Ah, movie night! Few activities are as American as a trip to the local theater to view a cinematic classic. Unfortunately cinematic classics are in short supply these days, so you usually end up paying a small fortune to sit through a movie with a name like “Car Chase 2: We Ran Out of Money” (directed by Michael Bay).
Luckily for the Bear Team, when we decided to go to the movies on Friday night, we had a definite “must see” film in mind. The movie was “The Conjuring,” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1457767/ the story of a family who, plagued by a malevolent entity, turn to noted paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren for help. The Warrens, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, are most famous for their involvement in the “Amityville Horror” investigation, and “The Conjuring” is reportedly based on a real case.
After parking at the AMC Mission Valley 20 Theater, located at 1640 Camino Del Rio North (literal translation: Road of the Little North) we headed to the box office where, for twenty-five dollars and the title to our car we were issued two tickets. Fortunately we were able to avoid purchasing any snacks (which would have required selling at least one vital organ) as we had recently eaten brunch at Hash House A Go Go http://www.hashhouseagogo.com/, where I ordered the House Hash. This entrée features meat loaf, potatoes, peppers, spinach, and mozzarella cheese, and is so large that I ended up eating it for three consecutive meals.
We found seats in the crowded theater and settled in for the scheduled 8:20 PM showtime. Except that the movie didn’t start at 8:20. You film buffs out there know that no movie ever starts at the scheduled time. “Showtime” is loosely defined as the moment when theater employees realize that there is supposed to be a movie showing and begin preperations for said showing.
Finally, at around 8:30, the previews began. Previews are an excellent way to find future films that you may want to watch, though it has been my experience that with many movies, you can just watch the preview and let it go at that. It seems that lots of filmmakers are only able to come up with approximately five minutes worth of watchable content. That five minutes is displayed during the preview, leaving the other hour and forty-five minutes of unwatchable dreck for after the customer has already paid.
At last, the movie began. The opening scenes set an ominous tone, though the effect was somewhat diminished by the sounds emanating from the next theater, which was apparently showing a film called “Boulders Rolling Down a Mountain and Through a Skyscraper Demolition Zone During an Earthquake.” Yes, it was that loud. At times I felt that my seat was going to vibrate down the aisle and into the stairwell, taking me along for the ride.
In between the violent outbursts of rumbling, the movie showing in our theater was actually good, with a strong performance by Lili Taylor as the mother in the troubled family. There were lots of scares, and lots of creepy sequences. The plot was straighforward and easy to follow, though even if I had gotten lost, I could have relied on the insightful commentary provided by the two teenaged girls sitting next to me.
Teenaged girl #1: “She is like, possesed.”
Teenaged girl #2: “Totally!”
Teenaged girl #1: “She is not going down the stairs.”
Teenaged girl #2: “Yes, she totally is.”
The film slowly built the tension, never giving away too much too soon. Working in back story to explain what was happening, the director (James Wan of “Saw” fame) hooked the audience in and set us up for some major scares. Some of us were more focused on the movie than others though. I make this statement based on the following loud exchange between two female movie goers in the row behind us, which took place during a particulary intense scene toward the end. I swear that this exchange really happened.
Movie goer #1: “Oh my god, turn off your phone!”
Movie goer #2: “At least I’m not the one going through menopause!”
Eventually the film reached the end, though not before the two teenaged girls beside me made a great production out of gathering their belongings and heading for the exit while the movie was still playing! Making slightly more noise than a head of buffalo stampeding through a field of bamboo, they shuffled along the aisle, blocking the view of the rest of the audience. When it became clear that there was another scene, they stopped in the middle of the aisle to finish watching. Fortunately for them, they were in California. If they’d pulled such a stunt in a less forgiving state, say Mississippi, the horrors depicted onscreen would have paled in comparison to the horrors of a hundred licensed gun owners simultaneously drawing their weapons.
After the movie, we headed home. When leaving a movie theater, I’ve always had the sense of stepping from one world into another; in this case the world where people regularly come to blows over a parking space, which we nearly witnessed on the walk back to our car. But even with all the distractions, we enjoyed our night at the movies. Nothing like the magic of Hollywood to make ua forget our troubles; at least until we arrived home to the destruction brought about by our two bulimic cats. But that is a different story altogether.
That does it for this installment of “Adventures of the Bear Team.” As always, thanks for reading. And for you movie goers out there, remember today’s thought for the day; an old African proverb, which has always been a souce of inspiration for me:
“It takes the village to silence the inconsiderate person who talks all the way through the movie.”
Thank you, and good night!