Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Batman Begins (27Sept05)

Some people hate Mondays. I tend to hate Tuesdays. For some reason, Tuesdays never seem to go right for me. On Monday, I'm still floating (or, perhaps, sleeping) after the weekend. On Tuesday, reality hits. I've got things to do and not enough time to do it in. This Tuesday was no exception. After last weekend's trip to Toronto for our friends' wedding (and the few days of preparations before we left), I was still trying to catch up. The one thing that could brighten my day, however, was Cheap Night at The Cheap Theater. The Tuesday night movie always brightens my day. This week, though, it took some planning. We'd planned to see Batman Begins, which was showing at 6:50 and 8. The early showing was earlier than usual -- and it would require careful dinner planning -- but I wasn't sure if I could stay awake through the late one, since I was still pretty worn out.

My careful planning didn't quite work. Paul's schedule was a bit thrown off, thanks to the big business conference he'll be going to next week. And when he finally announced that he was on his way -- and it was safe to make dinner -- it took longer than expected. And when I finally pulled my creation out of the oven, the chicken was still partially raw.

As Paul mixed me a vodka tonic to avert the nervous breakdown that he saw brewing, he suggested that we could go to the theater some other night, but I shook my head. I just wanted my normal schedule back, darnit. So once the chicken was fully cooked, we sat down to eat -- with plenty of time to still make it to the later show.

I was relieved to finally make it to the theater. We walked right up and got our tickets, and we stepped into the lobby. Since it was between the typical 7-something and 9-something showtimes, the lobby was pretty deserted. I paused to check out the Coming Soon board, which had Post-It notes indicating release dates. Next week, I'll be on my own, so I thought I'd try something I've never done before -- go to a movie all by myself. I was hoping for a good chick flick that Paul wouldn't want to see anyway. What I got was a bunch of horror movies and The Dukes of Hazzard. I'm not exactly sure which would be scarier. And I've watched horror movies before returning to an empty house before -- and I'm not sure if it's wise to do that again.

While I considered my options, we made our way past the ticket-ripper to our theater. We didn't have to worry about getting good seats because it was totally empty. So we went for the back row.

"Do you smell that?" I asked as we sat down? "Something smells bad," I sniffed.

"Is it me?" Paul asked, sniffing.

"I think it's my seat," I told him, turning to sniff my seat. "I think I need to sit over there," I said, pointing to the seat on the other side of him.

For a couple of minutes, we sniffed and switched seats until we were both comfortable. By that time, other people had arrived. College guys, mostly. A few couples. A pair of early-teen boys with their moms. Then a couple approached and chose the seats right next to us. The woman smiled at me -- that I'm-only-here-because-he-made-me smile that women often exchange. And I felt bad -- not because she had to see Batman but because he'd chosen The Smelly Seat.

As the opening commercials played, more people continued to file in. More college guys. More young couples. And two very small boys -- maybe 4 and 5 -- distantly trailed by their parents. After scouting around, they chose the seats right in front of The Smelly Seat. The woman next to me let out an annoyed sound that was part laugh, part sigh.

I'm not sure who was more restless during the movie -- the woman next to me, who squirmed and whispered, or the two little boys, who talked and wandered and sometimes shouted, and whose parents gave up on shushing them about 5 minutes into the movie.

I left the theater seriously annoyed -- not really because the kids were loud and obnoxious and out of control (though they were) but because they were there. For one thing, the movie got out at 10:20 on a Tuesday night. Shouldn't small children be in bed at that time of night? When I was a kid, I would have been going to bed when the movie started. And, second, this was not a kids' movie -- and, unlike a lot of babysitterless parents throughout the summer, these people were actually taking their kids to watch the movie. We're not talking a G-rated movie here. It's PG-13, and it's scary. There are fight scenes and guns and ninjas and knives. Lots of people die slow, painful deaths on screen. And there's a creepy villain with a scary mask who strikes terror in the hearts and minds of characters and moviegoers alike. I'm pretty tough, but even I expect a nightmare or two to come from this one.

