Ever since my friend fainted in the middle of Apocalypto (it’s always the water birth), I have been fascinated with the mechanics of a moviegoing experience. Who gets there at noon? Who goes at midnight? Who arrives in the middle of the day for a 12 AM siesta? Vice versa? Everyone brings something different to the table, yet we all sit in the same chairs. It’s like being on the subway or knighted in Camelot. We’re always one hell of a motley crew.
The guy next to me is pumping 1.21 gigawatts of Mortal Kombat through his earbuds, like an IV. I’m not sure he hears it. You’d almost have to be deaf to listen to that volume. The noise could just as well be coming through my headphones, but I don’t have them with me. Disembodied. The sounds of “Techno-Syndrome” pound my ears like a timpani.
The great thing about this theme is it can be used in virtually any situation:
There are some places you just don’t bring your cell phone. iPhones, too, but I think they bring their people instead.It surprises me how few of us temper such habits. You go to a restaurant and see this couple. Engaged, no less, but not with each other. They are neither talking to nor looking at their dates. Sometimes, you don’t have anything to say. That’s fine; who wants to be with someone who always has something to say, if not to say it? With this said, I got the feeling they were just texting each other. Erotic.There is definitely a bunch who prefers text because it’s expressive. Especially those emojis. It can be hard to say certain things. Hard to find the right word, hard to articulate. Some things just look better on paper. A classic example: try saying, “antidisestablishmentarianism.” Isn’t it easier to type? And there’s more where that came from. The dictionary is useful, but not if you can’t find the right word. This is where iOS is app…licable.You only need to come up with the first couple letters and the rest is suggested, if not implied. More. If you have a really annoying voice, this will bump your Tindr game. Nobody will find out until you meet them in person. If you don’t like deceit, there’s a compromise. Just speak into the receiver and it will translate everything to text. Inversely, you could have Siri or Cortana say it. You still need to do all the same things, but the phone will do them for you.Having a thesaurus on tap is almost better than using your brain, if not having one. It’s easy to be hesitant while figuring out the most noncommittal way to say something. Many are using abridged vocabulary. Shakespeare is said to have had an enormous, 60,000-word lexicon. The truth is, I would rather keep a small set. You’re better off knowing ten words really well than being shaky with tens of thousands. Use it or lose it.Someday, people will think the thesaurus is a dinosaur. Anyway, there are a number of places in which using phones is dangerous business. I never touch it when I’m crossing the street on foot or wheel. Balconies, swimming pools, bathrooms, subways. All off limits. You know, I’m still ambivalent about phones on planes. I know they say it’s safe, but I’d rather play it safe. They give me a Snakes on a Plane vibe.Speaking of death wishes, I will never understand the people who peek over the subway platform, looking for their destiny. Somehow this is supposed to be a savvy move. Get a leg up on the saddle, get a leg up on contenders. Once they see the train, they must think, ‘Okay, now I really have to stand here. I was standing here before, but now I know why.’ The thing is, your saddle is 150 horse power per axle.‘Lifting your leg’ is essentially giving license for 80-90 thousand tons of steel to jam you at 30 mph. It’s like a dog with a fire hydrant, except the hydrant is marking territory. They are like muggles who accidentally stumbled into Platform 9 ¾ and now they can’t see the train. But this is fiction. Not only can you hear the train, you can see it. The only way to miss it is by leaning over and getting spanked in the face cheeks.Standing so close to the edge, you have a small margin for error. All it takes is a gust of wind or a drop in air pressure. If someone passes gas in the corner, you could find yourself lying on the tracks. Anybody with vicious intent can easily bump you. You become a pushover.
Take a few steps back. At least now, if you trip, strangers have an excuse not to catch you. Common courtesy. Furthermore, you can get a running start for when the doors open.Additionally, you give yourself a couple of seconds to see whether this is going to be one of those weird subway cars. The ones where somebody is doing something and you don’t know if it’s considered normal behavior somewhere. Perhaps in the privacy of lodging. Entering a home comes with a certain amount of respect. This amount can’t necessarily be quantified. Shelter is priceless. Lights are on, but it isn’t clear if anyone is home. (Noted: my title sounds like an xxx movie theater.)
