Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Corpse Bride (6Dec05)

This week's Cheap Theater adventure could possibly have been the most obnoxious to date. No...I take that back. Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events was way worse. But this one definitely takes second place.

But before I get into that, I'd like to note a vehicle that I regularly see in the parking lot. I first noticed it several weeks ago. I probably wouldn't have taken notice of the little tan truck with odd green details if it didn't look just like a truck owned by someone in our old apartment complex back in Massachusetts. Since I first noticed it, however, I've seen it just about every Tuesday. Either the truck belongs to an employee of The Cheap Theater or another shop in the strip mall, or we're not the only ones who indulge in a 50-cent movie every Tuesday.

This week's show was an early one, so the place was still dead. There was very little waiting in line, and the lobby was practically a ghost town. The ticket-ripper (who, incidentally, was back to the standard red-and-white-striped shirt), was passing the time by chatting with a coworker when we walked up, but he paused the conversation long enough to nod down the hall and tell us, "Third one."

When I said "Thank you," he didn't respond. He didn't tell me to enjoy the show, either. But that's because he was wearing a striped shirt. Had he been wearing a suit, he may have actually taken my arm and escorted me to my seat. But not in a striped shirt...

Since Corpse Bride debuted in The Cheap Theater just last week, it was still showing in one of the big theaters. We wandered in and took our usual seats -- on the far side of the theater, in the back row. But I wasn't satisfied.

"I feel like we're way off to the side," I told Paul. I could have sworn that, from our seats in the big theater, we were practically looking at the screen from the side.

"There are seats over there," he replied, pointing to a group of seats in the center section of the back row. "Do you want to move?"

I decided that I did -- so we moved. And, right from the beginning, I regretted the move. We were seated about four rows behind a whole row of high school kids, all of whom were giggling and yelling at each other and climbing on top of each other and playing with their cell phones.

But, believe it or not, it got worse.

Shortly before the movie started, a rambunctious little mob showed up in the theater. Three wild kids and two women who didn't seem to care. The kids ran down the aisle as the women shouted to anyone who cared to listen about where they should sit.

Of course they sat in front of us.

The three unruly children were inflicted with a serious case of Ants in the Pants. But Mom and Grandma (as we soon discovered the two women to be) were even more obnoxious. Not only did they have no control whatsoever over the kids, who jumped and danced and twirled and ran up and down the row -- but they were even louder than the kids. The mother was a Laugher. She threw her head back and laughed loud, deep belly laughs at everything remotely amusing. She discussed the previews (and later the movie) with her kids -- and her mom, who was two seats away -- in volumes that are entirely unnecessary unless one happens to be speaking to the legally deaf.

When the little girl started running around, Mom and Grandma would yell, "Sit down RIGHT NOW!" so loudly that I'm quite sure there were people in the next theater over scrambling to take their seats. The little girl, however, paid no heed, and she kept running and twirling and smacking the young couple in the row ahead of her on the backs of their heads.

I sat there wide-eyed, amazed that anyone could be so rude -- and that so much rudeness could exist in one family. But poor Paul was beyond amazed. He was seriously ticked off. I had to restrain him a couple of times to keep him from strangling Grandma.

But if their behavior annoyed us, I can't imagine how painful the experience was for the poor young couple seated ahead of them. The little girl spent most of the movie standing just an inch or two from the backs of their heads, yelling at her mom and flailing her arms, often swatting the poor couple's heads. I was hoping they'd turn around and say something, but they never did. They did turn around a few times to glare at the little girl, who continued yelling and flailing in sheer oblivion. But, in general, I was shocked and awed by the couple's patience. If I were them, I would have gotten up and found seats that were less dangerous. But they endured, and later, as we followed them out of the theater, I heard the girl remark, "That's why I think kids shouldn't be allowed in movie theaters."

At one point, Mom took one of the two boys out. I'm assuming it was for a trip to the bathroom -- though, shockingly enough, he didn't yell about it loudly enough to let the people in the front of the theater know that he had to pee. When the two returned, the little boy was back to his running, yelling little self, and Mom yelled (loudly enough that even the actors may have heard her), "Ssshhh! People are trying to watch the movie!" What she didn't realize is that we'd all given up long before.

To make things even worse, the high school kids, who had also given up on watching the movie, started giggling everything time the kids made a scene -- which, of course, only made them do it more often.

But the kids got more and more restless as time passed. Fortunately, Corpse Bride is a really short movie. Unfortunately, the kids didn't seem to notice that there was a movie playing. After a while, they got bored -- and all three began asking Mom repeatedly if they could leave. Apparently, Mom and Grandma were the only two people in the theater still able to pay attention to the movie, so they yelled back, "Not until this is over!" One of them even made a break for the door, but Mom screamed enough to get him to come back. Obviously, the kid's not too bright. If I were him, I'd have kept running.

Fortunately for the rest of us in the theater, the movie wasn't really all that exciting. Even with the constant distractions, we didn't lose much. Just our sanity.


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