Yet, in front of me was a 4-year-old boy on his mom's lap, jumping up and down and shrieking at the top of his lungs, "It's time for him to kill somebody! It's time for him to kill somebody!"

And people wonder why our society is such a corrupt mess. I'm sure that 4-year-olds cheering on violent murders isn't helping anything. What the heck ever happened to Barney, the big, annoying purple dinosaur and his songs about love? My parents didn't even let me set foot in a movie theater until I was 13 -- and I hate to admit it, but maybe now I understand why.

But enough of my rant about bad parenting and the fall of society... Back to the movie. What I could hear over the shrieking kids was actually quite good. Check out Tony's review on I generally agree -- though I need to add that Katie Holmes has to go. Sometimes, you can have too much publicity -- didn't we all learn that lesson from the Bennifer debacle?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

No movie night this week, but...

We ended up canceling movie night last night. There was only one movie we wanted to see, and it would have required a lot of crazy rushing around to make it on time (which would most likely lead to a serious case of heartburn as well). So we'll just have to wait until next Tuesday.

In the meantime, however, check out these reviews. They're all movies I've seen on Cheap Night -- and I forgot to mention them when they were published. Oops...

Fever Pitch
The Pacifier
The Wedding Date

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Fantastic Four (15Sept05)

Better late than never, I suppose...

Perhaps I was wrong when, on our last movie night, I fretted about not being able to go to The Cheap Theater on Tuesday for a couple of weeks, noting that Tuesdays are when the Crazies come out. Perhaps, however, the real Crazies stay away on Cheap Night -- since they prefer to avoid the crowds of cheapskates. Because they were out in full force when we moved our movie night to Thursday...

I'd had to work on Tuesday night, much to my chagrin. And Wednesday was Paul's hockey night (an unfortunate loss). So movie night had to be postponed until Thursday. The Thursday night Cheap Theater atmosphere was nowhere near what I've become used to. Instead of the noisy, carnival-like din of a Tuesday night, it was much more reserved. Somber, even. There were still plenty of people milling around, but they looked like they were wandering through a museum, not trying to disturb anyone or knock anything over.

The crowd inside the theater itself was even stranger -- though that may have a lot to do with the move we'd chosen to see. Fantastic Four (check out Tony's review on N& is, admittedly, a pretty dorky movie, aimed mostly at comic book nerds who have never been in a relationship more serious than the one they have in their head with Jessica Alba.

When I took my seat in the very back corner of the theater, I initially felt as though I were being punished. Forced to sit in the corner. But before long, I realized that the solitary confinement was probably for the best.

Fantastic Four isn't exactly a girl movie -- nor is it a date movie. The theater crowd consisted of:

a) About five couples, the female half of which was obviously getting paid back for having forced the male half to sit through The Wedding Date.

b) One group of four: one guy and three girls, who giggled non-stop throughout the whole movie -- and who will inevitably never let the guy forget that he liked that stupid movie.

c) Nine solitary movie-watchers. Seven of them male. They tended to cluster together, so it would look like they weren't alone. Three of them sat in one row. Another group took random seats in the front of the theater.

My personal favorite was a young man, probably mid-20s, who looked just like Napoleon Dynamite -- with the big, thick glasses, the huge 'fro, and the 80s wardrobe. Unfortunately, I'm almost positive that he didn't look that way because he was mimicking the cool nerd from the horrifyingly successful film (don't get me started on that...). I'm pretty sure he looked that way because his grandma picked out his clothes. You know the guy. There was one in your high school geometry class.

I watched in awe and amusement as Napoleon hurried to the front of the theater, a giant tub of popcorn in his arms. He took a seat near the center of the row. He contemplated it for a second. Then he moved one seat to his left. Then he paused. And he moved one more seat to his left. Then, apparently satisfied with his seating placement, he settled in. He carefully unfolded one of the white paper napkins he'd taken and daintily placed it tablecloth-style on the seat next to him. Grandma obviously taught him to be neat.

