Wednesday, August 04, 2010

of all the movie joints in all the towns...

One of the great joys in my life is going to the movies by myself. I discovered this activity far too late, previously feeling that going to the movies by oneself is the sad, pathetic act of someone unlovable.
Either that's not really the case, or I've accepted my fate. But I love a bucket of Diet Coke and the opening credits. (Castle Rock has the best openings, by the way.)
The past week, I took myself to two movies. Well, technically three.
Sunday, I headed to the Castro Theater for a Humphrey Bogart Double Feature of Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon. Because apparently I'm a secondary character in a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan romantic comedy. The first movie was Casablanca and maybe you've heard, it's fucking fantastic. Obviously, Captain Renault is my favorite, and Rick needs to get over Paris. I'm sorry but this whole, "I don't care about anyone, I'm the silent, mysterious type except for this chick who ... GODDAMNIT SAM! YOU COULD PLAY IT FOR HER, YOU CAN PLAY IT FOR ME!" makes Rick seem high maintenance.
Poor Ilsa's all, "Listen, just give me the damn papers so I can get the hell out of here. You want me to say I love you. Fine. I love you. Can I go now?"
Anyway, by the time The Maltese Falcon rolled around, things were heating up and my friends were (silently) texting. Plans were being made and as I sat in the Castro seat I had claimed three hours earlier, I committed a movie sin.
I texted back. Repeatedly.
Here's the thing. I'd been there for ages. I needed to know what was up. I'm not wild about when other people do it. But let's face it, there are worse movie sins. That being said, I'm well aware it's not cool.
So it didn't come as a huge shock when the big, old man newly arrived and sitting behind me to my left hissed, "MISS! MISS! The light from your phone is VERY distracting."
"So sorry." I blushed and shoved my phone in my bag.
With that, the hisser proceeded to begin to unwrap food from home. His food was wrapped in what sounded like an entire box of aluminium foil and he took his sweet time undoing the tin origami that contained his precious home food, which in and of itself is gross. No home food in the movies, c'mon. What is that, a turkey leg? Disgusting!
Anyway, I ask you: which is worse? My cell phone light or his prolonged tin foil symphony?
My second solo movie night was to go see Winter's Bone, which my mother described as "very you" and my Uncle Ted insisted I see. (Review: It's really good, but it's no The Secrets In Their Eyes.)
Once again, big, old man is sitting behind me to my left. This was probably a different big, old man. But San Francisco IS a small town. Anyway, my phone stayed under my seat and I behaved myself the entire time, having learned my lesson from the hisser.
So BOM (big, old man) has a big, old bag of popcorn. Popcorn at the movies is an American pastime. Nothing wrong with popcorn at the movies. But BOM had no concept of the silent handful of popcorn into the mouth. It was all hands rusting inside the bag, touching every kernel. One corn at a time, he'd eat. Rustle, rustle, rustle. Chew, chew, chew.
It became all I could hear. I began to wonder how long this could go on, when he'd finish his fucking popcorn. I started to calculate the number of kernels he had in there. Maybe 300? How much time was left in the movie and how long was each kernel taking? I was doing the math, and shooting the occasional look as if to say, "Are you okay? It sounds like you're having trouble with something."
That's the thing about being at the movies by yourself. With no one there to distract you, little shit can drive you nuts, be it tin foil, paper bag-hand or... someone's cell phone light.
All things considered, I still stand by my personal motto: When I do it, it's okay. When you do it, it's not.
Which in and of itself is an American pastime...


Tim said...

Yes, texting is worse.

But I will admit I am a bring-food-from-home-(or burrito joint)-guy.

I am also a shusher.

sfmike said...

You're by yourself, so move already. Don't tell me there was anybody at the theatre for "Winter's Bone" besides yourself and some crazy dude. Indignant, nasty comments at Big Old Men are also allowed as you plow right over them to get to another section of the theatre.

Maria said...

I love to see movies by myself, I once went and saw three in a row, it was heaven. I do occasionally bring in Taco Bell, lol, but usually just outside snacks that cost less than those at the concession stand, I just can't afford it. I think the light is worse, I've learned to block out the food noises somehow. I was the house manager for several plays at the high school and anytime someone took out there cell, the light is distracting for all the people sitting behind them, for rows and rows. I'm not a shusher though, I'll typically move since I don't want to feel any negative karma directed at me through the whole movie. I love your "BOM" acronym, lol, had me laughing out loud!
Btw, I just stumbled upon your blog by clicking "Next Blog" at the top and yours came up after several others. And you personal motto is probably the motto of most...