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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cinephobe

Back in the days, I used to love going to the movies. Pickles and I used to go all the time, multiple times during a week or on a weekend. Once we went to 3 different movies in three different theaters on the same day. As often as possible, we’d try to see a movie on its opening day. We had an on-going contest with a childhood friend of mine that I'll just call Paste Eater. The goal was to try to see what ever cool movie that was out at the time before he did and if we failed at that, then we had to at least try to see the movie more times than he did.

These days going to the cinema really does not appeal to me. My earlier activities may have contributed to the burn out or maybe it has to do with the whole home theater set up in our apartment. Here in Germany, there’s assigned seating (numbered rows and seats) and some seats (i.e. "the good ones") are more expensive. Not only that, but some theaters also charge an extra fee for movies that are "too long" (like over 2 hours or so). But most of all, it’s the other people in the audience. They all really get on my nerves, with their whispering/talking and eating crunchy snacks and breathing.

Despite that, Ms. X convinced me to go to "Sneak Preview" on Monday in Streits Filmtheater.

"A sneak preview of what?" – that was my first question.

Ms. X politely informed me that you don’t find out what movie is playing until it starts.

Surprises make me very nervous. Still, I enjoy Ms. X’s company and there’s not a whole lot of common ground between us in terms of activities that we mutually enjoy. I don’t like shopping and she doesn’t like drinking beer (or coffee). So we settled on the cinema. I figured at worst, I’d have to sit through a lame romantic comedy or a boring historical drama.

When we arrived Monday night, she mentioned, "Oh yeah, there’s also kind of like audience participation involved. People shout stuff at the screens and the organizers throw out bags of chips before the movie starts. You should stand up and catch one."

Ugh. It was already too stressful.

After the obligatory 30 minutes of Coming Soon previews, there was another twenty or so odd minutes of trailers shown, which marked the official start of the "Sneak Preview" experiece. Alongside trailers to upcoming movies, they also showed "older" ones (e.g. Transformers and The Bourne Ultimatum and Rumble in the Bronx, the last one apparently seemed to be some kind of in-joke for the majority of the audience). The crowd expressed their like or dislike of a particular trailer via cheers or boos (respectively). In this respect, it was a combination of the things that I hate about going to the movies, combined with the frustration of watching a video on VHS on a VCR with no remote control or fast forward button…

Hmmmm…

Then, a split second before the movie actually started, a thought occurred to me:
"What if it’s not a cheesy romantic comedy or a historical drama? What if it’s (gasp) a horror movie…with knives?!"

I think I would have been kind of pissed off, because typically my fee for sitting through a horror movie is a six pack of beer.

Lucky for Ms. X, I saw Jason Statham’s name in the opening credits (the movie being Death Race)…and I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass what the man does in a movie, as long as he does some shirtless pull-ups at some point along the line. Rawr

The movie itself was entertaining, even though there was some stabbiness and other graphic violence that I could have really done without. It wasn’t like the campy and hilarious violence in the original film Death Race 2000 (i.e. mowing down innocent pedestrians).

I’m not going to be too complainy, because I did have a pretty good time. Also Streits Filmtheater is taking up the mantel of Grindelpalast (which closed down earlier this year) by showing English language movies, a worthy cause (in my opinion). That said, if I wanted to pay to see a movie in a theater where I can talk at the screen without fear of reproach – then I’d go to a $3.50 matinee at Tinseltown USA on Martin Luther King Blvd on the northeast side of OKC. It’s pretty much the order of the day there

Zing!

2 comments:

pickles said...

Of course, going to Tinseltown means taking the chance of suffering from stab wounds. It is the eastside afterall :p

lebrookski said...

good point...hopefully the stabbing would occur outside after the movie, so you can get your full money's worth of adventure!