You feel like you should take your shoes off before you get on the subway. Who knows what’s on the bottom? There are times when people get on and start performing. In fact, you can’t always tell if something is being performed. You’re like, ‘Not only do they appear want money, but I’m not even sure if they actually do. It would be much easier to justify donation if I knew. You want to support starving artists, but not dying art. Dead in the watercolor.The job market is tough. In the back of your head, you think, ‘This could me someday.’ Don’t burn any bridges or tunnels. There may come a time when you need a place to stay. Some say, “If I gave all my money to charity, I would need it.” This is the same as saying your vote ‘doesn’t count.’ A vote of confidence can change the balance. Then again, you don’t want anyone to think money grows on your limbs like tree branches.Sometimes, the performers are really good, but you still don’t want to give them any money. Earlier, I mentioned Mortal Kombat. This guy was actually on the subway and not in a movie theater, as you may have expected. At first, I thought he was pumping himself up to deal with work. But now I think he was actually pumping himself up to deal with the subway. He was scoring the human drama. On a good day, the subway is like a networking event. You just mingle. On a bad day, it’s not. Like the subway, movie theaters ship you off into untold depths of imagination. There is always a new surprise lurking behind you. Walls of graffiti rush by like subtitles. The automated announcer croons the name of every stop like a narrator. Rats sing for you like mice in a Disney cartoon.
No two trips are ever the same. It’s true of the subway and the theater.
Maybe it’s the same seats or even some of the same people. You could argue it’s the same movie or the same ride. But even if it’s the same day, it’s a different time of day. And if it’s the same time, it’s obviously a different day. Wednesdays have a totally different vibe from Thursdays. If gigawatt had a matinée, he could probably get away with loud music. The only difference between the subway and a movie theater is Mortal Kombat.I’m thinking of a scene that can be problematic if interpreted specifically:
In his case, he is on a matinée subway. Numerous people do treat movie theaters like subway cars and others act like the latter is their living room, if not just in it. Movies are supposed to transport you into fantasy, not your living room. If you get too comfortable, you’re liable to fall asleep. I can’t remember the movies I slept through. I don’t remember them because I don’t remember seeing them. Angels and Demons, Citizen Kane, The Bourne Legacy, King Kong. King Kong is the kind of movie where you fall asleep for 40 minutes, wake up, and don’t even make a dent. You fall asleep again and, after 30 more minutes, transcend the middle. When you open your eyes, you are sure you must have run into the next showing. Nope. Have you ever woken up on the wrong side of town? It’s like you missed your stop, except you find out it’s on the way back. For the record, I actually liked this movie from what I remember.For as long as I can R.E.M.ember, if not longer, I have had trouble sleeping. I never napped. Movies were the dreams I could never sleep through. When somebody disrupts the interval, I can tell, if not tell them off. It’s always instructive to discover unique jerks so I can refine my Pokédex and reconcile their existence with the enormity of the universe. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring a new kind of asshole. Let me rephrase that.A lot of the time, the dregs of society go untethered. Many offenders can ruin experiences. In the middle of a movie, somebody just snores. Immediately, everybody has involuntarily synchronized their breathing with his sinus infection. He’s like The Music Man or a Pied Piper in this one-sided game of Indian Chief. We’re supposed to have pity on his deviated septum, but I didn’t pay $20 to facilitate a cocaine habit!It’s not that they go unnoticed, but nobody says anything. I feel the rationalization is being passive-aggressive does a more refined kind of damage because it’s classier. Laissez-faire justice, you know? Why would you do him the favor of informing him that he’s a dick? He can learn, if at all, the hard way. Getting kicked out of a movie is not enough punishment for disrupting it. Instead, you sacrifice the next few hours to get revenge in posterity.In the real world, people don’t put up with that kind of stuff or stuffiness. He will answer to God. All this negligence is reminiscent of Kitty Genovese and the bystander effect, except in this case people are refraining from murder. On the other hand, if you actually do say something, a lot of people will think you’re just as bad. It’s transitive or something. You tell him to shut up, but now everybody is telling you to shut up, as if things weren’t bad enough when you were quiet.They are just like you, of course, but being twice removed from the disgrace absolves any accessory. In this culture, we have actors, critics, and critics of critics. Every other grade of analysis is considered pedestrian. In other words, disparagement at higher levels of periphery fades into anonymity. This is why you have disturbed individuals trolling like it’s Beowulf. It’s easier to give the third degree with three degrees of separation. Critics on critics on critics.Trolls trolling trolls are trolls. It’s just like someone calling you an asshole for calling them one. ‘The real assholes are the ones who identify others.’ He who smelt it dealt it. As I suggested, the movie theater has revealed a new concoction. In the midst of a climactic scene in The Martian, some guy ripped off a truly mammoth snore. One guy, one snore. Ubiquitous. It sounded like two people, but maybe they were just the nostrils. (This is less true of the present than the Cretaceous period.)
