Sunday, August 12, 2007

Casting Call

We rarely go to the movies any more. Okay, I admit it's my fault. It's not just the over inflated prices [which is why we go to matinees] or the popcorn which would be cheaper if you just bought the field from the farmer. And to be honest, Surround Sound is more than my sensitive ears really enjoy. The problem is my patience level. I have patience with many things in life but someone kicking my seat while asking loudly, "Well WHY did he do that?" through an entire movie sends my patience from a 10 to 0 in less than thirty seconds. I usually just do the quick turn and glare move. At our previous movie outing my seat was kicked so hard that by fourth time I turned around to ask the woman to please keep her children under control..and MOM was the kicker. Sigh.

Today we went to see "The Bourne Ultimatum". I'm sure hubby wondered why I wanted to see what is essentially the quintessential guy flick but any movie staring David Strahairn is on my list to see. We arrived a little early, which is not the norm, so when we chose a seat, there were only 7 other people in the theater. You have to love stadium seating if you're short like me and I found a spot on the aisle [in case of fire drills or terrorist attacks] with no giant sitting in front of me. While we munched on the saltiest popcorn in existence, I noted the people around me...it's the writer in me, I look and wonder about their stories. There were two 20-something guys behind us, probably there for the promised excellent car-chase-leading-to-spectacular-crash scenes. A solitary guy, possibly military, with a solemn expression who kept kicking the line holding my seat. From the size of him I was thinking the glare wouldn't work. A young couple on a date. The last pair were two rows down to our left and from the conversation drifting up, it was safe to assume they were gay, if not a couple.

I want to point out now that mentioning the gay couple last wasn't judgmental, it just turned out to be the beginning of what for a moment looked like a social experiment. The next pair to enter were a mother and her mentally handicapped daughter who appeared to be in her early twenties. The young woman found everything funny at first and giggled until her mother asked her to quiet down. In an interesting turn of events when they sat down with a mere seat between them and the gay gentlemen, one of the men looked at the girl and groused, "Oh great!" What was interesting was to watch this young woman eat a single piece of popcorn as if she'd never encountered any before...a nibble, pulling back to look at the kernel, another nibble, another look until it was all gone. And then she went on to her second piece.

The next couple to enter elicited silent groans from almost everyone: Mom, Dad and baby so small I thought the guy had a purse instead of a baby carrier. I will give him credit: when little darling started crying, he walked out with her. Mom sat stoically and didn't even watch him go out the door. Several more couples poured in, most of which featured guys with shaved heads, making me turn to my husband and comment that his gray headed self had more hair than all of them.

It seemed like every time the door opened, a new stereotype walked through the door; an elderly black gentleman in a stylish driver cap. A young lady who looked lost, searched for a seat as if trying to locate treasure off a map, finally found one, kicked off her shoes and put her feet on the rail as if she was home on the couch. A couple in their late 20s who had obviously just begun dating recently...they really should've spent the money on a room instead of a movie since they looked at each other more than the screen. But they were comical...him laughing hysterically at every cute thing she offered, her looking adoringly, both almost in the same chair. Their comedy routine was trumped, however, when a very large older couple showed up and the woman kept telling her hubby to just move around in the seat until it fit. I'm not making fun of them because of their size but because of her insistence he could get comfy if he only tried.

My favorites were two little old ladies, one with a cane, in their early 70s. Almost everyone in the theater looked at them as if they were in the wrong theater. I choked back a laugh thinking they were probably there to eyeball Matt Damon...and there I was, considerably younger, thinking the best looking man in the cast was a guy who's 58 and has gray hair. When an Asian family sat in front of us, I whispered to my hubby, "Okay we're missing the Hispanic and Native American contingent, otherwise I think all bases are covered."

And maybe variety is the secret. With the theater half full and the lights down, I awaited the inevitable person to kick my seat or ask questions loudly or explain to their seat mate what would happen next. You could've heard a pin drop in that theater during a movie which was over two hours long. The only sounds were shared laughter in sync, as if we'd rehearsed ahead of time. They were the most polite, enjoyable audience I've shared a movie with for many years.

It was enough to make me want to take their names and numbers to ask what movie we'd all be going to see next.

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

I haven't been to a theater in about a year now! Too easy to just watch a DVD at home and as you said the experience isn't all that pleasant these days. With the smaller theaters it's like your in a living room anyway. I miss the days of BIG move theaters and Big Screens!!! I mean BIG!!! screens. And when people weren't used to watching movies at home and talking through them, and forgetting this shouldn't carry over to the public theater. Sounds like you had a good experience though...by the way...how was the movie? :-)