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David Poland

By David Poland

Theater Experiences

Inspired by comments in another post, it feels like 4th of July is a good time to share stories about the experience of going to the movies.

I have lots of stories, but I always think of going to one of the last shows at the State & Lake in Chicago and seeing Gremlins with my 2 pre-teen nephews, who had not experienced the “urban moviegoing experience” before. No one had told them, they could talk to the movie before this, so they spent most of the show watching the audience instead of the movie.

Or my first R-rated movie, “Pete & Tillie,” which featured semi-nudity by Walter Matthau and Carol Burnett. My dad kept taking me to the candy counter when he thought a sex scene was about to start. And invariably, it wouldnt actually happen until he’d walked me back into the theater… at which point I got eye muffs.

These were the same two boys that I showed Reservior Dogs at 10 & 13… Not very good judgment there… But that’s a DVD story….

What memories do you have?

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69 Responses to “Theater Experiences”

  1. nikki whisperer says:

    Most of my childhood was spent going to drive-ins, because that way my mom could smoke in her old station wagon. There used to be a 4-screen drive-in in the Valley, on the lot where the big Pacific Winnetka multiplex stands now. I saw STAR WARS for the first time at a drive-in, on a double bill with the forgotten Alan Arkin gem FIRE SALE.

    I am big on being respectful in theatres — I hate talkers and texters — but sometimes I have a hard time repressing laughter if a movie is ridiculous. I remember seeing all-time camp classic THE BOOST at the AMC Century City and laughing hysterically with my friends all the way through it; I literally thought it was one of the funniest movies I’d ever seen. When the lights came on, a couple glared at us and said “Thanks for ruining the movie for us.” I felt guilty, but what is one to do in a situation like that? I had the same thing happen to me when I saw THE COLOR PURPLE. I guess I have a fucked-up sense of humor.

  2. LexG says:


    Saw Penn’s downer drama “The Crossing Guard” in a section of Pittsburgh that’s kind of a bar district. There were like ten people in this giant auditorium, this pindrop-quiet slow-paced movie, and somewhere in the back some really unpleasant drunken yokel heckling and catcalling the entire movie, with some white-trash chick on his shoulder. Dude was bored out of his mind and apparently was expecting Jack to cut up and be Crazy Jack the whole time; Any time Nicholson did fucking ANYTHING, this guy’s all, “Yeaaaaah, JACK!” Nicholson falls asleep on a topless Kari Wurher, and he shouts “You show that bitch, Jack! Show that bitch! Fuck yeah… Jaaaaaaaaaack!!!!” Fucking excruciating, but as always, nobody wants to call out an asshole because it ruins your time even more; These days I have no tolerance for that kinda thing and just walk out and call it a loss.

    Weirdest guy was in Century City at a matinee of “Keys to Tulsa,” one of those late 90s Tarantino ripoff movies with Stoltz and Spader. Some mentally ill white guy with a slurred speech would STAND UP every time a gun was on screen and yell, “Don’t be a bitch, use it! Blast him, don’t be a bitch!” The guy looked like Rupert Holmes in the “Him” days.

  3. Hobbette says:

    In 1982 I was working as an Au-Pair in The Hague in The Netherlands. Every Sunday I would go to the movies. In The Netherlands, movies are shown subtitled, not dubbed as are television programs.

    That year, the parents of the children I looked after traveled to the United States in the summer. When they came back, the mother had brought me some E.T. shoe laces and told me E.T. was the biggest thing going over there.

    E.T. wasn’t going to be released until December in The Netherlands. In October, they started selling tickets and my friend and I got tickets for 10am on the Sunday of opening weekend. The theater we were going to was one of the few (at that time) stadium seating theaters. The only trailer we had ever seen were the two fingers touching, so I had not one clue what the movie was about. I was so enthralled with the movie, I had no preconceived notions, I laughed and I cried. It is one of several special experiences I can recall going to the movies.

  4. nikki whisperer says:

    I also find it weird when an audience reacts in the exact opposite way they’re supposed to. I remember seeing PLATOON and during the Lt. Calley-esque scene where they massacre the innocent villagers and you’re supposed to be horrified, the majority of the audience was standing up and cheering like a bunch of frat boys at a wet T-shirt contest. And this was at a prestige art house on the Westside of L.A. Same thing happened when I saw NEVER DIE ALONE: during a key scene where it’s revealed what a sociopath DMX’s character is and he’s gotten his girlfriend strung-out on heroin and then decides to murder her by giving her a dime bag of battery acid, the audience was hooting and hollering “YEA-AHH!! YOU SHOW THAT BITCH, BOY!” Admittedly, I saw it at the late, lamented Magic Johnson theatre, but still….

  5. LexG says:

    Or like a theater-full of amped-up Valley vatos all calling Jeremy Davies “BITCH!” when he freezes up at the end of Private Ryan.

    When the trailer for the Dennis Quaid “The Rookie” ran before “Count of Monte Cristo,” it came preceded by the usual green-band with a “G for general audience” designation.

    Some dude in an indeterminate accent behind me exclaimed, “G RATE? What the fuck?”

  6. nikki whisperer says:

    I personally find that black audiences are more good-natured in their yelling at the screen than Latino ones. The Magic Johnson (now the Rave) on Crenshaw is definitely preferable to the Mann Plant in Van Nuys for a Friday night crowd. Some movies are particularly fun to see with a rowdy audience. I saw the theatrical re-release of SCARFACE about 7 years back at the Magic Johnson and it was epic. I was really disappointed when I went to see the Beyonce/Idris Elba movie OBSESSED there and the crowd was just ho-hum and barely talked at all.

  7. Tim DeGroot says:

    I took in a second viewing of Barton Fink at 9 pm on a Tuesday. With about a minute until showtime I was still the only person in the theater. I thought, “cool, my own private screening”, but then a middle-aged couple came in and sat in the front row. After the film ends I wait for them to pass by me and the old guy says “I liked the cops.”

  8. scooterzz says:

    when i was a kid, i went to a boarding school that only allowed us home every other weekend…on those weekends, i would jump on an early morning bus from studio city to hollywood blvd. and (after hitting up the used bookstores and magazine stands for vintage and current comic books) just go from theater to theater to theater seeing everything on the street…that would end with a bus trip back to studio city and catching whatever the last show was at the studio theater on ventura blvd. (now a bookstar)….i was 12 when i caught ‘the haunting’ at a late show there and when the movie was over at about midnight, i stood behind that box office for (literally) about an hour before i could get the nerve to walk the half-mile home…..even as a kid i appreciated that i was given absolutely no restrictions regarding what i read or watched but that night i actually questioned the intelligence of that….
    btw — i noted back in the day that my ‘personal best’ was 11 movies over the course of a weekend furlough…in hindsight, i think that may have included movies already in progress when i went in….

    nikki– in the summer of ’72, my wife was working part-time for a friend that owned ‘the round-up’ drive-in in scottsdale, arizona…my buddies and i spent almost every night there and my drive-in memories are some of my best….i feel kinda bad for kids who never got to do the drive-in ‘thing’….

