Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Matador (25April06)

This week, we actually chose the night's movie during our lunch break. It was an easy decision -- we wanted to see The Matador, and this was its last week at The Cheap Theater. It was as simple as that.

The movie started at 7:50 -- a late-early show. That meant that we had plenty of time to make dinner and eat it and clean up after ourselves before the movie. From past experience, I should have known that it also meant that, given that much extra time on our hands, we'd inevitably be late.

But alas, I never learn.

We took our dear sweet time with dinner -- and then we still had time left. So I went to my office to get just a little more work done while Paul went outside to drag the bags of grass clippings to the road for Yard Waste Pick-up Day. The next thing I knew, we were running late. I ran out the door and climbed into the car to wait for Paul, who was still dragging sopping-wet trash bags around the yard. When he finally made it to the car, he was covered in dirt. But hey -- it's The Cheap Theater. No one cares.

Once on the road, we ended up stuck behind a guy who was swerving all over the road, going 15 under the speed limit. "He's either drunk or on his cell phone," Paul noted as the street widened, allowing us to pass. As we sped by, I glanced over to see the driver trying to dial his phone while looking nowhere near the direction of the road.

Despite leaving late and getting stuck behind the crazy cell phone driver, we still managed to make it to The Cheap Theater on time. And as we were making our way through the parking lot, I even took a second to take notice of the sign at the pizza buffet announcing that Tuesday is now $3 Buffet Day.

"Dinner and a movie: $7!" I announced. "We are so there."

Fortunately, even though we were running a tad behind schedule, we were seeing an R-rated movie in its last week at The Cheap Theater -- so I knew we wouldn't really have a problem getting a seat. We bought our tickets (Paul using the least number of words possible: "Two Matador.") and found ourselves in line for the ticket-ripper behind two other people who were headed for the same movie. The ticket-ripper barely took notice of us, though. He was more focused on a woman and her young son, who were headed into a theater on our right. Perhaps they were trying to sneak in a double-feature. And if that's the case, it's really a shame that the security guard wasn't on duty this week.

As expected, our theater wasn't full at all. And there's just something about a nearly-empty theater that brings out the quirks in your fellow moviegoers -- especially at The Cheap Theater, where there's a pretty high quirkiness ratio.

This week, we were sitting two rows behind a Cackler, who would cackle loudly at anything and everything that happened in the movie. Either that, or we were sitting two rows behind a very large chicken. It was dark. I can't be sure.

In front of us and to the right was a Sniffly-Snorter, who snorted through the whole movie (either that, or someone brought their pet pig along -- and why not, for only 50 cents?). Whenever the Sniffly-Snorter would sneeze, he sent the woman in front of him diving for cover, as though she were suffering from some germy version of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Behind us and across the aisle was a Chronic Fidgeter. Fortunately, we hadn't wound up in the back row this week, or we probably would have had to watch him squirm through the whole movie. Unfortunately, however, he was seated in one of those well-worn seats that are in serious need of some new padding and some WD-40. So we got to listen to the seat squeak as he fidgeted through the whole movie.

At the front of the theater, there were two AlternaTeens, who always remind me of a song I loved back in college. ("Alternateen... Would you go to Lollapalooza with me? Then we can spend five dollars for a glass of water...") Sure, we were all AlternaTeens back then, in our own special way. We wore old Salvation Army flannels and boots from the Army surplus store. We were so alternative that we were practically invisible. We did not wear crazy giant factory-worn pants that cost $80 at Hot Topic.

Sheesh. I'm getting old.

Finally, about 20 minutes into the movie, a couple took the seats in front of us, smelling quite strongly of popcorn and some other bitter smell that I couldn't quite place. They sat down and proceeded to focus all of their concentration on shoving as much popcorn into their mouths as was humanly possible. I guess if you're going to pay $20 for popcorn, though, you might as well get your money's worth.

After a few minutes, I determined that the smell emanating from the seats ahead of us was alcohol-based. And a while later (after mentally running through every known alcohol at the liquor store), I concluded it to be beer. Cheap beer. In large amounts.

So in our little corner of The Cheap Theater, we ended up surrounded by a Cackler, a Sniffly-Snorter, a Chronic Fidgeter, a pair of AlternaTeens, and a Beer Bather. Not too bad for a night at the movies...


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