Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Casanova (18April06)

There once was a time when Cheap Night at The Cheap Theater was a formal event. It was Date Night, which meant that I'd actually take some time to make myself look somewhat presentable. Looking back, I wonder why. After all, when we first moved here, I was struck by the fact that the locals' standard uniform consisted of a college T-shirt and sweatpants. I live in a place where people will ask why you're so dressed up if you're wearing jeans and a logo-free shirt. And The Cheap Theater is far from the center of class and style. I could, for example, wear cut-off Daisy Dukes and knee-high black vinyl boots, and I would fit right in. So in the past year or so, I've given up on looking nice for movie night. In fact, I would have to say that, in the last 50 visits to The Cheap Theater, I've worn the same hooded sweatshirt for approximately 48 of them -- and this week was no exception.

After all, watching a movie at The Cheap Theater isn't much different from watching a movie at home -- except the popcorn is cheaper at home. And our couch has more padding than the Cheap Theater's seats. And, in our living room, there's no crazy guy on the other side of the room, giggling through the whole movie.

Come to think of it, watching a movie at The Cheap Theater is nothing like watching a movie at home.

My point, though, is that it's not a dressy occasion. We don't put on nice clothes to go to The Cheap Theater. We don't go through the effort of combing our hair. We figure brushing our teeth and putting on shoes is good enough.

So, this week, after a wonderful dinner of grilled chicken out on the deck, I brushed my teeth, threw on my old faithful hooded sweatshirt over my T-shirt (to cover up those annoying white deodorant marks), put on my black Chuck Taylors (which, if they were children, would now be nervously anticipating middle school), and jumped in the car.

We didn't have a problem getting a parking space this week -- because we've reached one of the slow times of the year. It's not summer vacation yet, so the kids aren't packing the theater. And it's just too nice outside to spend the night in a cold, dark movie theater. It's the kind of weather that's perfect for having a brew on the patio of the local pub -- which is exactly what a bunch of bikers were doing at the pub by The Cheap Theater.

But not us. It was Tuesday. On Tuesdays, we see a movie. We're creatures of habit, you know, and if we don't go, it'll mess up the whole week.

There definitely weren't any crowds to battle on our way in. We got our tickets and handed them to Derek, our friendly ticket-ripper (whose mother obviously did a wonderful job of teaching him to be polite). Then we took a long walk down the hall to the very last theater down the very last hallway.

"Looks like they're showing this one in the supply closet," Paul commented as we approached the door.

There were about six other people in the theater when we got there. As usual, it wasn't until after the movie started that people began filling the place up. And, as usual, they gathered in the back, shocked that the back row seats were taken, trying to scope out seats elsewhere in the theater. At one point, one woman huffed and asked her companion, "Is it always this dark in here?"

Apparently, she'd only been to the theaters where they keep the lights on during the movie...

Once everyone finally settled in and shut up (which actually took quite a while, not that that's a surprise anymore), they were a pretty subdued crowd -- all of them, that is, except for the guy across the aisle, who sat alone in the back row and giggled through the whole movie.

The Lone Giggler.

The Lone Giggler found the movie absolutely hilarious. While I'll admit that it was quite amusing -- and I thoroughly enjoyed myself -- I can't say that I found it quite as hilarious as he did. Perhaps he's a dentist -- and he had to clean out the laughing gas canister before leaving work. It's a tough job, but it's gotta be done.

After the show, we joined the mass exodus out of the theater, herding ourselves like cattle out into the street. As we wandered down the hallway, Paul and I were amused to see a couple break away from the crowd and walk right into another theater for a double feature. They knew exactly where they were going -- as though they'd done the math and scoped out the next theater before the first movie started.

I have friends, who shall remain nameless, who have been known to sneak into a second movie after paying for the first. I, however, have never done it, since I would most definitely be caught. That's just my luck. But my friends used to do that at real theaters, where the movies cost ten bucks -- not at The Cheap Theater, on Cheap Night, when movies cost a whopping fifty cents each. I seriously feel bad for these people, who can't afford to pay another buck for a movie.

But, now that I've seen it happen, I think I understand why The Cheap Theater hires a security guard -- to prevent the great loss of cash that results from people sneaking in a free second movie. He must catch a lot of perps to earn his salary...

To read a review of Casanova, visit


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