Movie Mayhem

I have been meaning to see a lot of movies in the theater lately, and thanks to a certain incident at the Georgetown Loews theater, I was able to see two for the price of one this weekend.

I had heard some strong recommendations from friends to see the new Clooney flick Michael Clayton, so even though I was dying to see Eastern Promises, I went with my brother to the 7:30 showing. Well, without giving it away, the premise of the movie is a thriller (even though it pans out as the anti-Grisham movie), so half an hour in the audience (including myself) are locked up in suspense. I am surprised to see a couple enter the theater so late, but try to focus on the film.

However, they make their way towards the upper reaches of the cinema, and spot an empty seat directly in front of me. The man, about fifty years old, holds his wife’s hand and excuses his way through the aisle, much to the dismay of in our vicinity. He stops short at the empty seat, where a young man about my age is sitting in between it and another empty seat to his right. The husband asks the man to move over a seat, so he and his wife cna sit together, but he answers with a curt, “No,” and continues to wach the film. The man asks again, this time in a more angered tone, but receives the same response.

At this point he pulls out the sympathy card, telling him, “I just picked up my wife from the hospital. That is why I am late.” The young man proceeds to be engrossed in the movie, or perhaps just in George Clooney himself. The husband then pleads, “Please. She feels very sick. I want to be next to her in case she needs to throw up.”

At this point the charade had taken up several minutes, and the crowd around us grew restless, and those in the front stole glances at the commotion above. I was with the husband until that last comment, and was even contemplating giving up my seat, but this was too much. His wife, a waifish figure, was indeed holding her hand to her mouth, and did not look well at all. Which, needless to say, made me not want to put them directly behind me. Meanwhile, the three people further down the same row in question became disgruntled, and asked the man to sit down so we could watch the movie. There was a woman closest to the man, who must have said something that disgreed with him, because he immediately shot back a retort, although all I heard was, “Is this your wife?”. The woman then became really upset, and got up, to complain. As soon as she did, the man took her seat, and his wife sat down next to him. She then started yelling at the man with the sick wife, demanding her seat back, but he wouldn’t budge, and then her and her friends got up and headed to the exit, complaining of harassment.

A couple of minutes later, a cinema employee walked in and they pointed out the row where they had been sitting, but the employee did not do anything, perhaps realizing he would cause a commotion (or more thanthere was already – the one guy seriously looked like he was ready to clock the older man, ill wife be damned). The friends went back to their seats, but still visibly upset at the situation, and the woman did not have her seat back. They loudly remarked that they would get the police and press charges on the man. The man and his wife, meanwhile, were trying to watch the movie (which, by the way, between coming late and the drama unfolding before us, they could not possibly have understood). The wife, though, was bent over, her hands covering her mouth, emitting strange coughs and occasionally sounding like she was one heave short of letting a meal fly over her unfortunate forward seatmate’ head. This, and the strong remarks that continued be let loose by the woman and her friend’s resulted in pained looks towards our area, and by the time a cinema manager entered the theater anything Michael Clayton was resolving on screen could not match that which was taking place right there in the theater seats. Moments later three(!) DC Metro police entered, and asked that the man and his wife join them downstairs. The man escorted his coughing wife down the stairs, and we turned our attention back to the film.

As we left our seats, I heard two girls in front of me discussing what happend, and since they clearly were ignorant in what had caused such a disturbance, I gave them an executive summary, which only prompted looks of disbelief. As we reached the hallway, two thearter attendents were handed out free movie vouchers, as the manager profusely apologized for what went down. But we all decided for the extraordinary prices now being charged ($9.50 even using my expired student ID!), even something as disturbing as what we went through was worth the extra movie.

I ended up the following day seeing Into The Wild, the Sean Penn film based on the bestselling Jon Krakauer book by the same name. As a big fan of On The Road, I really liked this movie, even if it did drag on a bit at parts. Think road trip meets Man Vs. Wild, with great cinematography…what’s not to like?

I want to read the book now, which intersperses other adventure stories in with that of Christopher McCandless.

Here is the article that was the start of it all, although I feel like going into the movie blind made it more sensational.

Movie Grade:

Into the Wild A- A film that definitely will speak to people and stick with them after they have left the theater.
Michael Clayton B+ Well made, well acted. Takes a different slant and manages to hold audience.

Next up: Darjeeling Limited, Eastern Promises, and November 2nd, Bee Movie of course.

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