It was a simple enough idea. It even sounded fun. A group of us had gotten together and were trying to figure out what do for the rest of the evening.
“Let’s go see a movie.”
Ahahahaha. Little did I know.
First came the inevitable 20 minutes of indecision. “What do you want to see?” “I dunno, what do you want do see?”
We tried reframing the question to “Well, what does everybody like?” The answers:
“Well, I only like foreign films about obscure subjects with hard-to-read subtitles.” (There’s one in every crowd.)
After several more minutes of this, someone thought to pick up a newspaper to see what was actually playing. We didn’t come to a decision per se, but we did manage to locate a theatre that had several different shows playing. Of course, Chandra’s Universal Law #21 was in full effect, which is: When several people park in a person’s driveway and then decide to go somewhere as a group, the most easily accessible car will be the smallest. Corollary: That car will also belong to the worst driver of the group.
I won’t say much about the drive except that it involved piling into a Neon (seats 6 uncomfortably!), and received a White Knuckle Rating of 7.3 (out of 5). Indeed, I can’t say much because my lawyer informs me that there are still questions as to what happened with the flying hubcap and the bicycle messenger.
After we finished picking bits of parking barricade out of the front grill of the car, we again attempted to choose a movie. Someone came up with the clever idea of selecting it according to what rating everybody felt comfortable with. This proved harder than we thought, because ratings really work like this:
Rated G: Suitable for today’s kindergarten kids, which means it uses the f-word.
Rated PG: Suitable for the teeny-bopper crowd, which means the soundtrack will be the most important feature and will contain songs by “Gargle,” “Record Playing Backward,” and “Your Worst Nightmare.” Also means that you will not hear any dialogue, especially on cheap night, because said teenyboppers will say “Cool!” and “Da bomb!” at every neato special effect.
PG-13: If this is an action flick, only thirteen people die in the first ten minutes. If this is a romantic film, they delay the sex scene until thirteen minutes into the film.
Rated R: If this is an action flick, thirteen people die every ten minutes. If this is a romantic film, the first thirteen minutes are one long sex scene.
Rated NC-17: Films with this rating will use the f-word, deal with mature subject matter often with people dying, and will show you every square inch of a naked woman’s body. Relax though; you will not see male full-frontal nudity, because movies are not Equal Nudity Opportunity Employers.
We finally picked a cheery, upbeat film about the possibility of a large hunk of rock falling from the sky and obliterating life on earth. At the concession stand I chose to buy a pop (Ingredients: 95% vaguely-cola flavoured syrup, 5% soda water with carbonation carefully removed) and a bucket of popcorn (55% oily substance, 10% salt, 10% extra-yellowish colouring for authentic looking butter effects and 35% soft product once waved over a corn field). Fortunately, I had coupons for this, so it only cost half a week’s pay.
By this time of course, we were late and the lights were already dim. The theatre was quite full, which meant that our options included the Nosebleed/”What did he say?” section or the Visit the Chiropractor Afterward/”Hey look, I’m part of the action!” section. Ushers with flashlights are a thing of the past, so we decided not to risk venturing up front.
…excuse me, pardon me, oh, sorry, was that your drink? excuse me, coming through, man, who left the gum on the floor???….
Since the run time of the movie was listed as just one hour, fifty-six minutes, they only had time for eight movie previews. The neat thing about previews, however, is that they are edited so brilliantly that they reveal only the beginning, middle and ending of a movie. This is perhaps why you are charged $8 and up for admission: because you get to see several movies all in one go.
Once it got rolling, the movie was quite good. It was well acted, carefully filmed, had excellent dialogue, and was both thrilling and philosophical. I particularly enjoyed the part that went like this:
HERO: No! Don’t die! Not now, I love you so much. I cannot live without you!
HEROINE: [faintly] I will be with you, always, in spirit . . . just hold me . . .
CHILD IN THE SEAT IN FRONT OF YOU: MOM!!! I’m bored! Can we go home??
Remind me of this the next time I complain about watching films by the cold light of the VCR flashing 12:00, 12:00, 12:00, 12:00 . . .
To read more of Chandra's work, visit www.ChandraKClarke.com.