This afternoon I decided to go see a movie, but the one I wanted to see wasn't playing in the theater nearest me. Normally that would mean I'd go into Manhattan, because even though there is another theater just a dozen blocks away, I hate going there. In fact, I haven't been there in several years. Until today.
It just seemed silly to jump on a subway and spend money to go to a theater that's farther away, and costs more, just because I don't like the crowd at the closer one. Especially on a day when terrorists have allegedly targeted the NYC subway system. So I decided to stay in Brooklyn.
Now, the two movie theaters near me are radically different. The closer is an old family-run, independent cinema with medium and small-sized screens, mostly new comfy seats, and prices $1.25 lower than the chain 10 blocks north. It targets the more gentrified yuppie neighborhood with an assortment of family, independent, and mass market films, all first-run. Right now, for example, you can see "Flight Plan" or "Oliver Twist" or "Corpse Bride" or "In Her Shoes" or "The Constant Gardener."
The other theater opened up about 3-4 years ago and is a big huge monstrosity with 12 theaters and a Barnes & Noble sharing its space. It's further up, near a bunch of subways, and attracts a different crowd. Younger, noisier, wilder - less discriminating, I guess. I'm not going to spend too much time figuring out why, because I am not going back there. Why? Oh, let me count the ways.
1. I was seated between two couples who talked throughout the film. I tried turning and giving dirty looks to one, but of course they couldn't see that passive-aggressive move, and experience has taught me that people don't really respond well if you ask them to be quiet, and the whole thing just causes aggravation that winds up spoiling the movie for me far more than putting up with their chatter. So I tried to relax and ignore them. It might have gone okay, but...
2. The people in the theater cheered when the plot erupted into violence. Now, this wasn't a cartoony, shoot 'em up, cars blowing up action movie. This was a serious drama about the nature of violence, and the depictions of it on screen were tense and dramatic and realistic. There was no wise-cracking hero walking away with his buddy, slapping him on the back for a job well done.
3. More than one person brought a toddler/young child into the film. It's rated R for violence, the movie is ABOUT violence, it's CALLED "A History of Violence" and at the first sight of a guy's head being blown off in bloody gorey detail, those people should have taken their kids next door to "Wallace and Grommit." I agree with Stephen King, who said (about another film - "The Passion of the Christ" I believe) that people who bring young children to super violent films should be arrested for child abuse. There's just no excuse for letting a three year old sit through that in larger than life technicolor.
4. There were two sex scenes in the movie, both realistic and human and gritty and graphic. The crowd hoo-hahed them both. Have they never actually had sex? Do they think it's all soft focus and pretty like in other films? The young woman sitting next to me said to her date, "That is strange" when the couple on the screen moved into a sixty-nine position. Honey, if you don't know what that is? you probably don't belong in an R-rated film.
5. The crowd also went crazy when Maria Bello, in a very tense and dramatic scene, walked in front of the camera in a half-opened bathrobe that revealed frontal nudity. How juvenile can you get? Oh, wait, here's worse - someone started calling out, "Bush! Bush!" Did I mention that this is actually an emotionally charged, intellectual film? I mean, it's about something. This isn't Austin Powers with giggling over sex and cartoon violence.
6. In the ladies' room after, I went into a stall after a woman and her young daughter. They had taken the entire contents of the paper seat cover dispense and dumped it into the toilet. I backed out and said, "What the fuck?" and the woman, who'd said nothing as she saw me walk into the stall, said, "It wouldn't flush." Again, let me say, "What the fuck?" How was cramming it full of paper supposed to help? What is wrong with these people? I've seen cleaner bathrooms at Penn Station, and they are frequented by the homeless.
7. In another stall, a woman chatted away on her cell phone as she urinated, wiped (presumably), and flushed. Is this acceptable now? If so, please don't call me from a public toilet stall. Please.
Lesson learned - pay the extra money, take the extra time to go into Manhattan if you have to. Fuck the terrorists.
I don't have the energy to talk about the film yet - later on that.