Thursday, January 13, 2011

And I Thought Black Swan Was Scary

Two or three times a year, I like to treat myself to a movie. I don't go more often because I can't afford it. I don't have Netflix for the same reasons. But I like going to the movies. I like sitting in a dark theater in front of a giant screen. It's fun to get pulled into someone else's world for a while. And the buttery popcorn is good too. (I know, I know, it's totally unhealthy, but I only eat it twice a year. So whatever.)

I also like going to movies alone, because then I get to pick what I want to see and I don't have to share my food with anyone. Also, my friends don't always like my movie selections. For example, I actually went to see Mariah Carey's movie, Glitter, when it came out. (Okay. You can stop groaning now.) I couldn't see why everyone hated it so much. I didn't think it was that bad. (But admittedly, it wasn't that great, either.)

Recently, I went to watch Black Swan, partly because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and partly because I've always admired Natalie Portman's work as an actress. And in this movie she was, as always, brilliant.

However, the movie was slightly confusing, because I couldn't really tell what was real and what was not (which I guess was the point). Since it was a thriller, there were several instances in the movie where the audience was suddenly startled by something particularly shocking or scary. (And maybe that's why I was confused by the movie, because I kept covering my eyes and ended up missing parts of it.) At least twice during the movie I gasped, jumped in my seat, and spilled some of my popcorn. It landed on a guy sitting near me. He looked at me as if to say, "At least aim the popcorn towards my mouth next time."

I like sitting in the back of the movie theater, because there are usually fewer people up there. However, there is one disadvantage, because it gives you a full view of everyone in front of you. That includes everyone who loves their cell phones so much that they can't bear to turn them off for two hours.

It's as if they want to say, "I can't, I just can't! What if my best friends update their Twitter feed and I can't immediately respond to their Tweets? What if someone in my family calls for the third time today to discuss what we talked about in the last two calls? What if someone sees my Facebook page and has no idea what I'm doing because I haven't been able to update my Facebook status in over an hour? Then there would just be madness, I tell you!"

There was this woman in front of me who pulled out her phone to send and receive text messages at least six times throughout the movie (I counted). Texting isn't as bad as talking on the phone, but the light from her phone shone directly into my face, as if someone was shining a miniature flashlight at me. I wanted to say to her, "You want to see something scary? Turn around, JERK!"

It got to the point where I was ready to lean forward and tell her, "Could you please stop doing that? The light from your phone is bothering me." But I was going to say it in a polite way, without dumping my giant soda (which apparently is laced with some kind of mind-altering fluid that makes anyone who drinks it willing to pay more than their ticket price for soda and popcorn) on her head, and without taking her phone away and flinging it at the screen and yelling, "Go FETCH!" But I didn't, because she finally shut her phone and put it away.

There was a younger girl there, who looked like she was twelve or thirteen, who actually answered her phone during the movie. It sounded like she was talking to someone she had a crush on, because she said, "Oh, hi. No, not much is going on right now." Everyone in the audience let out a collective groan, and for a moment I was afraid that they were all going to attack her with their own cell phones. Fortunately, she walked out of the theater, still talking on her phone, of course.

I also found myself wishing I hadn't bought such a large soda (although honestly, a small soda at a theater is basically a large soda), because I kept fidgeting for half of the movie. Finally I got up about halfway through the movie and tried to make my way down the aisle, though I tripped over someone's enormous shoes and my arms started waving in the air. Then I almost went flying, looking as if I was trying to imitate the dancers leaping across the stage in the movie (I wasn't). I tried to apologize to the person I tripped over, but someone else was all, "SHHHH!" And I was all, "You SHHHHH!"

It was then that I realized that the lack of money isn't the only reason I rarely go to the movies.

What about you? What do you like/dislike about the movie theater?


  1. Ooh, I really want to see Black Swan! I can't stand people munching popcorn the whole way through. Nothing annoys me more than that.

  2. You deserve that buttery popcorn--it's 1 of the best things about going out to the movies. It's so much better than microwaved popcorn.

    I want to see Black Swan, too. I understand she does 90% of her own dancing. Knowing how difficult it is, I'm very impressed.

    Did you see the 1st episode of Californication? The David Duchovny character gets into a fight w/ a cellphone user in the movie theatre. He wins! Yay! I don't think that cells should be confiscated, but people are so rude & inconsiderate that they act like they're in their own living room. We don't pay that kind of $$$ to get annoyed by boors using phones or texting. Theatre management should do something about it. OK, end of rant!

