Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Particularly Disjointed Rant

It’s happening to me! I can’t believe it. I just did it. I just did the thing that my grandmother, and many senior citizens, does that drives me crazy. But you can’t get mad at them because they’re old. Now I’ve just done it so that means that either I am old and senile or…..something.

Here’s the deal. I was reading Will Leitch’s post on Deadspin about he and his best friend’s years-long tradition of vying for Dork King crowns by compiling their own personal Oscar nominations list the night before the actual nominations are announced. They even talk on the phone for hours about their choices the night before the nominations are announced. Will Leitch, you are not making this intense, burning crush I have on you any easier to justify. But that opened up a dialog between myself and the other guy who works in my cubicle who boldly stated this morning, “It’s snowing outside and I don’t feel like working today.” And by snow, he meant this:

So we started talking about movies.

Here’s the thing: I like movies. But I hate actually going to see movies, if that makes sense. I have never felt transported into a magical realm for two hours. I have never felt engrossed and completely wrapped up in the pitch black embrace of a theater. Movie theaters are usually 15 degrees too hot/cold. Concessions are expensive and the idea of 100 or so people sitting in the dark while all simultaneously gorging on junk food sounds like the subject of an upcoming Tyra Banks show about the hottest new eating disorder amongst teen girls. Or a Nine Inch Nails video or something. The worst part about movies is that other people also go to the movies. Maybe I should only go see really bad films during matinee hours. Seriously, I cannot handle other people when I go to the movies. Most of the time it’s when they laugh at something that isn’t funny and I feel alternately left out or fighting my urge to stand up, pause the film and ask each one why exactly they found that amusing. And contrary to popular thought, it’s not just people talking during the movie and it’s certainly not confined to non-art house mall cinemas. When I worked at the Magnolia Theater, we had 28 Days Later before it was on wide release. It was at one showing of that movie that an Australian woman thought it would be no biggie to bring her 4 month old child with her because “he sleeps a lot.” Apparently, times that he doesn’t like to sleep include times when there are sudden loud screams and zombie attacks brought to you in ear-splitting Dolby Digital. Weird. Other than proving that Australians have not evolved very far from their criminal lineage, this illustrates why I don’t like to go to movies. And since I don’t get wrapped up in many, if any films, enough to not do thinks like get up and walk around/make a phone call/check to see if that Jello I made is setting, viewing movies at my home is probably the best idea for everyone involved.

So I told my co-worker that I feel conflicted. I always want to see the movies that are being shortlisted for the Globes or Oscars. I usually think a lot of those movies look like movies I want to see. But there’s a vast ocean of indifference and annoyance that stands between the sentiment of wanting to see said movies and actually going to see them. It would be like if the only place in town that served your favorite meal of all time just happened to be a dentist’s office. If I were to make this a math equation, my desire to see Oscar-contender movies is less than or equal to (but most likely not) my ability to sit in a dark room with strangers and listen to them eat with their mouths open for two hours.

But that’s the point in the conversation where it happened. When naming all the movies I wanted to but was not willing to see, I listed Doubt and Milk and Gran Tourino and Frost/Nixon and then, “Christina Goes to a Wedding or Rachel at a Marriage or whatever.” That’s what my grandmother does. She is 80 so she feels like she has earned the privilege of not having to learn the actual, correct names of anything she wants to talk about. One time she told me that she saw a drummer on a PBS special who was dressed really sharply in a suit and she was surprised because, according to her, “drummers wear sweatshirts.” I really liked this theory and wanted to know who was this beat-keeping rapscallion she spoke so highly of. It turned out to be, in her words, “the drummer for Huey and the Newspapers.” That’s Huey Lewis and the News for anyone who has never had to talk about Huey Lewis and the News with your elderly grandparent. Don’t even get her fired up by talking to her about her least favorite radio personality, “Rush Lindbergh.” I think he’s probably so conservative and angry because someone kidnapped his baby. She was super bummed out when her favorite show “Dr. Quinn’s Medicine” was cancelled back in the 90’s. Now lest you think that I am in any way making fun of my grandmother, let me make it clear that she is a vibrant, intelligent and funny 80 year old woman with whom you can discuss, once you figure out that she’s referring to “Adaptation” and not “Adoption”, Charlie Kaufman films with. In fact, my tribute to the fact that she is still alive and kicking and pretty agile-minded is that I rarely correct her title or name jumbles. But I always think, “Oh man, I hope someone corrects me when I get old and change the names of everything.” Then it happened today. One week into my 28th year of life.

The worst part is that my coworker didn’t correct me and instead just nodded and went, “Yeah, that looks ok too.”


megat said...

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danpaul said...

it's cool. i went to the magnum last night and saw slumlord million dollars. it was pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

Amen and amen. Hate theaters, hate theatergoers, hate spending a lot of money on movies. Have no issue whatsoever with downloading the movie and watching it from the comfort of bed, and my morals don't make me feel guilty for not putting my hard earned cash in actors' pockets. Up until a couple of months ago, I had only seen one film at the cinema in a year. The fact I've seen two this year already is totally unexplainable.
That said, I do really want to see Frost/Nixon and I will kind of feel bad about not paying a few dollars to Ron Howard for the effort. Can I pay pal him $8?

Tom said...

My grandmother had a strange vocabulary, and we never knew if it was from age or a lack of understanding modern technology.
Still, we grandchildren work to keep her strange language alive, with such things as "chip-chocolate cookies" and "man-made turkey."