I was going to write about hometown and sense of place but here we are. Please feel free to share your own bad, worst, or weird experiences seeing movies in the theater. Inspired by friend and illustrator Kevin Budnik.
- Edgewater, Chicago. 2006 or 2007. Village North. It’s called The New 400 now, and I guess they have alcohol or something. I saw a lot of movies there in college, including The Butterfly Effect at 11am in an altered state (I laughed hysterically and inappropriately at Ashton Kutcher the parapalegic, sorry – SPOILERS), horror movies with my friend Jim, and Blade III, where a theater-goer yelled “I thought vampires knew how to DRESS!” during a pivotal moment. Anyway, onto the main event: I was on the second or third date with a guy I could tell wasn’t that into me, but I really liked him and was holding out hope that accepting his lukewarm invitations to hang out would make him like me more (spoiler: it didn’t work). There was a blonde woman in the movie, and every time she came on screen the very crazy woman in front of us turned around, stared intently at us, and said loudly to him: “That looks like your girl!” He laughed uncomfortably, a short little heh heh heh. The worst part of this is I can’t remember the movie.
- Ann Arbor, Michigan. 2011. Don’t remember the theater. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with my boyfriend’s parents. Sorry, boyfriend’s parents. I think you read this. It wasn’t you. It wasn’t even the worst, not by a long shot. Just. Yeah.
- San Francisco, California. 1998. Don’t remember the theater. Wrongfully Accused. Trip back to the city where I spent the first eight years of my life. Seeing old friends, yay. Not yay: fervently trying to ignore your childhood best friend’s friends making out loudly to your right, all to the tune of one of Leslie Nielsen’s clunkier works. They began with hand-holding, which weirded 13-year-old me out a little but I could deal. I was jealous: my acne was in full bloom, and no one wanted to hold my hand during Sandra Bernhard’s brief cameo. Then their faces drifted closer and their lips touched. His hands drifted to her waist and butt. They groped. The awkwardness deepened, while I struggled desperately to pay attention to a movie the New York Times would describe as “a tangle of funny ideas all dressed up with nowhere to go” – oddly enough, the same descriptor I apply to myself today.
- St. Paul, Minnesota, 1994 or 1995. Grandview Theater. Angels in the Outfield. Even as a pre-teen with questionable taste (I really liked Dragonheart), I knew it was pretty bad.
- Edgewater, Chicago. 2003. Village North again. The Matrix Revolutions. It wasn’t good. I made everyone go to the 10pm show, and could feel their tired, irate eyes on me as we piled out. Sorry guys. I was too chicken to get a fake ID but didn’t want to go home. My favorite part was my roommate explaining the mythological references. God, what nerds.