Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tarnished Lust

I saw Shutter Island last night. It was everything I could have hoped for in a Martin Scorsese film and then some. And then some more. But I don't really want to talk about Shutter Island the film*. Rather, I'd like to document my schizophrenic -- apropos, given the film's theme -- Shutter Island theater experience.

I go to the cinema roughly ten to twenty times annually, depending upon what's playing (trust me, I'd go more often if more quality films made their way to these peninsular shores). Back in the early days of my soj(u)ourn, the theatrical experience was far from lovely, what with all the talking on cell phones, lighters flickering as folks tried to find their seats in the dark, etc. That was then, though. These days, Korean audiences have become very respectful in terms of movie-theater ettiquette, the sole exception being that not a lot of people seem to grasp yet the fact that text messaging in the dark is a huge distraction to their fellow patrons. But I'm sure they'll catch on.

Anyway, it's not often that I find myself annoyed in a movie theater nowadays. Which is why last night was so weird. Blame Saturday night traffic, the yellow dust, or the Tetons; last night's 8:40 screening was madness. I'm a fairly tolerant guy, but one thing I cannot abide is people showing up late for a movie. It doesn't make sense to me. It takes a special kind of moron to buy a ticket to see a movie and then show up after it's begun. I'm aware that, sometimes, shit happens that prevents a moviegoer from being present for a film's start, but last night it was more than half of the audience that arrived after the Paramount logo appeared on the big screen. And they kept streaming in for the next twenty-five minutes! This -- word to David Lo-Pan -- pissed me off to no end.

Legs always gets after me for my insistence that we arrive for a movie well before its start time. For me, going to the movies is a near-religious experience. I like to take my seat early and bask in the atmosphere of the theater. There's nothing quite like it, is there? So, yes, I look down upon those who come in late with scorn. They're distracting to their fellow viewers, but also are they ignorant of the pure joy of going to the movies. No word of a lie, I'd rather skip a screening entirely than miss its first five minutes. If only more people shared that sentiment.

Furthermore, it wasn't only that so many people arrived late. A lot of them couldn't stay in their seats! Seriously, every couple of minutes someone or other would get up and leave the theater. This of course happens at any movie**, but last night was a true anomaly, the most memorable exit being a mother and her two young kids leaving during the frightening Ward C scene. It must have been the penises that broke the proverbial camel's back. What kind of mother would think Shutter Island is an appropriate movie to take her children to?

The coup de grĂ¢ce, however, occurred at the movie's climax. During the film's well-orchestrated turning point, a teenage girl ran out of the theater shouting words I couldn't catch. Turns out, she was being groped by some drunk lowlife. As you can probably tell, this amounted to chaos. The perptrator ran off, a few audience members tried to apprehend him, and a babel of confusion erupted from the rest of the audience. The cops arrived.

The scumbag was no doubt recorded on the theater's numerous CCTV cameras. I hope the police catch him and punish him justly; although, given their general attitude toward victims of sexual assault and their poor investigative prowess, I have little faith in Bundang's finest.

What a weird night. Must be something in the air.

* Just one thing: how neat is it that the deputy warden and the warden are played, respectively, by the Zodiac and Buffalo Bill?

** Although, as far back as I can remember, I've never left my seat, not even when I had to pee so bad I thought my bladder might burst. I'd sooner wet myself.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

"What kind of mother would think Shutter Island is an appropriate movie to take her children to?"

Well, I took Hayden and she only cried once and that was at the 'lake scene'. Not too shabby for a four year old.

I'm kidding about taking H. (of course) but in fact as your comrade and I were exiting the cinema last night we *did* see a woman leave with her daughter - a girl who must have been just 7 or 8 years old. I try not to judge other parents for their choices but ... SHUTTER ISLAND? AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL KID? I was baffled and annoyed. Weird…