You want let it go, but the whole installment was just so aggressive that it has to be rehearsed.You can’t think too hard about the mysteries of the universe. That is, you can think as hard as you want, but it’s like going nowhere fast. Think light. If you don’t really think about anything, you don’t have to be wrong. You can just be an idiot. Hold on.How do I know this was a guy? Acoustics. It has to do with the register of the snore. We are not talking about an alto soprano snort. I mean, I guess it could have been a deep alto, but then we’re talking falsetto.When he did this, everybody gasped. We harmonized. It was disembodied, like that Mortal Kombat music. I’m not sure anyone was certain of the source because it came from everywhere and nowhere at once. If you can imagine whispering and shouting at the same time, you’ve got it. This mastermind almost seemed to tap into the house speakers. It’s like his vocal chords were double jointed. Did a Mars rover get stuck in the mud? If I didn’t know any better, I would have called it surround sound.
He marked a minor stain on the otherwise enjoyable Matt Damon vehicle. Hearing someone snore so loudly in the middle of a movie can almost take you out of the picture as much as falling asleep. Almost as much as as dreaming about snoring in a movie. Or snoring in the movie itself. Know your limits. If you pass out after drinking, pass out elsewhere. If you pass out after thinking, think light. Don’t put yourself in a position to snore if you can score.Put your team in a position to win championships. Compete. Multiple multiple championships. Be that exemplary audience member who goes out of his way to get out of the way. If you set an example, maybe someone who was thinking of snoring won’t do it. Make an example of yourself. Be the pedestrian Gotham deserves and needs. This brings me to the biggest question of all. Do you clap at the end? Everybody’s doing it. You want to be a team player.You know what? Every team needs one guy to show them doing it wrong. Improvise. Arch to the clap of your own hands. Thunder clap. ‘No, don’t do it.’ ‘Why? Shy?’ ‘I’m just a guy.’ So much peer pressure from just yourself. You need to silence the voice in your head and use the one on your shoulders. You do have a voice, don’t you? Indoor voice, outdoor voice. Indoor clap, outdoor clap. Golf clap. The same goes for everyone. Indoor kid, outdoor kid.
Indoors is the same as outdoors, but with walls.
All the same, it’s all the same. Sometimes the clap is just the clap. Have you ever been to the end of a movie? You probably know what I’m talking about, if not clapping about. Think about this for a moment. How absurd is clapping? You’re just clanging your meathooks together like it’s a jam session. If you’re not at a jamboree, no one who made the film can even hear you giving thanks. It’s not the premiere. But you want your voice to be heard. Herd.If we learned one thing from The Martian, it’s that, in space, no one can hear you clap. What’s the point? Irony? Percussive metalinguistics. On the one hand, everybody claps for themselves. They are clapping for themselves clapping for themselves. ‘We did a great job watching this movie.’ On the other hand, they are clapping for the movie. If you join in, you become part of a distilled community. You almost expect someone to clap you on the back.It’s the echo of an echo. And the original word was, too. “Echo, echo.” Echo the foxtrot golf clap. Put together, these things make you think people enter a fugue state in the theater. It’s like they ran into a wall and mistook the space between The Martian and Yakuza Apocalypse for entryway into cinematic wonder. Narnia for adults. “You keep banging your head against that wall.” “I know. It feels so good when I stop.”Maybe that’s the conservative strategy for seeing movies, if nothing else. If nothing, stars. Enjoy. During the opening of Steve Jobs, I realized I had the distinction of being seated next to the most obnoxious indoor laugh this side of an imposter. Uncompromising and forceful, it absorbed other laughs like Majin Buu and the Z Fighters. Great name for a band. If he wasn’t already, he would soon be seeing stars.
Not on my account, but on account of the riot escalating in his echochamber. Talk about Shifty Shellshock. Moving that laugh is like embarking on the Titanic. The chances of being stopped are very slim. Worst of all and best in show, he committed to his craft like a merchant who trades in poison. You need a GoPro for that thing. Well, you can’t really fault someone laughing genuinely, if generously. It’s like bringing a crying baby into church. Babies gonna baby.Not long after he sat down, I recognized him. It was like seeing an old friend. During a trailer for The Big Short, the big snort reared its ugly muzzle. By “ugly,” I just mean it wasn’t pretty. This was a robust, potent snore evoking a diesel engine or shimmering sheet metal. It was like revving a lawn mower on astroturf. You’re just not supposed to do it. Anyway, I knew the cause. He was giving a pointed, machismo-deflating rejoinder to an admittedly fratty-looking trailer.
“Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt. Who wants that? At least find some actors who make the Global Financial Crisis as unappealing to look at as it was. Entertainment? Why bother with good acting? It’s more realistic if they can’t. Real people don’t know how to act.” “It does kind of look like The Wolf of Wall Street, except it isn’t.” “But 90s pump and dump paved the way for subprime mortgage bundles just like paving Wall Street enabled The Big Short.”“Different times, different crimes. In fact, this is more about betting on the bubble than betting against it, so to speak.” “It’s opportunistic, just like Steve Jobs. But, you know what? Maybe I am wrong. I’ll give you that one for free. Then again, if I don’t know what I’m talking about, you sure as heck don’t either. You can take that one to the bank, asshole.” Something tells me it wouldn’t be worth its weight in salt, but I can’t put my finger on what.I need scientific data to show that quotation it’s wrong. It’d help if I could identify the intuition telling me so. Experiments might unveil information that, interpreted right, justify investigation.
“Yo, this is you from the future.”
“How’d you get into my site?”
“I never changed the password.”
Future BC: “Lo, The Wolf of Wall Street is entertaining.”
BC: “I could have told you that.”
F BC: “Actually, I’m saying this as a reminder to tell yourself when you become me.”
BC: “Did I forget?”
F BC: “No, but this will give you a talking point if you get in my position. Subjectivity is capital.”
BC: “Implement my opinion by capitalizing on others. Wolf was nominated. How did it score?”
F BC: “Mid-high 70’s.”
BC: “Thank you.”
F BC: “Small taters. You look it up anyway. Posts never write themselves.”
BC: “You made a paradox just to tell me things I’m about to find out?”
F BC: “It’s not the only reason. I was summoned here by that science you did.”
BC: “Yeah, but all I did was look up the housing crisis on Wikipedia.”
F BC: “A momentary lapse in attention is sufficient.”
BC: “For time travel?”
F BC: “Maybe, but certainly for the detour. I encourage use of The Wolf to counter enmity for its foundation.”
BC: “How’d you know what I’m thinking about, anyway?”
F BC: “I read the post before commenting. You know it’s too long?”
BC: “Would you like to edit it?”
F BC: “No thanks. Been there, didn’t do that. When I’m from, The Big Short just came out. It’s good.”
BC: “You liked it?”
F BC: “I actually haven’t seen it, but I check reviews.”
BC: “You haven’t seen it? How do you know which site to trust?”
F BC: “You’ll figure that out later. It’s the topic for another post.”
F BC: “I was typing it until you brought me.”
BC: “I’ll let you get back to your…time.”
F BC: “Obliged.”
BC: “Is there a word I say? I don’t really know how this works.”
F BC: “Oh, me neither. As far as I know, I’m stuck.”
BC: “Did it happen to you before?”
F BC: “I’m not a dick, no.”
BC: “I honestly didn’t know. I could have done anything. Zero.”
F BC: “You should be speculating what happened instead of listing everything you didn’t do.”
BC: “Of course. I’ll help you in any way I can. Do you think my site has magical properties?”
F BC: “Why? Do you have a glossary of spells?”
BC: “No, but I do have Harry Potter.”
F BC: “It’s a start.”
BC: “Let’s start from the top. Avada…”
F BC: “Why don’t you try alakazam? Abracadabra?”
BC: “Abracadabra alakazam!”
F BC: “You know what? I’ll just do my own research.”
BC: “Okay. In the mean time, feel free to work on my site. Our site. Maybe you can finish that post you’re writing. I’ll be around if you want help.”
F BC: “The tables have turned. Initially, I gave useless advice. Now I’m taking it.”
BC: “From me?”
F BC: “From myself.”
I kind of fell into a cinema in a cinema. What was the point?This movie. That movie. I’m supposed to use my proprietary enjoyment of WOWS in conjunction with its reception and the knowledge of Big Short‘s triumph in the face of this antagonistic quotation. They stand alone, yet together.Everything isn’t for everyone. Many movies aren’t intended for you. It’s not all bad. Judge entertainment on its merits, not the money it takes or makes. The Wolf of Wall Street didn’t break the bank insofar as it made bank. If you didn’t like that, don’t buy it. Many did. On some level, that makes it good, no matter what anyone says. I will be the last person to say you didn’t get it so long as you are the first. You don’t have to be first in line to see The Big Short. Dislike.Anyway, their ilk are the much-maligned scoff inducers. The lazy boys. Over the summer, I went to a movie theater I hadn’t visited in awhile. Payment was due. The management changed a few things. Inside Out. My theater was retrofitted with new chairs: lazy boys. Automated for perfection. Although the screen was still small, it was cozy. Kind of like watching a movie in your living room. If I was ever going to get that nap, this was the time. I didn’t sleep a wink. Wink.