  9. JKill says:

    I think one of the best theatrical experiences I can recall was seeing SIGNS on its opening weekend in the summer. It was basically exactly how you would want an audience to react to that kind of suspense movie: jumping at the scares, laughing (too loudly) at the comic relief, quiet as a mouse during the slower, more dramatic sections. From those opening credits, with the Bernard Herrman-esq score, the movie had gripped the audience, and it was an awesome time, a shining example of the communal aspect of going to the movies.

    One experience that was not dramatic but incredibly annoying was going to see PUBLIC ENEMIES. A married couple in front of me spent the entire movie chatting back and forth at the screen, often ridiculing the movie for historical innacuracies. It would be one thing if these two happened to be betrothed profs with a chip on their shoulders, but they literally had no clue what they were talking about, pointing out a lamp in the background, for instance, and tittering about how much better they were than this movie.

    Reactions to violence in the theater are often pretty fascinating. During NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN two younger teenagers would yell out “Awesome!” or “Yes!” anytime violence happened on screen, in a totally packed house that was otherwise reverent.

  10. nikki whisperer says:

    There’s still a drive-in in L.A. County: the Vineland in City of Industry. I actually went there to see GRINDHOUSE opening night, as I actually thought it would be the ideal way to experience it. Alas, not even being able to smoke, eat BBQ and drink liquor in my car was enough to make PLANET TERROR tolerable….

  11. JKill says:

    GRINDHOUSE is one of the most fun and best recent theatrical experiences I’ve had, mostly because it was so engineered for that experience. Except, I saw it in a nearly empty theater on Easter day. It felt like a private, vintage double-feature just for me, and I was with it all the way. I even sat much closer than I normally would to try to really feel overwhelmed with it, to made the stadium theater feel more intimate. I’ve always wondered how DEATH PROOF (which I adore), however, would play with a big crowd because of its unconventional pacing intermixed with very big pay-offs and crowd pleasing moments. I’ve had more than several empty or near empty theater experiences, that while not communal, were cool in their own way. That was probably my favorite of those.

  12. sanj says:

    first experience watching a real bad film with a group of
    people like 15 years ago .. we made fun of truly madly deeply for an entire month.. this was a real social
    experience … these days you hate a movie it takes 30 seconds to post on twitter

    here’s the trailer – DP you watch this ?

    also…are movies more special if you see it in a theatre that no longer exists… basically shut down to make room
    for another business.. that happened to me …it was replaced by a best buy … do movie critics care about historic movie theatres shutting down ? like would you try to save it if you went in once a year or would you try to save a theatre you go into like 50 times a year and that’s more historic.

    why isn’t there a reality show trying to save local theatres ? bunch of movie critics running around
    trying to save theatres by bringing in big movie stars ..
    of course it would be sponsored by netflix.

  13. LexG says:

    I’m generally all for seeing things with sparsely attended audiences, but, yeah, it’s interesting how Grindhouse plays with an affectionate crowd, vs how stale and lame it seems on Starz at 11pm on a Wednesday.

    Saw it at the Vista Theatre in L.A., packed house, with a bunch of geeks who got every reference and were hanging on every second– basically 350 Faracis and McWeenys all in one room cheering every second. It was like some transcendent communal experience between a roomful of likeminded 70s/80s megageeks and the theater screen– actually same theater, pretty much same deal with the Kill Bills and even, ugh, Machete. You come out thinking you’ve just seen some roof-raising masterpiece.

    Then on a 32-inch tube on your sofa, 11 months later, those movies (maybe not the Kill Bills, but definitely the Rodriguez ones) seem so juvenile and clunky.

  14. Boris Spassky says:

    My friend Samantha running out of the first Texas Chainsaw remake to vomit in the trashcan next to the theater door.

    That huge multiplex in Dublin, i forget the name, some backpacker came in and sat down during “The Savages” about 10 minutes in. Right when we see the shot of the fathers feet curling in his sleep she got a phone call and answered it. She had a four minute convo until I leaned right into her ear and instructed her to “walk to the exit sign and have this phone conversation somewhere else”— she screamed at me before ending the call and leaving the theater 15 minutes before the movie ended.

    Going to see “Junior” with my aunt (I think she was an alcoholic then) and being REALLY embarrassed when people told her to shut up and her yelling “It’s a comedy” right back. This is the same woman who got De Niro to tell her to “go fuck herself” at some benefit dinner in Tribeca. 🙂

    But nothing, NOTHING, can top the day my friends and I had off school so we went to see “Blair Witch 2: Book of Secrets” … that was a good time, throwing candy, pop corn, and ice at one another… if we were a little older we would have smoked a doobie, but the run-of-the-mill mischief was really fun to indulge at that age.

    … and finally— yelling at a gay couple who were talking throughout the entirity of “Brokeback Mountain” at a Ritz in Philly… looked over once, shooshed once, told them to be quiet once, shut up, and then the yelling. one of them looked me up and down and asked “what are you even here for?”… I replied “watching a movie— sorry i’m not here to jerk off my boyfriend.” I got kicked out… totally legit… it came off as a homophobic thing to say, but it’s totally ironic that it came about because I was more emotionally invested in the film than they were.

  15. christian says:

    GRINDHOUSE was a great opening night crowd – half who got every scratchy frame and half who weren’t sure — then a third of the theater left after PLANET TERROR and hung around the exit aisles as the faux-trailers started…then crept back to the seats as DEATH PROOF began…heard people whisper, “There’s another movie?”

  16. anghus says:

    Half the audience walked out of Grindhouse when i went to see it.

    Memorable movie experiences…. hmmmmmm

    Someone getting shot at the theater while watching Coming to America, which i wasnt supposed to be seeing because it was rated R. It wasn’t showing in the suburbs. We had to go to the downtown theater. It was me, a couple of friends, and a sold out almost all black audience. First time in that environment. I was 14, and i sat there marvelling at the conversations, the yelling at the screen, the people repeating a line 4 seconds after Eddie or Arsenio uttered it. Then the movie lets out, were walking outside, and someone starts shooting a gun. In my mind it plays out like the opening of Saving Private Ryan.

