Sunday, February 10, 2013

Movie Dating Myself

I love movies. I mean LOVE them. 

This photo is from here.
Much like I do with TV shows on Netflix, I've been known to binge on movies. This is especially common during Awards Season because I think it's important to be an informed voter. Ok, so I don't really vote per se, but I do express my opinions loudly in my apartment and on Twitter while watching the ceremonies which is sort of like voting. 

My parents have previously been dragged in as accomplices in my movie binges. They're so supportive. Last year, prior to Awards Season, we saw five movies in four days. This year, while my Mom was in town, we watched five movies in three days. (To be clear, I'm bragging about this and am ignoring any implications it may have for my current social life. Also, it was cold and rainy so...) We saw Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miserables, The Master and Hyde Park on Hudson. (That's also my preferential order - with The Master and Hyde Park tied at the bottom. Sorry.)

Shockingly, the two movies I hadn't seen: Lincoln and Argo. Only the two most talked about of the year! This was a major problem for me. 

Here's an even bigger problem. Apparently, I'm the last person on the planet who hasn't seen them. Whenever I'd ask friends if they would want to go see Argo with me, they would respond with some variation of "Oh, I saw that when it first came out. I can't believe you haven't seen it!! You should really see it. It's amazing." 

Um, thanks, WORLD, for all going to see this movie over the two weeks when I apparently could not. 

But you are all forgiven for I had an AMC gift card burning a hole in my pocket and nothing to do for the first half of my Saturday this weekend. So, I took matters into my own hands.

You see, while movies are definitely more fun with friends, every once in a while, it's kind of nice to go take one in on your own.  

The first time I ever saw a movie in the theater by myself was in 1996. I know this because the movie was Dunston Checks In. My sister had a part-time job at the theater so I got to go for 50 cents. I think I actually saw more than one movie that day but it's hard to remember the details of other films once you've seen the heartwarming story of a hilarious orangutan living in a hotel. That's the kind of movie that just never quite leaves you, ya know? That dear, sweet, mischievous orangutan. 

I thought I was hot stuff sitting there by myself in the theater, proving my independence. In truth, it was more of a "babysitting solution" since my sister was working and my parents were busy and couldn't find another available sitter. I probably even got popcorn money. Jackpot.

Tumblr photo credit
If you'll allow a tangent about babysitting, I'd like to reflect on another memory I have from that day. I distinctly remember my sister coming into the theater - in which I was the only audience member at 11 a.m.- to inform me that her co-worker had killed my nano pet. The nano pet she was supposed to be babysitting - feeding it, watering it, and whatever else we did with those plastic keychains. (If you haven't already figured it out, I was extremely cool back then.) That was a big day for me - taking myself to a movie and experiencing the death of my first and only virtual pet. 

Now, back to the story at hand. I knew that if I was going to see Argo and legitimately contribute to all the "I can't believe the Academy didn't nominate Affleck" Twitter fodder, then I'd have to just go ahead and get it done. 

I'd forgotten how enjoyable it can be to go by yourself to the movies. That movie was just as incredible as I thought it would be (I can't believe the Academy didn't nominate Affleck!) and it was the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning, especially since I was supposed to be doing laundry. In case you haven't taken yourself to a movie lately, here are some reasons why you should:

5 Perks to Movie Dating Yourself

You make your own schedule when you take yourself on a movie date. You can get there as early as you want (assuming the theater is open). I like to get places early. I don't want to miss previews and I certainly don't want to miss movie theater trivia. Plus, if you're an early-riser on the weekend like I am, then you can go to the first showing of the day. I went to the 10 a.m. showing and - get this - it was only SIX DOLLARS. The "make your own schedule" perk also applies to the end of the movie. I was trained by my parents to sit until the end of the credits. Unfortunately, no one else I know seems to have had the same hometraining and they immediately bolt. Those people worked hard to have their name in the credits. Plus, if you don't wait until the end, then how will you know that the movie was actually filmed in Canada or that John Legend sang the song that played during the love scene or the name of "Assistant to Mr. Affleck"? Do I always stay until the very end? No. But I like to have that option.

You get the best seats. You know those random single seats that always seem to be in the perfect middle location but pop up because various couples and groups don't want to sit next to other couples or groups? You can sit in one of those seats. (Although, it throws off the couple or group you are beside. But, they'll get over it.) 

You don't have to share your snacks if you choose to frequent the concession stand.You aren't obligated to offer up your popcorn or candy or whatnot. I don't often buy concessions because I find $17 movie theater Junior Mints do not taste $15 better than $2 drug store Junior Mints. However, when I do purchase a snack, I get annoyed by people who say "I'll trade you a few Junior Mints for some of your Raisinets." No, fool. What are we eight-year-olds at day camp trading Lunchables? My Raisinets cost me about 50 cents per raisin. If I wanted Junior Mints, I'd have gotten Junior Mints, dude.

(I really am a nice person, you guys. I just want to make that clear. I'm also good at sharing - despite what the previous bullet point may lead you to believe. Just don't take my movie theater concessions, especially  if you only want them because you already ate all your snacks during the previews. Learn to ration, yo. Don't be a movie theater rookie.)

You don't have to pretend it's OK when your companion talks during the movie. I don't like movie theater talkers so I feel especially guilty when someone I'm with talks during the movie. But I also don't want to be mean to my friends so I'm usually very passive aggressive about the movie talking. If asked a question, I try to respond at the lowest possible decibel in hopes that they'll follow my lead. Or, I'll pretend I can't hear them at all. Unfortunately that usually makes the person speak louder so you don't miss their all-important comment about how they saw the actor who plays the hero in a movie last week in which he played a villain. Um, ok. Because that anecdote was totally necessary to my enjoyment of the current movie and was definitely worth ticking off everyone around us.

(Wow, I sound like such a catch, right?) 

In case you aren't sure when it is appropriate to talk aloud during a movie in a theater, here are some examples to guide you:

Bradley Cooper. Photo Credit: People Mag.
NOT Worth Mentioning During The Movie: "Isn't that Bradley Cooper? I saw him on Jimmy Fallon talking about this movie. He said this scene was hard to film."

DEFINITELY Worth Mentioning During The Movie: "Isn't that Bradley Cooper sitting in front of you? I think he's trying to get your attention. Something about dinner afterwards."

You don't have to feel guilty if the movie sucks. Nothing worse than sitting in the theater for a movie you insisted all your friends see with you because "it's going to be totally awesome, y'all" and realizing halfway through that the movie is less than "totally awesome." In fact, it's ridiculously stupid and you start thinking, "Oh crap, I'm never going to hear the end of this. I'm going to have to buy these people a round of drinks." 

So you see, my friends, sometimes the best movie date is you. You're pretty awesome after all. 

(I should disclose that post-writing, pre-posting this entry, I went to another movie, Side Effects. This time I went with my friend Liz and, yes, while I made a very good case - if I do say so myself - for not being afraid to venture out solo, it's always fun to have a friend to discuss the film with afterwards, especially over guacamole. In fact, I've found most social activities are better when you include guacamole. That's just a special bonus tip for ya.)

Lastly, I have a heads up for you. Prepare yourselves for a very DC post next time as I'll be talking about the State of the Union. No really.  I was selected to participate in the White House Social on Tuesday meaning, I'll get to watch the President's State of the Union address from the White House (actually, the Executive Building) and participate in a post-address discussion with policy advisers and experts. 

If you don't already follow me on Twitter, than you should. I'll be live-tweeting everything. You can also submit your own questions using the hashtags #WHChat & #SOTU. I'll take a break from my usual - mostly pop culture - tweets to share more intelligent thoughts. Either that or I'm about to retweet the hell out of some smart people....

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