Coming Distractions

Since leaving college, going to the movies by myself is one of my favorite things to do. I get to see whatever I want and I can go at a moments notice. And instead of talking to the person in the seat next to me, I get to observe people engaging in the most curious behavior, behavior that they think no one sees. But they’re wrong.

I have paranoia about being late for things. More than anything I hate getting to a movie late and being forced to climb and stumble past a bunch of strangers, simultaneously falling forwards and backwards while thrusting my crotch and or ass into their face while they sit motionless and gnaw on a twizzler like the last piece of candy they ate was a skittle they found on the floor when they were 3.

So I try to get there as early as I can. And oftentimes I go early in the week to see a movie that’s been out for some time ensuring a smaller audience. My ultimate goal is to see a movie by myself but it hasn’t happened yet. The closest I came was me and 1 other guy.

But if you go the movies on different days, you will notice the differences in the type of people that attend the movies on those days.

Early in the week you tend to find couples who are comfortable with each other, people who just want to spend some time around each other and see a film. They don’t need trays of popcorn, candy, and nachos. They are comfortable just hanging out.

Them and creeps. They go early in the week too. No not me, OTHER creeps.

As for Friday Saturday nights? Those are the couples looking to make a statement, proud guys and flashy girls. Less than impressive girls with spray painted on jeans and aggressive hair holding hands with steroidal hulks wearing baby doll t-shirts that make their biceps look like aliens trying to hatch from pods while they carry 92 ounce cups of soda and enough nachos to feed Oaxaca.

“Hey date of mine; don’t my intergalactic arms and Mexican fiesta make you think more of me? No? What about the pool of Axe I bathed in before coming here?”

Large groups of loud teenagers complete with shoe gazing boys and peacocking girls, coming out to the universe while still combating the horrible and wonderful after effects of puberty appear as well. They to be loud and draw attention, combating their insecurities with extroverted behavior and loud jokes (I wouldn’t know anything about that.)

And as for the Sunday Matinee? Why, old people of course. It’s half priced movie time. They’ve been up since 5 in the morning, so going to a movie at 1 pm is practically a night out on the town. By the time they get out at 3:30 it’s just in time for a late night dinner and lights out by 5. It’s downright adorable to see them lined up around the block from the small independent movie theater in my town. It’s like watching a really excited group of people in super slow motion.

Aside from the obvious differences in the types of people, seeing a movie by yourself also helps you realize certain trends in behavior.

I have been in several movies where there is quite a lengthy pause between the announcements (no smoking, no cell phones, no Macarena-ing) and the first trailer. People on average have about 13 seconds of tolerance before they start verbalizing unhelpful condescension to the audience. Phrases like, “um hello?” or “I didn’t pay 12 dollars to NOT watch a movie” and other such witty banter.

And then somebody ultimately turns around and looks up at the projection booth.
What are they looking for?

Do they expect to see absolute mayhem as hundreds of feet of film come flying out of that tiny hole in the wall, the projectionist hanging from the ledge by a finger while some giddy baboon with a spear in one hand throws trash at the audience with the other?

No. There is nothing to see up there. I’m sure whatever is not happening on the screen is known to the little man in the booth up there. There really is probably only one instance when nobody is aware what has happened and that is if the projectionist dies and I bet that happens like once a year tops.

The behavior doesn’t get any better when you go to see the new Star Trek at 11 o’clock in the morning the week after it opens. That’s an interesting crew.

And of course for this particular performance there was another opportunity for hilarious improvised commentary. You know that light music that is playing when you walk into the theater before any sort of theatrical trailer starts? It is basically elevator music.

Well when halfway into the film at a crucial moment when the characters are hurtling through space without a parachute… the soundtrack died and a crappy country music song came on like the credits had just finished rolling and it was time to leave.

It was a bit incongruous. A giant drill of fire, characters fighting with swords and intergalactic guns all while some whiney chick complained about her sundress and her guitar.

It went on for like 5 minutes prompting commentary like, “I guess this qualifies as technical difficulties” and the less eloquent “HEYYYYYY!”

Even I thought about getting into the act with something like, “I don’t think anybody in Queens ever paid $11.50 to listen to country music.” But I was able to restrain myself.

All in all going to the movies by yourself is quite the character study. Especially when its Star Trek on a Sunday morning, because you know every other individual person in the theater is looking at every other individual in the theater and thinking the same thing;