    I worked at a movie theater in college in the mid 1990’s. When Showgirls came out, there were all sorts of weirdos showing up to the theater. One day, one of the ushers walks out of the theater white as a sheet. I asked him what happened and he replies

    “This guy…. he was masturbating…. i said something, and then…. he shook it at me.” This was the first of 6 days of weird behavior. If there’s a record for finding popcorn boxes with holes in the bottom as you cleaned up the theater… we might have had a serious shot of breaking it.

    My favorite experience here in the Old South was watching Pan’s Labrynth in a packed theater, and the subtitles kick in. This one girl screams “NO ONE TOLD ME THIS WAS IN MEXICAN!” and walked out. About 25% of the audience was behind her by the end of the film.

    During Talladega Nights, the audience was loving it, and then at the end when Sascha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell start making out, the redneck Carolina audience just breaks out into uncomfortable laughter, and then yelling at the screen. And then some girl screamed “This has just ruined this movie for me.” In my mind, i always thought it was the same girl who served some vital function of going to the movies and making loud declaratory statements.

  17. SamLowry says:

    Had the theater to myself when “Fire Walk With Me” started, but not long after, during some very creepy business onscreen, someone entered the theater and sat right behind me. I scrunched down quite a bit for the rest of the movie and I think I held one of my hands near my throat all that time, just in case I needed to block a garrote. Wouldn’t have helped much if the weirdo decided to shoot me, stab me or jizz on the back of my head.

    It was that kind of movie.

  18. yancyskancy says:

    Sam – I had a similar thing when I went to the now-defunct State Theater in Pasadena, which showed classic double features. I think I was there for THE OLD DARK HOUSE. It was a sparse turnout, but just before the movie started a guy came in and sat right next to me. I’m the only other person in the row. He didn’t say anything, or even look at me, but I figured there was no way this was going to turn out well, so I moved. Gee, I hope I didn’t hurt his feelings.

    I’ll never forget seeing THE EXORCIST at a drive-in with my entire family (Mom, Dad, 4 kids). As we’re leaving, Dad turns on the radio, and the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” comes on. Freaky.

  19. Joe Straatmann says:

    Scream 4 (Refusing to put the number in the name) was actually a good movie with a really drunk crowd. Except for the “second” ending, which everyone could tell was bullshit.

    I remember going to the last showing of Black Hawk Down in town at 10 p.m. in the middle of a blizzard, and I figured I’d be the only person there. Nope. Some guy brought his kids, about 6-7 years old. Oh, good, endangering your children in the middle of a blizzard so you can take them to a very R-rated on a school night past their bedtime. They then started running around and playing tag during the first 20 minutes of the movie. They settled down when bodies started getting sawed in half by semi-automatic fire.

    The most annoying was a kid who wasn’t even watching the movie, but watching me the whole time during Spirited Away and shouting “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!” Thank goodness it wasn’t the first time I’d seen it.

    Most recently, a couple was making out throughout all of X-Men: First Class. That constant “smacking” noise is one of the most irritating things unless you’re doing it yourself. It was a good enough movie to overcome such distractions, but sheesh. I had no idea it was going to be a make-out movie. If the Cuban Missile Crisis gets you all hot and bothered, there’s a perfect film to be enjoyed in the privacy of your own home called Thirteen Days. You know, unless Kevin Costner with a bad Bahstahn accent has the same effect as cold water on the groin.

    EDIT: Apparently, X-Men: First Class has nothing on Mr. Popper’s Penguins as far as sexual arousal….

  20. al says:

    Grew up about a ten minute walk from a massive movie theater, thirteen screens, the works. I made friends with the people who worked there so got discounts and over the years must’ve spent more time in that theater than at home. Anyways, it got so I became quite good at dealing with talkers- memorably (I can’t remember what film) a couple in front of me yammered throughout all the previews and the first few minutes of the feature. I asked them to quiet down once or twice (I was a teenager at the time) and the guy kept ignoring me. Got up, walked down to the aisle below theirs, got so I was right in front of them and just stared impassively for a couple of minutes. They ended up leaving, and I’ve used that trick ever since

  21. Saw THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST at the restored 1894 Smith Opera House. The second reel was backward or something and the projectionist, upon noticing the problem, unthinkingly shouted, “Oh Christ!” Perfect explicative; perfect timing.

  22. leahnz says:

    too bad chucky’s no longer here to regale us with tales of dumb-ass jersey projectionists that should be shot

    i had a bad ‘could-swear-there’s-jizz-on-the-back-of-my-head’ moment, which i think i’ve recounted more than once, so probably my second weirdest would be while vising family in the states back in the day, i went with an old friend to see ‘airplane!’ on thanksgiving at some tinpot cinema in hawaii, us wisely concluding it would be a quiet afternoon at the movies after all the eating and drinking and drama and subsequent turkey stupor, surely we’d be the only ones who could be bothered going to the movies (but no), so we did some ‘shrooms before hand, and little did we know the joint would be packed and the movie was like the funniest thing in the history of the world (see: shrooms) — but clearly we weren’t the only ones to find it hilarious as the entire crowd was highly amused, and at some point – i think it was when the inflatable pilot blows up in the cockpit scene and everyone was hooting – this guy somewhere behind us stood up and quite loudly remarked, ‘i think i shit my pants’ and then proceeded to shuffle out of his row – probably with the people he was passing right at poohpants-level making ‘pee-yew’ faces as he squeezed past, at least that’s how i imagined it – and of course everyone was snickering (we certainly were). i always wondered if he’d just laughed so hard he sharted or what, maybe just good old fashioned diarrhea (perhaps he had the fish har de har).

    al, re: your technique, no wonder, they probably think you’re a fucking psycho, lol, christ, the mike myers silent stare routine. works every time

  23. al says:

    funny thing is I was polite as all hell, and even smiled as they left 🙂
    (now that you mention it though…)

    Another notable experience was my screening of Superman Returns. I was departing for extensive travels the afternoon of its release and wouldn’t be able to catch it for weeks. I’d managed to avoid reviews up to that point and as you can imagine the idea of a Bryan Singer directed Superman with Kevin Spacey and modern effects was a recipe for excitement. So… to cut a long story short I sweet talked one of the managers into screening the film the morning of my departure. I was literally alone in the cinema’s biggest room and to this day I wonder how much the experience colored my perception of the film (enjoyed it immensely and haven’t seen it since)

  24. actionman says:

    I’d argue that seeing Reservoir Dogs at an early age is GREAT PARENTING. I was a gun-obsessed young lad due to endless action films while I was growing up. My dad showed me Dogs when I was roughly 11 or 12 and it SCARED ME STRAIGHT as to what bullets can really do to a person. Watching Tim Roth bleed to death for the entire film has never left my memory banks.

