Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Originally published on September 28, 2005
Last night I happened to be at one of these promotional screenings that are populated with people who are there for one reason: free movie! When the film is some brainless popcorn blockbuster this is fine with me as I don't need to pay much attention to write a 500 word review and don’t become bothered by the chatter and noise that will come from the audience.
But last night I was trying to watch the new David Cronenberg movie, A History of Violence, with a packed theatre and it was rough going (I should have known there would be issues when I saw that the crowd was culled from the listeners of a local sports station known as the “Sports Buzz” and an urban top 40 station called “Powr95”). Brutish, loud behavior erupted continuously from the emotionally stunted and just rude people who were there because it was free.
For example, there is kind of a heated sex scene between Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello that involves oral sex in a more ramped up way than is normally seen in American films. Giggling and cackling erupted all over the theatre like the audience was nothing but hormone drenched junior high boys. It was embarrassing. I was embarrassed for these people. One guy sitting next to me kind of moans out loud during the scene while saying to anyone within earshot, “That’s what I’m talking about right there.” Thanks for sharing, you moron.
Bello later does a brief full frontal nude scene and you would have thought the first lady Laura Bush was baring her pasty, robot-ass pubes up there the way people gasped and guffawed. And people act surprised when Americans are accused of backward, prudish thoughts regarding sexuality? Come watch a free movie in Tulsa with adult themes with (gasp!) naked people and those stereotypes will hit you full on in the face.
Even the violence in the story drew protests and shock from the people around me. This was a David Cronenberg movie people! But, as I said, the audience was here because it was free, not because the film is getting seriously good reviews or because of Cronenberg’s previous films. The shame is I was there as an avid film lover and an adult who can handle adult themes. Unfortunately, these repressed yahoos couldn’t.
I was at another free press/public screening a few months ago for a film called Me and You and Everyone We Know. I loved this movie but it is not for everyone, as it is a hyper-quirky meditation on love and how people connect or disconnect from one another in the 21st century world.
Well, an aspect of the film involves children and sexuality—a taboo subject if there ever was one. I counted six walk outs during one scene in particular. I felt kind of sorry for those people leaving. I can see them muttering to each other during the film: “I don’t care if this is free, what in the hell is this junk? Some eight year old talking about poo in and out of butts forever and people pay for this garbage? Let’s get the hell out of here and go watch Flightplan, now that’s some real moviemaking!”
Do people ever look and see what movie it is they are getting free passes to? My experience says no, they just show up and expect the formulaic dreck that usually comes down the road. When they come face to face with something odd or surprising, they turn away, get up and leave or sit and giggle like teenagers.
Here’s hoping that next time I’m at one of these screenings every single person will get up and leave the theatre who is shocked, freaked out, disturbed, offended, sickened by what they see. If I’m the only person left in the darkened theatre after they’ve left in a huffing-mad horde, that would be fine and dandy by me.
Posted by Joshua Blevins Peck at 6:00 AM