  3. I like movie theaters. A lot. Especially by myself. But I also totally text through movies, munch popcorn, and make comments on the movie out loud if I'm with anyone else.... But see, that's why I like movies. I like the communal aspect of it. You don't feel all alone while you're watching the movie, which means dealing with the good and the bad aspects of that. I don't know why, but I'm totally okay with the bad in movie theaters. It's all just part of the experience.

  4. Hi Talli,
    Black Swan is a good movie, though I'm still not sure I entirely understand what happened in it. I think that's why I usually just stick to romantic comedies. :)

    Hi notesfromnadir,
    You're right about the popcorn; microwaved popcorn just never tastes the same.
    I think that a lot of the time people who use their cell phones during movies don't even realize they're bothering other people. I think it's kind of like when someone plays his or her music too loud; they're so focused on the music they don't realize that other people might not appreciate the volume.

    Hi gem,
    Those are all good points about movie theaters being communal, and I think a lot of people go to the movies for those reasons that you mentioned. I actually try to go to movies on weekdays, though, in the middle of the day when there's less chance of crowds. I've actually watched movies where I was the only one in the theater, and it was nice to have the place to myself.

  5. I am a complete freak about going out to a movie. When I am lucky enough to be the one in charge, I will only going during the day, on a week day, by myself. If other people have input, they can only influence me in the area of their accompaniment. Matinee showing/ middle of the week is non-negotiable. It's just such a let down when people are shaking their Mike-n-Ikes like maracas and choking on the popcorn seeds in the middle of my escape world. How am I supposed to pretend that I"m the main character???

  6. Ok, I have to say that Natalie Portman and the cast did a wonderful job of acting, but the film itself, I thought was horrible. Way too much in and out of dreams for my taste. And there was way too much groping and graphic grabbing. The dancing was great, but yes, it didn't really do it for me.

    Going to the movies, though, is a great experience. I love sitting with other people and hearing their reactions. Plus watching the film on a huge screen is a huge plus.

    People are annoying. I don't have problems asking people to take their bluetooth off or constantly looking at them to shut up. Worse case you can always tell the manager and have them ask them to leave.

  7. Hi FreeFlying,
    Teehee, I especially like your phrase "shaking their Mike-n-Ikes like maracas", that's funny! I like the idea of pretending to be the main character too, but I'm not sure I'd want to be Natalie Portman's character in this movie. It'd be cool to be her character in Star Wars, though. :)

    Hi Lissa,
    I have thought about talking to the manager more than once. I'm just afraid that the other people might figure out it was me and then confront me afterwards.
    It is fun to watch films on a huge screen. I almost wish I was rich enough to have my own movie theater in my home. Of course, then I'd have to move to a place big enough for a theater.

  8. I also like the communal experience of movies, but there's a difference in being part of a group that's sharing the same movie and being part of someone's personal life as they text or answer their phone.

    I find texting very irksome. If it's only once, there might be a legitimate reason for it, but if it's like a whole conversation--you're not even really watching the movie then.

    I also am mystified why more people don't laugh in movies. Sometimes I'm the only one cracking up. That's part of the communal fun--a whole theatre of people laughing and gasping and reacting to what's up on the screen. Maybe I'm just REALLY easily amused.


  9. Although I agree with you about visiting a movie theater alone, there is one benefit to going with someone else. When I absolutely MUST visit the bathroom they can update me on what happened. Also, my big scary husband keeps people off their cell phone in our vicinity.

  10. Hi judyrocket,
    That's strange that more people aren't laughing. I do remember going to a Star Trek movie, though, and I was one of the only people who wasn't laughing. I didn't really get any of the jokes. :)

    Hi Plain Jane,
    It's definitely good to get an update, because I'm always afraid I'm going to miss something important when I leave the theater. That did happen to me once. I was watching a movie where the answer to the big mystery was revealed during the five minutes that I was out of the theater.

  11. I almost never go to movies either. You named all the reasons why - price and rudeness. I cover my eyes too.

    Last weekend, I took my husband out for his birthday. The waitress gave us terrible service. Guess what she was doing in the back when I tried to get her attention? Texting.

    Glitter was bad. Not even Showgirls entertaining bad. The quick flash scene changes almost gave me seizures. And when her cat appears out of the blue.. I just laughed.

  12. Hi Theresa,
    Wow, was that waitress trying to get her customers to not give her tips? I used to work in a movie theater, and surprisingly people didn't say anything about the price of the food (though I wouldn't have blamed them if they had, because movie theater food is always overpriced). They did get upset, though, if we didn't prepare their popcorn and drinks quickly enough. One lady actually started yelling because one of the cashiers mistakenly put butter on her popcorn! Sheesh.