  25. The Big Snake says:

    Contrary to a couple of the stories above, after 29 years of living in L.A., I’ve had only one instance where I paid for a movie ticket and had the theater to myself – a late Friday afternoon showing of MONKEYBONE in Westwood. Which I only bothered to see because I had previously read the script. I loved the feeling of not having to be embarrassed for laughing at something so primordially stupid.

  26. anghus says:

    on the subject of talkers, i went to see Midnight in Paris. There were two couples in their 50’s, and for the first 10 minutes they won’t stop talking. Full on, no attempt at being quiet.

    Eventually i turn to my wife and yell “So i guess these assholes are going to spend the entire film talking”. They stopped after that.

    I know the texters and the cell phone users are a fucking nightmare, but i’ll be damned every time the latest art house release rolls into town if i’m not perpetually dealing with older film patrons having full conversations about everything and anything. Most of the time they aren’t even talking about the movie they’e watching.

  27. Edward Havens says:

    My problem is, I have ten thousand stories about going to the movies. The day in 1992 I was able to squeeze in seven movies in commercial movie houses throughout Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Holding private screenings and getting drunk and stoned with a semi-famous 80s rock band every time they rolled in to my home town, once a year between 1986 and 1990. The dozens of times by friends and I would pile in to my 1964 Ford Falcon station wagon with folding chairs and coolers full of beer and wine coolers and head to the local drive-in for a double feature of crap from the likes of Cannon Films and Empire Pictures. The night my mother took me to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre for the first time, to see Marathon Man, and how I still hate to go to the dentist to this day. The night I lost my virginity in the projection booth, on Christmas Eve, to that hot blonde cashier I’d had my eye on for months. Discovering a truly special, unique and unexpected movies like True Stories and Something Wild, amidst utter crap like Soul Man and Tai-Pan and Jumping Jack Flash and fucking Solar Babies… there are just too many.

  28. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    anghus I hate to stereotype but in the last year or two my wife and I have encountered older people who talk throughout the entire movie nearly every time we’ve gone to the movies. A representative example is our experience seeing The Town at an average suburban multiplex. Despite seats available all over the place, two women in their 60s sat right next to us. They talked from the opening credits through the end credits. They asked each other questions about the plot, they pointed out action as it happened, and they flat-out ignored my direct requests for them to stop talking. Teenagers get criticized all the time but lately my experience has been that older people are way worse. They feel entitled to talk the entire time and I can’t believe how rude they are.

  29. Krebstar says:

    Went to a late night screening of Dracula 2000 the day after Christmas, and saw a pregnant woman cut the shit out of another woman’s face with a box cutter, apparently because she wanted her seat. This wasn’t like in the South Bronx or something either, it was as suburban a multiplex as you can find, nestled between a Home Depot and a Putt-Putt. Had to actually testify in court at the criminal trial, since as you can imagine, there weren’t a ton of witnesses at Dracula 2000….

  30. Boris Spassky says:

    amen Stella’s Boy… EVERY show I go to at any of the Ritz theaters in Philly are crowded with older couples that feel since the theater doesn’t allow ANYONE under the age of 16 in that it gives them the right to discuss, for example, Brad Pitt getting older throughout the entire second section of “Tree of Life.”

    Boomer entitlement. Real shocker, there.

  31. JJ says:

    In the 7th grade me and a buddy were pissed we just wasted money to see BioDome so we snuck into Dont Be A Menace in South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood. Was the first time being the only white people in the audience. Too this date I have never seen an audience laugh so hard at a movie. People were dancing in their seats and shouting out every movie that was being parodied.

    When I saw Private Parts a group of African Americans started making death threats to the Howard Stern after the kid version of himself started telling his friends why they were leaving the suburbs

    Getting kicked out of the theater for talking too much during the movie Powder. Me and my friends thought we were the only people in the theater, but there was a short old woman in the front row who said we offended her with all the insults we were making about the movie

    Ditching school to go see Half Baked on opening day and walked in the theater to see that about 50 other people in my high school had done the same.

    Sneaking into Speed with my friend the day I graduated 5th grade. We had just seen City Slickers 2 and were pissed how bad it was. Needless to say we were blown away by Speed. The next day I went with my dad to go see it and ended up running into my same friend i saw it with the day before who had also brought his dad.

  32. twicks says:

    A friend has a great story of seeing Wrath of Khan in a theater as a kid.

    A guy sat down behind him with a six pack and cracked open one beer after another through the entire thing. Drunk dude started sobbing during Spock’s big sacrifice, and finally, loudly puked his guts out. Cleared the entire theater.

  33. christian says:

    Krebstar for the horrible win.

  34. SamLowry says:

    “Drunk dude started sobbing during Spock’s big sacrifice”

    I suspect he knew it was coming, but had to prepare himself for such a scarring event.

    Let’s see Abrams top that!

  35. christian says:

    As Mr. Peel reminded me, INNERSPACE premiered today back in ’87 which I saw opening day, one of my most enjoyable movie-going experiences ever. That is all.

  36. yancyskancy says:

    Yes, definitely Krebstar FTW.

    Not a theater experience per se, but the greatest theater-related thing that ever happened to me was when the Arclight Hollywood accidentally credited me with 5,000 member points. Right around my birthday, too. I tried to do the right thing and reported it to a ticket cashier, then to customer service, but no one could figure out how to undo it. So for months I had free tickets and concessions. The gf and I saw everything our little hearts desired at the best (and most expensive) theaters in town.

  37. JKill says:

    Art house audiences are weird, because I would assume they would be more into the movie watching experience and they often go to movies that are quieter but they tend to actually be as loud, if not louder, than multiplex audiences. At LET THE RIGHT ONE IN a couple on a date spent the entire time in the small theater bantering back and forth, occasionally reading the subtitles aloud in a “humorous” fashion. My method of choice to stop disrupters is usually to stare straight at them, in an attempt to shame, which worked in that situation. This method, however, did not stop the woman, at a multiplex, who googled throughout the entirety of THE WOLFMAN…

    Yancy, that would be glorious.

  38. LexG says:


    Ugh, why is it playing at all the most inconvenient theaters? Come ON! I don’t wanna see this at the super-packed, teen-filled AMC. I wanted it to be at a nice second-tier place where I could get a row or two to myself. Bad enough I’m gonna have to say “Uh, one for Monte Carlo, please.” Thought I’d at least be able to do it at one of the lesser-attended places, or at least the Arclight.

  39. JKill says:

    Seeing MONTE CARLO by yourself shows some hardcore moviegoing dedication. A tip of the hat to you, sir.

    I go to most movies solo, have no problem with it, but when I saw something like NO STRING ATTACHED with just me, myself and I, it was hard not to duck down in my seat as packs of women on a “girl’s day out” enter the theater, and I’m just chilling by my lonesome.

  40. LexG says:

    I love romcoms, so I don’t generally have a problem with that, even though I’m sure the packs of ladies-day-out types are giggling at the lone wolf in row 3 for Eclipse or Valentine’s Day; But for all they know or care (which they don’t), I could just be a random gay guy, not some ogling fool.

    I’m always embarrassed to ask for “one ticket for…” when it’s something that’s been out for a while, or something REAL low-rent like “From Prada to Nada” or “Dylan Dog,” just because my fear is I’ll be the only paying customer, and the employees WEREN’T gonna show it if nobody bought a ticket. So when I show up 5 minutes into the trailer and ask for a matinee ticket for week six of “Thor” or some low-rent, unpublicized movie like “Cat Run,” they’re being forced to run the projectors just because of my dumb ass. Anyone know if they have to run it anyway, or it’s on a timer? That’s probably the case, but I always worry I’m making them spend money just to show it, and am duly relieved when there’s another paying customer or two when I get in there.

  41. JKill says:

    I’ve actually wondered that too. When I saw THE DEPARTED it wasn’t until its Academy Award re-release, months after it had already came out and was a hit. Well I had the theater entirely to myself during the week, and I sat and waited in the theater for ten minutes without the trailers playing or the lights going down. Eventually I walked out and said something, and then they played it. This makes me think they aren’t always on a timer, but I could be wrong.

  42. cadavra says:

    I remember going to a Saturday matinee of RESERVOIR DOGS at the now-gone GCC in Sherman Oaks. As I was leaving, I heard some dude behind me whining, “What a rip-off! All they did was fuckin’ talk about shootin’ that place up and ya never saw it!” I thought to myself, “How lovely. The one guy on the planet who thinks RESERVOIR DOGS isn’t violent enough–and he’s probably my neighbor.”

    Another favorite–apologies if I’ve told this before–was when I saw DRAGON TATTOO at the ArcLight in Hollywood. About seven other people in the theatre. Just as it was starting, two very stereotypical black guys sauntered in and plopped down in the front row. I thought, “Oh, brother, they saw ‘Dragon’ in the title and probably think this is a kung fu movie.” Sure enough, after about ten minutes of subtitles, snow and pasty white folks, one of them yelled, “MAN, FUCK THIS SHEE-IT!!” and they got up and sauntered out, never to return.

  43. It’s June 10th, 1993, about 8pm (I’m 13). I’m in my room reading a magazine (probably Entertainment Weekly or a Batman comic) around when my mom comes in and says that my dad is coming home early from a business trip and is picking me up so we can go see Jurassic Park at 10pm. Excited as all hell (this is the night before opening of course, with the whole 7pm-12am advance night thing going), I immediately grab my paperback copy of the Jurassic Park novel and finish the last 20 pages or so. Anyway, the film starts and… Remember this is before the Internet. NO ONE outside the critics circle has seen it and no one has published until opening day. Spielberg was coming off of Hook with all kinds of ‘has Spielberg lost it?’ rumbling running around the industry (or the part of the industry I’ve been exposed to). Point being, NOBODY had any clue that the movie was going to be this good, this scary, this intense and violent, this exciting, this epic, etc etc. Because the previews only hinted at it, NOBODY realized how great the dino FX were going to be. The entire crowd ate it up, myself and my dad included. Everybody screamed with nervous laughter when the T-Rex poked through the fence. Everybody laughed at Jeff Goldblum’s witticisms (“You think they’ll have that on the tour?”), and everybody jumped out and their chair and shit their pants when the raptor burst out of the wall right after Laura Dern turned the power back on. We both came home high on adrenaline, knowing we had seen a new modern classic.

    Yes, there was the whole father/son bonding thing, but it was also arguably the last time regular audiences could be (positively) shocked by a major film of that nature. These days, movie nuts like ourselves and even many general audience members pretty much know what to expect days if not weeks before going in. It feels so foreign today to walk into what was supposed to be the biggest film of the summer and have absolutely no idea what to expect. I could ramble on, but point-being, seeing Jurassic Park at a 10pm night-before screening… best movie going experience of my life.

  44. mg says:

    A small theater in the southern part of Germany. Word had it that one had to see this amazing movie with spaceships and lightsabers in it. The only theater in the vicinity of 15 miles, and a line around the block that defied anything I ever saw. We all piled in, there was no ac and a bunch of sweaty boys and teens wee anxiously waiting for the lights to go out. I’ll never, ever forget the moment when the crawl came up. That very moment alone (and everything that came afterwards) made me fall in love with movies.

  45. Tim DeGroot says:

    “Anyone know if they have to run it anyway, or it’s on a timer?”
    The AMC theater in Grand Rapids apparently runs films even if there are no customers. Last summer I went there to see Knight and Day and accidentally walked into the 2:45 show instead of the 4:00 show across the hall, and it was playing to an empty house. Pretty sad to see a Tom Cruise movie playing to no-one on a Saturday afternoon in June.

  46. Krillian says:

    First movie I have a memory of was Snow White when I was two years old. And all I remember is what the theater looked like when the lights up and the curtain went down.

    When I was 4, I remember waiting outside to see Star Wars for the first time. Some old guy looked at my Jawa t-shirt and R2-D2 socks and said “Looks like you’re ready to see this movie. Heh heh.”

    When I was 14, I snuck out and saw something called The Rocky Horror Picture Show, thanks to the crowd probably the funniest thing I’d ever seen. Made me think living in a castle full of bisexual aliens might be the way to go.

    When I was 16 I was visiting my grandmother and we went to see Arachnophobia in the San Jose/Mountain View CA area. The auditoriums were octagon shaped and I made a joke before it started that the beams on the ceiling looked like a giant spider-web. That freaked her out a bit and she grabbed my arm with every jump-scare, to where I had bruises by the end of the movie.

    I’ll never forget seeing Necessary Roughness and seeing the boom-mike about 15 different times. We didn’t know at the time it’s the projectionist’s fault; we thought NR had the worst editor ever.

    And I’ll also never forget how good it felt in 1999 to see the 20th Century Fox logo followed by the Lucasfilm logo with the familiar music, in semi-disbelief I was going back to this corner of the galaxy after 16 years. Downhill from there, but STILL!…

  47. Anghus says:

    I remember watching hellraiser 4 in the theater and seeing the boom mic in so many shots.

  48. The Pope says:

    Saw MUNICH in AMC Loews 72nd and 3rd Avenue, December 23rd (opening day of limited release).

