determined to see the whole movie, so they stayed. They generally ignored her shrieking, and they only removed her from the theater a couple of times -- for a couple of minutes -- and then she'd be quiet for a couple of minutes before starting all over again. At one point, they even attempted to quiet her down by flipping open their cell phone (I'm guessing the idea was to show her pictures taken with the phone's camera), the light of which was pointed directly at my left eye.

I'm still baffled by the whole kids-in-the-theater thing. It's something that I rarely saw before we began our Cheap Theater Adventures, so maybe it only happens there. But if this is, in fact, becoming a trend, I think new movie theaters should consider adding a room that churches have included in their designs for ages. In the church I grew up in, it was called The Cry Room -- a sound-proof room in the back of the church with a big window overlooking the sanctuary. There was a speaker mounted inside, so parents could watch and listen, while kids could shriek and run around all they wanted.

Or perhaps theaters should consider offering child care for a small fee -- like fitness centers often do.

Or perhaps parents of young, energetic children should consider another novel concept -- the babysitter.


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