The movie is set to start at 4:05. The lights dim and the first preview of Coming Attractions starts. The seats shake, the theater rattles and famous landmark buildings are shown erupting in violent explosions, with thousands of screaming people running away as the smoke and flames shoot toward them. Out of the rubble emerges one man, blackened with smoke and debris, but nary a scratch. He is the one man who can save the world. He’s tough and he’s hard and he says what needs to be said and does what needs to be done. In real life, the star is 5 foot 6, is scared of spiders and snakes and pays his agents, lawyers and staff to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done.
This blockbuster, we’re told, will open on Christmas Day. Because what else would you do on Christmas Day -- hang around the house with boring relatives?
The next preview is for a horror film with half-dressed teenagers screaming at something you can never quite see. “What,” I thought, “could make a teenage girl scream like that?” The answer that came to me was not vampires and werewolves or Freddy Krueger. They probably just told the teen star that she had gained a pound. There were six or seven more trailers we had to sit through and after each, one of us would say to the other, “Remind me never to see that.” The movie scheduled to start at 4:05 started at 4:30, right after we were reminded to turn off our cellphones and visit the the large selection of expensive anti-health food in the lobby.
The movie was very good, but we’d gotten out of the habit of sitting for long stretches. Every now and then I found myself trying to hit the pause button so I could go raid the fridge. Sue said next time we went to a movie to remind her to bring her knitting.
I’m not sure there will be a next time.
(Contact Jim Mullen at JimMullenBooks.com.)