    Place is packed, but I squirmed a seat near the front and in the center; my girlfriend went shopping instead. Absolutely electric screening. The only time in my life I have had three generations at a R-rated picture… where arguments broke out between families. The grandparents were vocal in their approval of Mossad’s revenge, and then their college-aged grandchildren telling them to shush and saying “Grandma, you can’t say that.” The only time the theater was quiet was for the killings. All the moral debates on screen were drowned out by arguments in the audience.

    Best screening I’ve ever been at.

  49. The Pope says:
  50. cadavra says:

    Tim: It’s called “dead-rolling,” and it’s done in case someone walks in after the movie’s started. In the old days, it would be done with the bulb off (hence the term), but in an era where one projectionist usually handles an entire complex, it’s less risky, if more costly, to simply leave the bulb on.

  51. mplo says:

    Memorable Movie experiences–here goes:

    As a sixth grader, back in 1963, when “The Disorderly Orderly”, starring Jerry Lewis, was out, my mom dropped my younger sister and I off to see it, at a now-defunct movie theatre in a nearby town to the one where my siblings and I grew up in. The whole theatre rocked with laughter, especially when the doctor showed the Disorderly Orderly the skeleton of a female, and he said “I know girls better when they’re apholstered.”

    Back in the very early 1960’s, when I was in third and fourth grade, our Town Hall used to show movies every Saturday morning. We’d always go, and, often enough, for better and for worse, we’d meet other kids that my sister and I both knew. Some of the movies included “Alice in Wonderland”, Dumbo, The Ugly Duckling, and a bunch of others. It was a memorable experience in itself.

    The summer before I entered the sixth grade, my sister and I both attended day camp out west. At least once a week, the whole camp would be taken out to a movie, during the day, yet. Among the movies we saw were Bon Voyage, Merrill’s Marauders, The Music Man, and a whole slew of other neat films.

    Fast forward to High school: Going to see some then-popular movies with friends at the Fine Arts Theatre, in Maynard, MA, which abutted the town that our public high school was located in. Memoriable movie experiences were The Endless Summer, Lion in Winter, Oliver, Georgy Girl, and a bunch of others.

    At around Christmastime of 1968, as a Senior in High School, I saw my alltime favorite film, West Side Story, for the very first time, at a now-defunct movie theatre about an hour north of Boston. I’d been introduced to the original Broadway stage music soundtrack for the first time six years before, but the movie was wonderful, and I fell in love with it right when I saw it.

    Since I was still a teenager (a high school Senior) when I first saw West Side Story, i was able to identify with the Jets, the Sharks and their girls, regarding kids being kids and so on, but when I got a little older, I had a somewhat different outlook in that I appreciated WSS not only for the story behind it, but for the cinematography, the Bernstein musical score, the beautiful choreography, and, just, in general for what the film West Side Story is: a great piece of art, which was kept as a larger than life-sized piece of theatre on screen.

    I’ve got several other really memorable movie experiences regarding the film West Side Story, so here we go again:

    Back when I was in college and working a summer job in a factory south of Boston and where my family and I resided at the time, I remember seeing an ad in the Arts/Movies section of the Boston Globe for a 15th-year screening of the film West Side Story. It just sort of leaped out at me! I was so excited, I was jumping up and down, and hollering, until my folks yelled at me to calm down.

    That Friday, when WSS opened, at a now-defunct theatre in downtown Boston, on the great big, wide screen, yet, our whole family took a trip downtown. While my parents and sister decided to see the movie “Children of Paradise” that was also showing at that same cinema, my younger brother and I went and saw “West Side Story”. Since West Side Story stuck around for three weeks, and I was working a fulltime summer job, I took full advantage of this, and went to see WSS every other night. It was great!

    West Side Story also played at the Wang Theatre’s great big screen, when they had their Monday Motion Picture Classic Series. As soon as I saw the ad in the paper, again, I was quite excited…and happy. The first time, however, I went right from my fulltime year-round job, and waited with everybody else in line, bought my ticket, ate my supper while waiting, and then sat in the balcony. Loads of fun and a great time seeing a great movie.

    West Side Story came two more times while the Wang theatre still had its Monday Motion Picture Series. The second time, I called and ordered two tickets for me and my brother’s girlfriend, before she became my sister in law, and then invited her to come along. She accepted the invitation. Again, the theatre was packed…more than likely to a sold out house. When the movie started, and the cameras were zeroing in on the finger-snapping Jets on the playground, everybody in the audience, including myself, began snapping their fingers along with Riff and the Jets in WSS. What a great time!

    Fast forward to 2001 to 2006. Twice in those five years, I drove down from Boston to the Big Apple to see some friends and relatives, and to take in screenings of the movie West Side Story.

    It was mid-August of 2001, a month before 9/11, when some old friends of mine who’d lived in Boston but moved down to NYC a number of years ago and who knew that West Side Story was my alltime favorite movie, to tell me about a special 40th-year screening of the film West Side Story, at NYC’s renowned Radio City Music Hall, in early October 2001. On instinct, I said yes, when they asked me if I wanted them to send off for some tickets for me. After a snafu, the tickets were observed, and I eagerly looked forward to that night.

    Saturday, October 6th, was the big day. I drove down to the Big Apple, parked near my cousin’s house way on the upper west side of Manhattan, and we hung around for afew hours before she and her husband left to go upcountry for the weekend, and they graciously let me stay in the condo for the night. Well, my friends and I arrived at Radio City Music Hall, and, with nothing more than a brief search of my purse, we were all let in. What a Saturday night out that was! West Side Story was restored to its former glory and color, cleaned up, reprinted and remastered, and it was beautiful. Radio City Music hall was packed with an exuberant, friendly crowd, and there was much finger-snapping and applause among the audience. Seeing old friends and relatives, along with a fabulous movie classic, was a badly-needed lift for me after a werd year that culminated in my father’s passing after a long illness.

    Five years later, on another forum, another woman posted a link for the Clearview/Ziegfeld Cinema, where there was to be a whole slew of Hollywood Musicals. Well, guess what? West Side Story was among them, and, unable to resist the temptation to go, and after thinking about it, I called my cousin on the upper west side of NYC. WSS was playing for a whole week at the Clearview Ziegfeld Cinema. Since Tuesday was the only night she could go, we went on Tuesday night. I was unable to get the tickets online for us, so she graciously helped out by getting the tickets online from her computer. Once again, it was on the Columbus Day Weekend. I drove down to NYC that Tuesday morning, parked near where my cousin lived, and hungout, talking to people, until my cousin got home from her teaching job in the Bronx at around four o’clock. We hung out for awhile in her apartment, ate a light supper, and took the train into midtown Manhattan for the movie. We had a great night, again. It worked. In exchange for her hospitality and her letting me stay overnight in her apartment, I brought my piano tuning tools, some cranberry juice, and some homemade chocolate pound cake for us to share. Oh, I also might add that I tuned her baby grand Mason-Hamlin piano for her when she went to work that morning.

