Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rude People and Rancid Smells: A Rant on the Modern Movie-Going Experience

What better way to ring in the New Year than to head to the movie theater to catch up on some of the upcoming Oscar nomination hopefuls… or so this was our thought on New Year’s morning as DubMC and I gradually shook off our hangovers. With so many great options out there, it was hard to choose which lucky film(s) would begin our year.

Our first big screen treat of the day was True Grit, playing at our standard mega-chain theater. In the famous last words…what could POSSIBLY go wrong? Well let me tell you…

The first film viewing went off relatively without a hitch, with the exception of one incident: part way through True Grit, the obese woman next to us decided she just had to answer her cell, pushing her way past us as she took the call, proceeding to talk for a minute in the middle of the aisle, and then making us move for her again as she made her way back to her seat. Annoying but if that’s it, then no big deal, right?

Well the second film we chose is one we’d been dying to see since its release, yet with so many other Oscar-worthy flicks in theaters right now, it had fallen by the wayside. So we made our way to the small theater down the street, which shows movies that are smaller releases or ones that are no longer showing at the major theaters.

We were actually really excited to be patrons of a theater with such a cool small town, locally-run feel to it (not to mention inexpensive!), even if that meant sacrificing the luxury of stadium seating. Little did we know what we were truly in for…

We walked into the back of the old-school theater during the previews, and decided to take some center seats towards the back so that we wouldn’t have to walk in front of too many other fellow movie-goers. The seats required that we squeeze past a nice looking couple sitting in the aisle seats. Since it was still previews, we figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. We figured wrong. This “nice” couple apparently didn’t want to let us in, and when we said “excuse me” and tried to gracefully squeeze past, they refused to move and the woman actually started shrieking at us. Yes, shrieking…as if we had mugged her. Oooookaaaaay. Guess we’ll find some different seats.

A few rows up we decided to try again, and this time squeezed in to some center seats without trouble. Oh, but of course it’s not that simple.

Just after sitting down, the strong scent of cologne/perfume washed over me – a stale musky floral so strong that it permeated the flavor of my popcorn. Since we were still getting through the previews, we again thought it wouldn’t be too much trouble to move to different seats, where we wouldn’t wind up with a headache by the film’s opening credits.

It must have been grumpy old movie-goer day at this theater, because after I politely apologized to the two women on the aisle seats and asked that we be excused to get by (again, it’s not like the movie had even started yet), the woman stared at me like I was a monster and began to degrade me, as if I had just hit her car. What kind of crowd had we stumbled upon?!?

We finally settled down into some nice unobstructed aisle seats, seemingly free from rude people and nauseating smells. Phew! Oh, but it gets worse…

Just when the movie began and I had finally gotten over the shock of the belligerents in the room…a homeless woman wheeled herself down the aisle, popcorn in hand, stopping intermittently to talk loudly to herself until she reached the front of the theater. I wondered how she could afford the movie ticket, not to mention the popcorn, but I thought to myself, “How nice, maybe someone treated her to it as a token of Holiday cheer.”

Bah humbug to you, whichever generous soul gifted us with this treat. We thought the nauseating smells were gone. Oh no, no such luck.

Suddenly a wave of…well how do I put this politely? Suddenly a wave of homeless person smell invaded my nostrils. You know what I’m talking about…the smell of urine-soaked clothes mixed with body odor, and musty soil, topped off with the stench of a filthy gas station restroom.

Just when I started wondering where this was coming from, I was reminded…it was at this point in the movie when the homeless woman began yelling profanities at the screen, screaming at characters as if they had personally offended her, and then shaking her cane in the air. Yup. Shaking her cane in the air, and also fist pumping as high as she could reach, casting shadows all over the bottom of the screen. This continued for the rest of the movie, until people started “shushing” her (which was only met with more profanities).

Next (yes, there’s a next)…

I noticed that the woman in front of us propped her foot up on the seat in front of her…her bare foot. Of course.

And then…

The person behind us started snoring.

And then…

The homeless smell waved over us again. I took out my chapstick and even put it under my nose to try to mask the smell. Someone else in the theater sprayed perfume. I think it was actually the same distinct perfume that caused us to move seats in the first place. Yet by this point, the perfume came as a welcome cover-up.

Truly, you can’t make this stuff up. By the end of the movie, the audience cheered…a round of applause I believe equally parts intended for the excellent film as well as our unique commentator. We couldn’t get out fast enough. I must say though, despite all of these things, I still really loved The King’s Speech. So that must say a lot!

I step down from my soap box…for now.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails