Sunday, December 21, 2003

Drunk and Back Again: A Film Geek's Theatrical Journey

A few hours back, I got back from my second trip to see Return of the King. I'm filled with happiness and joy. The movie is just wonderful. Simply wonderful.
My first foray to the theater was...eventful. I hadn't planned on seeing the movie until today (Saturday) anyway. I hadn't been able to score Trilogy Tuesday tix. I missed two advance screenings. I'd given up on seeing the movie damn near entirely.
I was sitting at home on Monday night and my friend Kaveman called me with the news that there were two tickets left for the midnight show in Theater 5 at the Arena Grand...the bestest place to see movies in the state of Ohio.
Well, wisdom has never been my strong suit, so I said what the hell, and headed down to the Grand for their line party as soon as I got off work. Well, the party when I got there consisted of ten people. Two doing homework, one playing solitaire, six sitting there doing nothing and me. Some fucking party. No one was even talking to each other. So, I had a beer. Then, I had a lot more.
Long story short, I got my drink on. On camera, too...the local news was there filming the line, and I had 4 people call me to tell me they saw me drinking beer on TV. There's no denying it at this point. I was drunk. Actually, I was Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. I was the damn party now. The theater staff was mightily amused by my drunkeness, seeing as I'm usually the genteel, polite guy who knows half their names and tips well at the bar. Yeah, that's right...I usually behave myself. The staff of the Grand didn't get to see that side of my personality before then.
So, I was drunk and doofy and Kaveman finally showed up at about 11 pm, a bit before they sat for the movie. When they let us in, I immediately selected a primo seat downstairs (didn't get tix for the balcony, as it sold out weeks before). Apparently, I ran upstairs and paid my bar tab...but promptly forgot that I did. I sat and saw the trailers for Spider-Man 2 and the sequel to The Mask, watched the opening flashback with Smeagol and Deagol, and promptly passed out.
I missed a good portion of the movie...though apparently I was drifting in and out of consciousness, as there are bits and pieces I remember from my passout. I remember the army of Minas Morgul and the Paths of the Dead, and then I woke up just at the start of the siege of Minas Tirith.
I was still quite drunk, though, and could barely make heads or tails out of the movie. I liked what I remember of it. I just didn't have a truly coherent picture of it in my mind.
So, the movie let out finally, and I staggered out and attempted to pay my already paid bar tab again. It took the closing manager about a half hour to track down the bartender (at home, asleep, mind you...) to confirm that yes, I paid my tab and should go home and sleep off my buzz.
I trekked back to the theater on Saturday and began running into all of my favorite theater employees...all of whom giggled at me immediately. I apologized to the Billy, the bartender, for waking him up, and we discussed bad behavior when drunk -- he claims to have several dozen stories that can top anything I can throw at him. I got a pizza for lunch and a bigass pop and tipped him VERY well by means of apologizing again.
I got in line and talked with the other people waiting to see the movie, including a retarded guy who was very excited about seeing Lord of the Rings, but wasn't sure if it was a new movie or not. Nice enough guy, very enthusiastic about it, especially once a lady in line and I explained it was the third movie in the series. In short order, we were hustled into the theater where I took a good seat in the center yet again and finished my pizza.
No new trailers...I was kind of hoping for something more impressive, though I'm really liking the Spider-Man 2 teaser more and more with each subsequent viewing.
As for ROTK...I cannot say enough other than I loved it wholeheartedly. It made me run the gauntlet of emotions without once ever feeling cloying or manipulative. I was impressed by even the bit performances. The special effects were, for the most part, utterly outstanding. The movie was, at every turn, the most epic and most personal movie I've seen in ages. I feel sorry for anyone that never gets the chance to see it, and I now can't wait for the extended edition that will come out next fall, just so I can discover the movie again for the first time.
Loved it. Loved it! LOVED IT!!!

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