    We both had a wonderful time seeing WSS again on the great big, wide screen (my cousin had never seen it except on TV). The Ziegfeld Cinema’s screen was longer and narrower than the movie screen at Radio City Music Hall, and it was great.

    Why have I seen the film West Side Story so many times? Why do I make road trips to neighboring states to see it? Why do I go to see it every time it comes to our area, whether I anyone to go with or not, and even when it’s on TV? Because I love this film, and it’s a hard one for me to resist.

    When viewed on a great big, wide screen, in a real movie palace, with the lights down low, West Side Story takes on a magical, almost 3-dimensional quality. The overall scenery seems more expansive and one can see all of everything. The brilliant Bernstein musical score, the great cinematography, the dancing, and, well, everything about WSS seems even more intense on a great big, wide movie theatre screen. All of the characters, from the romancing Tony and Maria to the warring Jets and Sharks, seem to move much more freely and fluidly, in a much wider and more open space!

    The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA, and the Somerville Theater, too:

    I love sitting on the balcony for West Side Story, so, since those are the only theatres in our area left that have balconies, I don’t hesitate to sit on the balcony. Sharing such a great movie with lots of people, whether one knows them or not, is wonderful, and not once did I see people rudely texting or using their cellphones during the film.

    Only one experience at the Brattle was slightly marred. My sister in law and I went to a seven o’clock show at the Brattle, of the film WSS. In back of us, there was one woman laughing and giggling her head off during the whole overture! Finally, to our relief, her companions shut her up! Whew!

    I’ve seen other screenings of the film West Side Story ever since, and, I’ve even made other memorable road trips to other neighboring states to see a screening of this great classic when it wasn’t playing in our neck of the woods and I wanted to see it.

    Seeing No Country for Old Men when it opened at the Coolidge Corner Theatre for the first time: It was a moderately cold Saturday night, and the line for tickets wound all the way around the corner and well away from the building, into the parking lot. It reminded me of when I was a kid, and used to stand in line to get tickets. That, of course, in the 1950’s and 1960’s, was well before one could obtain tickets online and print them up at home. Everyone else was in the same boat, and we all got in.

  52. christian says:

    Great story, WSS is still a great film, my favorite musical.

  53. Mike Rogers says:

    “Pete and Tillie” was Rated PG.Played it at the IMPERIAL THEATRE.In Augusta.It sure was not a Downtown movie.

  54. mplo says:

    Hey….Thank you, Christian!

    I also might add that, regarding the 40th-year Anniversary screening of West Side Story that I attended, at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall, it was great that, less than a month after the horrific 9/11 attacks on the WTC Towers, that five or six thousand people could get together for such a wonderful event!

  55. hcat says:

    My most memorable theater experience would be in college during the first week I started working at the theater, I turned the corner of the concession stand and was introduced to a co-worker. I immediatly thought “hey, I should date her.” We just had our second kid.

  56. mplo says:

    Woweee, hcat!

    Sounds like a wonderful way to have met the person you hitched up with and decided to raise up a family together with! At the movie theatre, yet! Sounds like a memorable experience to keep…and to hold on to…for life.

  57. henry says:

    So my brothers and I went to see Dances With Wolves.

    About halfway through the movie I start smelling what seems like smoke. But I wasn’t sure. And neither were my brothers.

    And nobody else in the theater seemed to be reacting.

    Slowly but surely there was a subtle but palpable shift in the audience as people starting paying less attention to the movie and quietly looking around. But still nobody wanted to be the first to yell “fire” in a crowded theater.

    Eventually we got up and left the theater to investigate….

    …and were greeted by the sight of fire trucks surrounding the complex. Yeah, the place was on fire.

  58. JKill says:

    I wanted to mention JURASSIC PARK too, Scott. My theatrical viewing was with my Dad and my younger brother, and it was truly shocking seeing those effects on the big screen because, as you wrote, the ads didn’t give that part of the movie away. The big reveal of, I think, the brontosaurus with that wonderful Williams music playing was breath-taking, and the T-Rex smashing through that car was simply terrifying. One of the most jolting, exciting, seminal, and memorable moments of my moviegoing life.

  59. scooterzz says:

    just a few ‘theater experience’ thoughts:

    on the east coast in ’64 for the world’s fair, i was staying with relatives in greenwich who took me to hartford for opening night of ‘a hard days night’….sat in the balcony (don’t remember the name of the theater) and never heard one word of the film (or any conversation for another full day) because of the non-stop, high-decibel screaming…..

    played hooky from my beverly hills bookstore job at ‘hunter’s’ in ’74 to catch a westwood matinee of ‘lenny’ on opening day…first show, about twelve people in the theater, when two older women and an older man came in and sat at the opposite end of the row i was in….after about ten minutes i got up and said to one of the women (the movie hadn’t started yet, btw), ‘excuse me, but aren’t you…’ and katherine hepburn cut me off by barking, ‘yes, i am…now, go sit down!’….mortified (and thrilled), it was tough to keep my eyes on the screen for the movie…..

    and, today:
    went with a friend to see ‘trannys 3’ in imax 3d at citiwalk expecting the worst….bought tickets on line, had a free parking pass, walked in fifteen monutes before showtime and when the movie started, EVERY cell phone shut off and not an inappropriate sound was uttered by the crowd (about 2/3 full @ second show)….that really was amazing….

  60. hoopersx says:

    Oh yeah, one more:

    I think it was at a showing of the second Hulk movie. In a stadium style cinema. I was sitting about halfway up. And every 30 seconds or so I kept seeing the light from a cell phone go on and off down near the front rows. It kept going on and off. It was distracting as all hell. I went a bit batshit crazy and walked down there. It was some 14 or so year old. I leaned down and said,”if I see the light from your phone again I will take it from you and throw it against the wall.”

    Needless to say, I didn’t see it again. But then after the fact, I felt like crap. I could have handled it in a much more mature and polite manner.

  61. hoopersx says:

    Sorry, my prior two experiences didn’t post. Let’s try this one more time:

    When Return of the Jedi came out, my mom was selling Edwards cinemas here in So Cal their multi-line phone announcers(back before the interwebs when you had to call to get show times). She got to know Edwards Jr and on the day of the premiere, he roped off an entire row(like 20-30 seats) for our family and friends to watch it on the big screen at Edwards Big Newport cinema. It was epic. While everyone else were standing in a giant line outside, we all got to walk right in and had the best seats in the giant theater.

