Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Syriana (2May06)

I meant to change my clothes before leaving for The Cheap Theater this week. I really did. But, as it turns out, that didn't happen. So I ended up leaving for the theater in Cheap Theater Chic -- old jeans, a men's long-sleeve T-shirt that I got on clearance at Old Navy for a buck, my old hiking shoes, and the new hooded sweatshirt (zip-up this time) that I bought so I could occasionally wash my other hooded sweatshirt.

When we walked up to the theater, I found myself standing next to (though, fortunately, not down-wind from) a scruffy man in faded jeans and an old green T-shirt, the neck of which was permanently stretched out after years of being pulled over the man's impressive beer gut. He looked like he decided to protest the inhumane trimming of hair (both head and facial) about a year ago. And he appeared to have last bathed sometime last week.

Suddenly, my Old Navy clearance bin shirt didn't seem so bad.

Then, after we were seated, a couple entered the theater, and the man was wearing a suit. It takes all kinds at The Cheap Theater...

This week, Paul chose the movie. He'd been wanting to see Syriana for a while, and who am I to say no -- especially after I've forced him to sit through movies like Must Love Dogs (which he actually enjoyed, by the way). I really didn't want to see it, but was nominated for Oscars and stuff, so I'd just shut up and deal.

It didn't help, though, that I had a killer migraine -- which is really not a good way to see Syriana. Even if you don't have a headache on the way in, you'll inevitably have one on the way out.

But anyway...we got our tickets and handed them over to be ripped by Derek, my favorite ticket-ripper -- who, I'm pretty sure, recognizes us each week. We really should just introduce ourselves. It would, after all, be the Midwestern thing to do.

We followed a 20-something girl and her grandma to the theater, which had previously been occupied by just one man, who was seated halfway down the aisle. Paul and I headed straight for the back row -- and I was surprised (but only a little bit -- since I'm getting pretty accustomed to Cheap Theater people by now) to see that the two women had sat down right behind the one guy in the theater. Not across the aisle. Not a few rows back. Right behind him. And then they continued their deafeningly loud conversation.

The headache only got worse once the movie started -- though I'm not totally sure if that was because of the confusing storyline or the people around me. Most likely both.

You see, Syriana is a seriously complex movie, with a million characters and almost as many plotlines. You need to be able to concentrate to follow it. This, however, is difficult when the young couple across the aisle won't shut up. Or stop playing with their phones, which light up and blind you in one eye, causing you to have Ally McBeal-like fantasies about stuffing their glowing phones in their constantly-yammering mouths (not that I had those fantasies or anything...). It's also difficult when another couple walks in late, and no matter how hard you bed, "Please don't sit in front of me...please don't sit in front of me..." they sit right in front of you, and they also converse through most of it (though, fortunately, not as much or as loudly as the couple across the aisle).

In fact, everyone talked through this movie (everyone, that is, except for the solitary guy ahead and to the left, who, instead of talking, spent the first half of the movie emphatically munching his popcorn). While it was annoying to have everyone talking -- making it impossible for someone with ADD to focus on the movie, thereby meaning that I barely knew what was going on -- it also made me feel better. It meant that I wasn't the only one who was bored and/or confused.

The couple in front of us gave up halfway through. The couple across the aisle left a few times. My guess is that they left on smoke breaks, since I'm pretty sure I caught the guy flicking his lighter. The first time, I hoped that they'd given up -- so I could go back to trying to figure out what the heck was going on. But, unfortunately, they returned about ten minutes later. Then they left again...and came back again...and left again. For good, finally.

Meanwhile, the guy ahead and to the left had given up on his popcorn and was only slightly paying attention to the movie. Instead, he focused on checking his phone every 30 seconds, filling our little corner of the theater with that eerie glow. He also began emphatically hunting for something in the deepest depths of his nasal cavity.

And then I understood why he was there alone.

Even the Nose Picker gave up before the movie ended. By the time the credits rolled, there was no one within about 15 feet of us. If all those people hadn't been so annoying, I may have taking in personally.

But maybe I'll throw my hoodie in the laundry anyway -- just in case.


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