Secret Pop

Aug 11, 2002

Warning: This movie will try to restore your faith in god.

Okay. So, I went to see the new M. Night Shyamalan flick. And more than anything, I was impressed by the number of people seated around me -- in V.I.P., pay-more-for-your-seat, you'd-think-people-would-be-quiet territory, no less -- who couldn't stop talking. Truly. And these weren't just talkers. These were belligerent chatterboxes who made mimicking huffing noises and elevated their volume and word count when they realized they were disturbing the people around them.

The movie would have you believe that there are two types of people, classified by their faith or lack thereof. I would submit to you that there ARE two types of people, but they are separated by their convictions on the topic of keeping quiet while the reel is spinning. I think in the near future, the ritzy cinemas will actually begin creating seating with individual sound systems, much like the little eggs you sit in at the Haunted Mansion or the newly renovated Space Mountain, able to pipe in your own personal portion of electric guitars and ominous announcements. If that system had been in place tonight, then I wouldn't have learned that the woman seated behind me and to the right has an ex-husband who doesn't believe in coincidences. You see, when that topic came up in the film, she really felt it was necessary to tell her date that this was the case. And I guess I can see how that would be. How could she resist? Her date was the reliable voice of the line, "Uh oh," every time a suspense-filled moment occurred. And they were both burdened with the task of voicing all of the facts that the film was revealing as they occurred. Like my own personal Greek chorus, telling me the thoughts that were already in my head.

At one point during the film's climax, two couples to my right had a near-scuffle as one guy wanted the other guy and his girlfriend to put a lid on it. And the talking guy yelled loudly, "Don't you tell me to shut the fuck up." During the credits, these two men exchanged menacing words. And the chatty girlfriend rolled her eyes and laughed, the way the girlfriends of these guys are required to do, it would seem. They always do it. I've been keeping track. But the vehement talkers were really just all talk. The guy said menacing things and flung back depressingly unwitty retorts like, "Get a life," as he and his gal made their way to the aisle to leave. No punches were exchanged. Nor apologies, to be sure.

And I realized, from the comments of those around me, that the two classes of people are also separated by which side their favor falls on in situations such as these. As loud and confrontational as the objecting non-talking guy was, I supported him fully and would have expressed my spirit of camaraderie, if I thought it would have mattered. I'm always on that person's side. Maybe because I often am that person. Apologetically and quietly requesting that people keep their voices down, only to be met with rolling of the eyes or sneers or laughter and the word, "Whatever." Some people will undoubtedly find someone like me to be a curious brand of zealot, but I'm okay with that. I try not to get frustrated with people. I'm patently non-confrontational. I really like to have a good time. But there are times when I feel the need to just dump my popcorn on someone. I don't know if it's a crime, so I don't do it. But I sure am tempted.

Last night, after the Weezer concert and in the melee of exodus that occurred in the parking lot, a girl rear-ended me. And when I got out of my car to exchange information, she looked irritated and said, "Well, is there a scratch?" And I said, "I can't tell. Your bumper is still touching mine." I asked her to get out of the car, and she said, "Well, I'm not going anywhere." As if I should just wait and trust that she would look for me when we all made it out to the open road. Maybe it was because she had her homegirls in the car with her and wanted to appear lioness-like. Maybe they all really thought I was being a jerk and were quietly rooting her on in her obstinance. But I thought to myself that a simple, "Oops. I'm really sorry," would have made the world a better place right at that moment. Instead, the world lived out the night unimproved. And when I got home, adding insult to injury, there were two gross, unknown band bumper stickers on the bumper of my car. I peeled them off carefully and lamented the fact that there is no justice in the world and nearly as much decency. And Weezer only did one two-song encore, ending with an extended barrage of intensely painful noise. And I'm not just talking like an old person. I promise.

People don't smile much in this picture. But that's no reason why you shouldn't. Have a great day, American moviegoing audience! -- you've earned it.


I don't think it came across in my original writing of this entry, but I did actually have a pretty definitive opinion about the movie. I would later come to a place where, when told that a movie was terrible, I would respond, "Worse than Signs?" If that gives you any idea.

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