    Back when American History X came out, my mom and I went to see it in a dinky theater in Costa Mesa, CA. Not exactly a hardcore gang type neighborhood. When Norton’s character curb stomps the guy, a group of skinheads stood up and cheered, yelled zeil heil and did the Nazi salute. It made for an incredibly uncomfortably atmosphere. When Norton’s character beats the piss out of Keach’s character, the rest of the people in the theater cheered LOUDLY and in the direction of the skinheads. Really bizarre. And when we all left at the end of the movie you could see everyone kind of sizing each other up. It’s a wonder that a fight didn’t break out in the parking lot.

  62. JS Partisan says:

    My friend brought up that our worst movie-going experience occurred, when the theatre we went to got taken over by the Russian mob. No, I’m not joking. They ran a tight ship but it was weird that they showed up one day at an urban theatre, ran it for a few months, and then vanished once they got paid off.

  63. Geoff says:

    Rainy day in Seattle on vacation with my father in the summer of 1988 – double feature at a local multi-screen theater……Die Hard…..then Midnight Run. Too fucking cool!

  64. mplo says:

    Some of my most memorable movie experiences were also at the now-defunct Orson Welles Cinema, in Cambridge, MA., which I miss. I went there quite afew times as a student, and, when I first got out of grad school, I lived right around the corner from the Orson Welles for seven years. Many of my fellow students would frequent the place also, when I was going to school.

    The movies that I saw there included Bonnie & Clyde, Performance, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, The Harder They Come, Road Warrior, Blade Runner, and many others, including my all time favorite film, West Side Story. (yes, I always have to add WSS to my movie experiences!).

    There was an excellent restaurant next door called the Orson Welles Restaurant, which had really good food. If I recall correctly, however, first the restaurant closed due to a labor dispute, and then the theatre burned down due to a malfunctioning popcorn machine. (Correct me if I’m wrong, anybody.). It was a funky little place, and I still miss it to this day.

    I also still recall when “The Harder They Come” played for a really, really long time at the now-defunct Orson Welles Cinema, in Cambridge, MA, back in the mid 1970’s. It was a good movie, but when we went to see it, a bunch of people sitting farther toward the back of the theatre, who were clearly stoned, or high on something else, were laughing hysterically at all the really sadistic parts of the film. It was rather eerie…and somewhat disconcerting, to say the least.

  65. mplo says:

    Interesting experience that you had with seeing the film American History X, hoopersx. I saw the film American History X when it first came out, in the Harvard Square Theatre (now an AMC Theatre), in Cambridge, MA. The audience in the theatre where I saw it was very calm, and quiet. Nobody cheered when the Norton character stomped the guy’s head to a pulp on the pavement, or when the Norton guy beat up another guy.

    Nor did anyone size anyone else up. It’s hard to know whether it was because our area has had its share of racial/ethnic tensions and was still in the process of trying to overcome it, or whether or not this was just simply a better-behaved audience. Nor were there any skinheads in the audience where I saw the film American History X, either.

  66. cadavra says:

    It only takes one or two jackasses to really ruin a film. Back in March, UCLA screened their restored print of an early Anthony Mann thriller, STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT. Early in the film, there’s a completely unexpected train crash, complete with graphic-for-its-time scenes of bloody bodies being pulled from the wreckage and of surgeons working feverishly to save lives. The audience at UCLA was stunned by the sequence and you could hear the proverbial pin drop.

    Flash forward one month, and it’s being shown again at the Cinematheque’s annual Film Noir Festival. But this time, there were a couple of hipper-than-thou fuckwads (sitting right behind me, of course) who inexplicably found this scene hilarious and began laughing like hyenas–and kept on laughing. Then the rest of the audience, susceptible to contagion, began laughing too, and it continued for the rest of the film. The experience was totally ruined for me–who’d at least seen it before–as it was for many others (who expect better behavior at a rep house than at the local megaplex). I was so angry that had I had a club in my hands, I would’ve beaten those bastards to within an inch of their sorry-ass lives, and no jury in the world would’ve convicted me.

    current mood: crabby

  67. yancyskancy says:

    I sometimes laugh when a movie shocks or surprises me, but it’s a laugh of delight rather than derision. Mann’s violence is often surprising when compared to his contemporaries, and I’m sure I’ve laughed and exclaimed “Whoa!” at certain moments (James Stewart taking a bullet to the hand, George Murphy’s fate in BORDER INCIDENT, etc.) without ever actually thinking the moment is funny. But yeah, I don’t think those fuckwads deserve that benefit of the doubt. They sound like braying jackasses surrounded by lemmings. I feel for ya, man!

  68. mplo says:

    Back in the late 1970’s, when my family and I went to see the original “Apocalypse Now”, a very well-done, but intense movie, there was a guy, who was a Viet Nam Vet, laughing, sort of in discomfort, and in a weird way. It threw us off a bit.

    My brother and I saw “Apocalypse Now Redux” at the (now) AMC Theatre, on Tremont Street, in downtown Boston. It was a wonderful print, the movie was also well done, and the theatre had stadium-type seating. What a pleasure not to have to look directly at the backs of people’s heads while viewing a movie! It was expensive, but we both enjoyed it.

    I saw “North Dallas Forty” twice; once by myself and once with my family. That movie was funny as hell, and the whole audience, including myself and my family, shared many great laughs. The scene where the guys were all pumped up and ready for the game, and one of the guys yelled “Let’s go kill those cocksuckers!” was a riot, and the entire audience shared a great big laugh over that one!

    “Tootsie” was also funny, and Dustin Hoffman played that extremely well. He’s a good actor.

    One other movie that I saw at Radio City Music Hall was the movie “1776”. That movie totally s**ked, big time, and my friend and I walked out on it in the middle!

    Another movie I hated with a passion was “All the President’s Men”. That was a piece of junk.

  69. mplo says:

    Well…it’s been awhile, but I’m back. In addition to still loving the film West Side Story, I’ve seen other films as well. “Oklahoma City” a documentary about how the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma city by the late Timothy McVeigh came to pass, which also included a slightly-too-sympathetic viewpoint of Timothy McVeigh, but this movie was worth seeing. “Theory of Conflict”, between pro-Israel groups and pro-Palestinian groups, was also a documentary, which was interesting to see.

    My sister in law and I will be seeing the film “Soul Witness”, a documentary about the Holocaust, which revolves around a Holocaust project, whose organizer is well known in the town where the film will be playing, and where my family currently resides.

    I recently saw “West Side Story” at the Luna Theatre, up in Lowell, MA. one Sunday afternoon, with a friend/neighbor of mine, and, after a light lunch, we went to the theatre. We both had a good time.

    A week from next Thursday, I’ll be going to see the film “West Side Story” once again, in a neighboring state, just over an hour away. I’m excited about that, too.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon