Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stampede in the Theater

Going to the movie theater can be a very fun experience. The dark theater, the big seats, popcorn and soda, and the thrill of watching a movie on the big screen are just some of the reasons that this outing is generally a grand old time. Of course, there are some factors that occasionally just might put a dent in your overall movie-going experience. These include, but are not limited to:

1.) Bad Movie

If you're seeing a sub-par movie, this will without a doubt put a bit of a damper on the fun factor, particularly if you are seeing the movie by yourself. (But then, that's no fun to begin with!)

2.) Bad Seating

Whether you are up in the front row where you have to crane your neck, in the back corner where you can't make out any onscreen words, in front of a bunch of kids who kick your chair, or behind a very tall individual, bad seating can ruin a movie experience. Don't forget you could always end up with a chair that breaks when you sit down, like Mountain Dew Girl did during a screening [that we were forced to attend] of "The Lizzie McGuire Movie."

Personally, I like to sit right in the middle of the theater, but further back, just to be on the safe side. (Random Knowledge Boy likes the edge in case he has to use the bathroom during the film.)

3.) Bad Audience

A bad audience can wreck even the best movie. If you're trying to focus on the adventurous plot, and all around you people are laughing at innappriate moments, shouting out random stuff, and throwing food around, it becomes very hard to get lost in the story. (And equally difficult to resist the urge to turn around and yell furiously at the inconsiderate people who would rather chat that watch the movie they paid to see.) The infamous quote, "Wha...? Sweeeeeet!" that is often remembered in my house comes from a noisy movie-going audience during a screening of "The Mummy Returns" back in 2001. (My mom also got hit in the hit with a hard candy during this particular outing.)

4.) Bad Presentation

Sometimes the problem lies with the movie theater itself. For instance, the movie may start with no sound, the sound may be deafeningly loud, the curtain may be lowered over a small portion of the screen, obscuring that section from view, or the picture may not be centered properly. These are all very distracting, and if you can't help but notice that the edge of your movie is not lined up with the edge of the screen, you're not going to be able to enjoy the film.

Once, while viewing "The Day the Earth Stood Still," the sound went out for the trailer of the new "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" movie, and that trailer only. The sound came back as soon as the trailer was over. Nevermind that was the trailer we had purposely come to see the movie for. (Mountain Dew Girl was highly miffed at that.)

But all of these factors aside, the hands-down weirdest thing that has ever happened to me during a movie-going experience was when Random Knowledge Boy and I went to see "Apocalypto." We went to see the movie at a theater that was located inside one of the bigger malls in our city. We were joined by two of Random Knowledge Boy's friends, Cigar Smoker Guy, and Water Drinker Boy.

I really didn't know anything about the movie, and frankly, could have done without seeing it. (Tiger ripping someone's face off? Hearts being torn out of bodies? Decapitation? No thanks...) I guess the boys liked it, though.

At any rate, the four of us were walking out of the theater and back toward the main mall area so we could get back to where we had parked. As we were walking, however, we suddenly heard the sound of running across the concrete floor. We looked up to see about a hundred people running full-speed toward us.

We immediately stopped and stepped aside to avoid being trampled by the people who seemed very eager to get away from the main mall area. (Being the small person I am, I was an easy target for trampling. Fortunately, I had three guys in tow, so I didn't have to worry about protection. I think Random Knowledge Boy was a bit jealous that Cigar Smoker Guy had protectively grabbed my arm and pulled me behind him first!)

The four of us quickly snuck out the back door of the movie theater and walked around front to where the cars were. We were not about to walk toward whatever had just made all of those people run away! When we got around front, we saw that there were security vehicles, lights flashing, parked up near the enterance to the mall. Whatever had made those people run away had also warranted security.

We checked the news for information the next day, but we never found out what had happened. We speculated that it might have been a fight, but we never heard any gunshots or screaming. And usually people crowd around a fist-fight to watch, not run away.

But in any event, out of all the odd and irritating things that have happened while out seeing a movie, nearly getting run down by a frightened herd of people was definitely the strangest thing that has ever happened.

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