As I glanced around the theater, I realized that Thursday might be the best night for crazy Cheap Theater action. Then again, I have a feeling that any night a sci-fi comic book movie is playing might be a good night for crazy Cheap Theater action...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Madagascar (6Sept05)

This week, we faced a serious film dilemma. Last Thursday, when we went to the library to pick up a few books-on-CD and a couple of family-type movies for our holiday weekend roadtrip to my parents' cottage, I was told that one of my reserved movies had come in. Under normal circumstances, that would have been a good thing -- especially since I'd been waiting for it for several months. The timing, however, was horrible. You see, library DVDs are due back in five days. That meant Tuesday. On Thursday, we were too busy packing (and trying to get ink stains out of our freshly-laundered clothing, but that's another story for another blog). Then we left the next morning and were gone until late Monday night. So I had to return this movie that I'd waiting months to see without having seen it. (And no, bringing it to the cottage wasn't an option, since

(1) it was in French, and my parents don't do foreign films, and
(2) it was also R-rated, and my mom still doesn't think I should be allowed to see such grown-up movies.)

As I grumbled about my position on Tuesday night, Paul suggested that we could just put off movie night, stay home, and watch the DVD instead.

That thought had never even crossed my mind.

I found a million reasons why it wasn't possible. Especially: "But I have to work the next two Tuesdays, and we'll have to go other night for the next two weeks!"

"It's only $2 more if we go another night," Paul pointed out. "It's not a big deal."

"I know...but..." I sighed. "The crazies go on Tuesday, and I don't want to miss it!"

"But you hate the crazies!" he argued.

"I know. I know. But they're entertaining. And my blog has been really dull lately," I explained.

"Would you like me to be crazy for you? I could yell and throw things. Would that help?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. "It would."

What a husband I have. He's willing to risk public humiliation at The Cheap Theater if it'll make me feel better. Now that's what I call love...

So after much debate (Okay -- not too much. I'd had a crappy day and was really looking forward to seeing Madagascar), we jumped in the car and headed for the theater.

It was pretty obvious when we walked up that things were back to normal. There weren't any lines for the ticket booths. And there wasn't the same buzz inside the lobby. The ticket-ripper looked positively bored. Sure, there were a few people there, but they were more subdued than the summer crowd. And I noticed that the crazies were starting to return -- the people with the crazy hair and the weird floppy hats were making their way back. It's only a matter of time before I'm surrounded by them again...

I can't say that I really expected a lot of people to head out to see Madagascar on a school night right after school started. But there were still plenty of kids there -- and plenty of parents, who, as usual, had reverted back to being big, chatty, giggly, obnoxious kids.

Not long before the movie started, a couple of adults and a bunch of kids selected a row not far in front of our prime back-row-center location. I knew right away that they'd be trouble.

"See that little kid on the end there? He's already had way too much sugar," I told Paul as the little boy (I'm guessing he was about 6 or 7) skipped and twirled and bumped into people.

Eventually, their whole little clan arrive and took up a whole row: three girls, then four adults, then three little boys, and one more woman -- all of whom, I'm guessing, had just come from the ice cream place across the street. And then they'd shared a case of Jolt on their way in. The adults in the group were just as wired as the kids. They held shouted conversations over the heads of their kids -- and their spouses. It seemed to me like bad seating-arrangement planning to me, since it seemed like no one was sitting next to the person they wanted to talk to. They motioned to each other as they shouted, arms flailing. And all the while, their sugar-buzzed kids would yell things like, "What's that mean?" or "What's he doing?"

Ah, kids' movies. That should serve to prepare me for a long season of crazies at The Cheap Theater. And believe it or not, I'm almost looking forward to it. Just don't tell Paul I said so.