My “Movie Date”

NaBloPoMoDayTwoI went to the movies the other night. I know. I know. People do that sort of thing all the time. I am not one of these people. My being at the movies is an exception, rather than the rule. Or, you know, a sign of the apocalypse. Okay, so THAT didn’t happen. But it could have.

Going to the movies requires that I leave the house. And put on pants. Outside of going to work where, sadly, they require me to wear pants or to the grocery store, where one can play fast and loose with the definition of “pants” (and I often do), I don’t make plans for my down time that involve clothes with zippers and/or buttons.

I made an exception the other night, though. Because a friend invited me. She is what I consider a “pants-worthy” friend. She is also my new “movie date”. She proved herself worthy of that, too.

I’ll bet you’d like to know how she proved this, wouldn’t you? It’s very simple, really. She agreed to see the taped version of the live stage play of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The one with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. Yeah. Instead of what we had planned on seeing, which was St. Vincent, she got all Masterpiece Theatre with me and we saw Frankenstein instead.

And you know what? It was great. And it was different. It was something that we would not have otherwise had the opportunity to see, considering we live pretty far from London’s West End. (And, really, do you think I’d fly across the Atlantic Ocean to see a play? Me? The woman who barely leaves the house because she doesn’t want to put on pants?)

Guess what we’re doing next week? We’re going to see a taped performance of the recent Broadway version of Of Mice and Men. The one with James Franco and Chris O’Dowd.

I know what some of you are thinking. You’re thinking, “Doesn’t she live near Manhattan?” Yes. Yes, I do. But I never got there to see this play, even though I really wanted to. It was on my radar, but I was busy. And it was expensive. So, now, I’ll get to see it for $18, plus no one will know that I’m wearing pants without a zipper. No one will “shush” me or admonish me in any way when I open up my bag of Twizzlers, either. That’s a bonus. Yeah. I’m really looking forward to it.

I may just become one of those, what do you call them? Moviegoers?

This one’s for you, Rhea! Thanks for being the best movie date EVER!

Breaking with Tradition

I saw Life of Pi tonight. It’s a beautiful movie. It wasn’t the highlight of my night, though. What was? Seeing the trailer for Les Miserables. I cannot wait! It opens December 25th. Merry Christmas to me! Maybe.

I’m not what you call a moviegoer. Not by a long shot. But, every once in a while I get worked up about a movie and I just HAVE to see it on opening day! (Harry Potter and The Passion of the Christ, for example.) A Christmas Day opening is a little problematic, though. Damn kid. Damn husband. Damn Family. It’s not like I can sneak out of the house on Christmas Day. My absence would not go unnoticed.

My Christmas day activities are, mostly, kitchen and cleaning-related. If you like and in keeping with the movie theme, you may want to think of me as a slightly better dressed Dobby, the house elf. I make breakfast, which includes dragging out the giant electric griddle so that two pounds of Scottish sausage can be fried up in one fell swoop. (And eggs for those who have not developed a severe case of lactose intolerance, like yours truly!) Then I have to clean up wrapping paper and gift bags. (Checking carefully for hidden gift cards and cash before disposing of them— keeping in mind the great “going through the garbage debacle of 2008”!). After everyone has had time to digest the Scottish sausage sandwiches, it’s time for dessert— Belgian waffles and ice cream. Then I get to clean the kitchen and scavenge the living room floor for the errant ribbon on which the cat will surely choke.

Now, it’s time to relax. For everyone else. They sit around playing with their new toys, watching television, and generally relaxing, while the clean-up committee organizes everyone’s gifts/bags/boxes and puts them away— to make room for the next meal.

For this I jump from Scotland and Belgium over to Italy. Our Christmas is nothing if it’s not an international culinary journey. So, shortly after cleaning up brunch, I work on the cold antipasto and the lasagna. Over the years I’ve considered adding French toast and Danish to this extravaganza, but that would just be ridiculous (as if what I usually make is normal).

When I first brought up the possibility of breaking with tradition this year, my husband saw fit to remind me that we’re not Jewish. We aren’t really anything, but I guess his reason was as good as my daughter’s. Hers being that she works at the movie theater. Again, so what? I don’t expect they’ll see her there and press her into service. My mother (who speaks for my father in these matters) protested that the cost of getting Chinese food for so many people would be outrageous. Yeah. Because all the food I usually cook doesn’t cost a small fortune! My sisters haven’t weighed in yet, but I expect they’ll concoct their own crazy reasons for being against my plan.

I have been trying to make the argument that a cinematic version of a French book with a multinational cast followed by some Chinese take-out fits right in with our diverse traditions. So far, as you can see, no one’s buying it. This house elf is hoping for a Christmas miracle!

photo credit:

Technical Difficulties

I may be an asshole. I don’t know. Usually I do know. When I’m being one, that is. But, this time, well, it could be a gray area. You decide.

I went to the movies yesterday with my injured friend. We saw the one with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis. It was fine. A nice, uplifting, run-of-the-mill tale of regular folks triumphing over “the man”, led by a couple of unlikely heroines. I don’t remember the name of it.

I realized later that I may not watch movies the same way other people do. I don’t go to the movies very often because I get a little antsy in theaters. My mind tends to wander, which causes me, very often, to miss the point. One would have to be pretty darn dense to miss the point of this movie, though. Still, my mind wandered. I may have become a little too focused on things other than the plot. Like, for example, Viola Davis’ wardrobe, which included lots of sweaters and wrap dresses that I loved (loved!).

As much as I liked the wardrobe choices, the hairstyles and make-up were distracting. Viola Davis looked kind of disheveled and poor Maggie was sporting a 1970s “shag”.

The worst, by far, though was Holly Hunter. I don’t know if her character was based on a real-life person (Viola’s and Maggie’s were, but sometimes they add, remove, or combine characters in these “based on actual events” movies). It may have been a wig. I don’t know. It was atrocious. It eclipsed her very small, finely-featured face. Her hair resembled a helmet. A blonde, poorly highlighted helmet. The make-up that was used on her washed her out; she just looked pale and beady-eyed under all that horrible hair. I can only assume that she had done something terrible to someone on the set who was determined to make her look old and unattractive. In future, perhaps she should be nicer.

Also, it was driving me a little crazy that I couldn’t place the actor who played Viola’s husband. My friend suggested it might be RuPaul out of drag. It wasn’t, of course, but this image only served to further muddy the waters of my already addled brain. Finally, about three-quarters of the way through the film, I figured it out (he’s on “Fringe”). Luckily, he’s bald and very, very black, so no hair or make-up damage could be inflicted upon him.

About halfway through the movie, there was some excitement. Not on the screen, though. The theater experienced some technical difficulty. There was sound, but no picture. No one got excited for the first minute, hoping, I guess, that the video would right itself. It didn’t. This is where the movie got interesting for me.

Little by little, people started to get up and leave the theater, I assumed to alert someone of the problem. Okay. Then a woman in front of me jumped out of her seat, turned on her phone for exta light, and bounded up the aisle toward the projection booth. She began to pound on what I guessed was the door. At this point I burst out laughing. With that, she spun around and directed her phone light toward me. As she did so, I saw that her lips were pursed and her hand was on her hip. Clearly she meant business. I couldn’t help myself. Her behavior and her posture made me laugh even harder.

Satisfied that she had found the perpetrator, she came down the couple of steps toward me. I was still laughing. My companion nudged me with her good elbow, I suppose she was trying to alert me to the other woman’s presence, but I knew she was there. I just couldn’t really say anything because I was laughing so hard. At the fact that this crazy woman actually thought there was a person in the projection booth. In 2012.

I composed myself as best as I could and, shielding my eyes from what I was beginning to think of as her “interrogation” light, looked up at her. She asked me what was so funny. As if she didn’t know. I felt some more elbowing from my friend, but I just couldn’t help myself. I said, “You are. Oh, my God. Do you think there is an actual person in that booth? Do you think this is 1972? Or were you hoping to encounter ‘The Great and Powerful Oz’?” To which she replied, very excitedly, “Well, someone had to do something.” That was it. I started laughing again. She just stood there for a few more seconds. Then she went back to her seat. And waited, with the rest of us, for the video to kick in again.

It did. It started up from where it had cut out a few minutes before. No harm. No foul. And I got to have a few laughs in the interim. So, it had all worked out as far as I was concerned. I thought the excitement was over. I was wrong.

When the movie ended and we were all filing out I heard this guy who was directly behind me very rudely ask one of the young ladies who was on her way in to clean the theater “Where the Manager at?” “O, my God”, I thought, “I am surrounded by crazy people.” I was surprised that his companion was not the woman hell bent on finding the projectionist. He looked at me, all defiant and pleased with himself, and said, “What?”

My friend grabbed my arm and shook her head “No” at me. But I made the concscious decision to call him out. So, I looked him straight in the eye (which was kind of hard, as he was about 6’3″) and said, “What? Let me guess, you are going to lodge a complaint about the video cutting out on the bargain matinee movie. The video that was fixed in a few minutes. The video that was restarted where it cut out, causing no one to miss one second of the movie. A movie whose storyline any five-year-old could have followed, with or without the missing scene. A scene that was not, in fact, missed. That’s your plan, right? Which, by the way, I don’t care about. I don’t give a hoot that you are going to find a manager, who gets paid to listen to people like yo. Sadly you’ll probably get a free movie because of the trauma you clearly had to suffer because of a little technical problem. Really. I don’t. But, here’s what I do care about: That you felt the need to be rude to a couple of teenage employees. That’s just ridiculous. And, let me just ask you, where are your manners at?”

His response? He didn’t have one. Nothing. Silence. Crickets.

Whatever. I wasn’t trying to tangle with him. I just wanted to get the point across that being disrespectful to a couple of minimum wage workers was not okay.

I visited the bathroom on the way out of the theater. While I was washing my hands an elderly woman told me that I was brave for confronting the guy (I guess because he was a pretty big guy). I thanked her, but realized that I didn’t feel so much brave as I felt disappointed.

In my job I have to put up with nonsense like that every day. As an added bonus, I get to take it with a smile. I hate when people speak disrespectfully to me or to my coworkers. I really hate it when bullies and buffoons treat workers in public places (supermarkets, drug stores, retail stores, etc.) like crap and often for no other reason than “just because they can”. So, maybe I tend to overreact when I have the opportunity to speak up for them (and, by extension, for me).

Also, I just find the whole “entitled consumer” act to be such bullshit. I would like to see one retail establishment make it their policy that if your complaint includes treating their employees poorly, in the process of explaining your problem, that all bets are off, so to speak. You get nothing. And let’s put “irate” into perspective, too, shall we? You don’t need to behave as if someone stole your wallet if the cashier charged you twice for the blackberries. People make mistakes.

Maybe it was a mistake to say anything to the guy. Maybe not. Maybe he’ll think twice before he behaves that way again. But, probably not.

Maybe I shouldn’t have laughed at the woman during the technical difficulty or, at least, refrained from making the “Oz” comment. Maybe I was an asshole, too. Maybe not. I don’t know. You decide.