This story I’m about to tell you more or less happened. On December 19th, 2017, I attended the greatest and funniest movie screening ever. This screening was for All the Money in the World, a film already surrounded by drama, and took place at AMC River East. Throughout this post, I’m going to be using gifs to describe my reactions because some of this stuff is indescribable. These are my thoughts unfiltered. No rating. No holding back.
To begin, typically, I try to arrive for a screening 2 hours prior to showtime. The tickets are first come, first serve (keep this in mind). This time, I arrived to the theater around 4:33.
When I get there, I’m about 30 people from the front of the line, which means that I’m pretty much in. The people around me are a weird bunch. Usually in these lines, everyone is spaced out a bit (Don’t want to be catchin’ germs and shit). Here, they’re around me like it’s Contagion 2. Literally, no personal space.
I’ve got two women, one in front and one in back, who are unaware that they’re carrying bowling-ball bags for purses. They keep knocking into my rib cage like they’re going for a strike.
To my immediate left, I’ve got a medium height, silver haired gay guy breathing on my neck. I’m not exaggerating. Breathing. My neck.
I’m like, “Whatever. I’ll be in the theater pretty soon, and I can be as far away from these people as possible.”
Around 5:25, they begin letting us in.
As I get to the theater, the screening officials ask for our cellphones. Now, this isn’t uncommon. Typically, phones are taken away. This means your local bootleg man has to step up his entrepreneurial spirit, and record Thor 2 on his own as a sock-puppet play rather than you handing it to him.
Now, it was weird that the movie was being released in 48 hrs anyways, but whatever, this movie’s got so much drama around it maybe they decided to take away cellphones for the shiggles. I don’t give a fuck.
I hand over my phone, and walk into the theater.
This theater is tiny. Like 10 rows tiny. Max, this theater might seat 150. Also, four of the best rows have been taped off and reserved for the press. That basically leaves 6 rows for everyone else.
Once again, this is pretty normal. Usually it’s not this extreme, where there’s only 1 row open in the back and 5 in the front, but you know what, I need new prescriptions for my glasses anyways so I don’t mind sitting in front of the screen. I go to the first row, pick the last seat on the far right, and settle in.
While seated, I notice the grey haired gay guy with boundary issues is only a couple rows behind me. After 20 minutes or so, the little hamster in my brain starts running and I realize I can get my phone now that I have my seat. I go back out of the theater, ask for my phone, and sit outside to call my girlfriend. For some reason, my girlfriend acts like answering the phone is like picking up a clown in the middle of the forest, so I don’t get a response. Instead, I hop on Twitter to pass the time.
Then I hear, “Is the new Star Wars called Darkest Hour?”
I look up, and it’s a lost old woman.
I tell her, “No. It’s the Last Jedi.”
She totters off and goes on about her day. A minute later, a mother and son ask, “Is the new Star Wars called Darkest Hour?”
I point them the same way I pointed the old woman.
I don’t know how people don’t know the name of the most divisive movie of the last few days, but whatever, different strokes. Nevertheless, those interactions pretty much confirmed to me that the next Star Wars should be called the “Darkest Hour.”
I pack that away, think of some way to sell it to Disney (even though they already own half my soul), and hop back on Twitter, when I hear, “All the seats are taped up!”
Some Tales from the Crypt white guy in a Mr. Rogers green sweater says in a quivering voice, “All the seats are taped up! How is anyone supposed to sit? This is bullshit!”
This old white guy was acting like someone told him Regis Philbin was dead. One of the screening officials looked at him and said, “If the seats are taped up, then how is everyone sitting?”
The old guy huffs and puffs, “Give me my phone back! I’m leaving!”
Rather than wait for his phone, this Tales from the Crypt Mr. Rogers knockoff rolls back into the theater to complain. Naturally, I turn my phone in and follow him.
When I walk in, I notice that there are about 20 people, 10 on the left, 10 on the right, standing on the stairs leading to the seats. My first thought is, “Hey, maybe they’re trying to stretch their legs. We’ve been waiting for like 30 minutes.” So I forget about it.
Meanwhile, this old guy starts shouting, “What the hell! Look at all these open and unused seats!”
Now, personally, those seats are always like that. They’re for the press. Those seats are reserved for them, and usually they’ll show up maybe 10 minutes before the movie starts. This old guy was havin’ none of it.
“I came all the way up here, and you’re saying I’ve gotta sit in the first row?”
The head of the screening calmly explained, “The seats are first come, first serve. These are reserved for the press.”
Translation: “Yes, motherfucker. You came all the way up here for a free movie. Shut up, before I shut you up.” The old guy storms out. Never to be seen again, especially by his grandchildren.
I’m lookin’ like, “Whatever, Ensure ain’t what it used to be.”
But then, 15 minutes past and these people are still standing.
I can see the screening officials circling around each other like they’re trying to figure how to tell James Woods they don’t want to hang out with him anymore.
One of the screening officials, this tall white guy dressed in red and black (which seemed threatening until you heard his voice and realized Mickey Mouse could fuck you up quicker than him), gets in front of the theater to make an announcement:
“The screening is about to start in 10 minutes. If you are not seated by the time the screening starts, you will be escorted out!”
I’m like, “Ohhhhhhh. That’s how it is. Those people are standing to see if any of the press are no-shows. That’s stupid.”
“We waited in line for this?” A woman with an 89′ Bulls jacket shouts.
I’m thinking, “89′ Bulls? You must be from Indiana.”
“You either sit, or you’ll be escorted out!” Mickey Mouse squeals.
“Who’s going to reimburse us for our parking and food?” Retorts 89′ Bulls. “Are you going to?”
…”Yep. Definitely from Indiana.”
Mickey Mouse does the smart thing. He walks away. 5 minutes pass, and he’s back.
“The screening will begin in 5 minutes!”
89′ Bulls ain’t havin’ none of it, “If you do this, we’re going to write bad reviews about you.”
No joke. This screening official had the best reaction I’ve ever seen.
Now I know you’re from Indiana. This screening is being run by Sony, a multi-billion dollar company. Oh yea, they’re quaking in their boots for your Yelp review. I wish I could have enough privilege to walk into a free movie and threaten to walk out if I didn’t get more free shit.
Mickey Mouse ain’t playin’ though. He looks like he’s about to run a Fake 23 Blast with a Backside Georgia Reverse like his life depended on it.
He goes over to the other screening officials and calls security. I’m lookin’ at 89′ Bulls like, “Maybe in America, but it ain’t happenin’ tonight Irish.”
Instead, as the lights begin to drop low in the theater, the screening officials and security encircle these 20 people like Jurassic Park Raptors after the power’s gone out.
They roll up on em’, and take em’ out quicker than the Cleveland Browns in the draft. The opening titles begin, and you can hear these people being shoved out. You can hear 89′ Bulls seething.
I’m thinking, “She probably came to see this movie for Kevin Spacey.”
As movie starts, I’m sitting here like the black kid who just heard his white friend talk back to their mother.
A few hours later, and I’m back in the comforts of my own home. I don’t know what happened to those people. Those privileged souls. I don’t know if they found happiness in some unclaimed seats back in Indiana or what (I’m not coming off this. They were from Indiana. You can’t find 89′ Bulls stuff on a bum in Chicago).
I’ve never seen anything like this screening. There was white privilege strewn across the battlefield. There was near mutiny. There was a cameo by security. There were villains, but few heroes.
Nevertheless, I will say this, the press did show up. 10 minutes before screening time. The theater was packed. And as I settled into my seat, I turned to the grey haired gay guy behind me and said, “There’s no way the movie’s gonna be better than this.” He nodded. I was almost right.
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Photo Credit: DarkMatterofLove