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Three stealth movie reviews & first rant of 2008

National TreasureYour friendly neighborhood Spook has never really been much of a movie hound, but over the holiday season Mrs. Spookyblue and I filled a typical yearly quota by seeing three movies in one month. In order, they were Walk Hard, I am Legend, and National Treasure 2.

If you go to see the Will Smith movie, prepare to cry. Set aside no less than three days to hold onto something or someone you love and repeat to yourself that they were only actors. Only actors. Especially the puppy dogs.

It is unclear whether there are more jerks sitting in movie theaters now than in the past, or that my lifetime cinema attendance record is simply too small to be considered a valid sample. Whatever the case, I had always assumed that the stereoptypical annoyances I’d heard about were overblown and didn’t really happen often. However, one trip to the Great Escape on New Year’s Day dramatically changed all that.

Are you in line?
I left the lovely Mrs. Spookyblue to save our seats for National Treasure while I ventured back to the snackbar for $8.50 worth of popcorn and soda. Three clerks were all occupied, and one person was ahead of me. A man appeared behind me and asked, “are you in line?” I replied that I was. The person ahead of me was now being served and another clerk became available. “Who’s next, please?” This man walked around me and began to order.

In the best of circumstances I’m generally a happy guy, and I can usually keep it together when life zigs while I’m zagging. In other words, I’m not the kind who automatically wings a hammer through the wall when things go wrong. That’s not to say it’s never happened, but I at least work up to it first with a paint can or a tire jack. But there weren’t any of those handy.

The man must have seen the look on the clerk’s face as he stared, eyes wide, at me because his head began to withdraw slowly into his body like a turtle’s.

“Sssirrrr,” I growled, stepping close behind him. Late afternoon sun pouring through the big windows painted my shadow like Darth Vader’s. “That wasn’t an invitation for you to cut in front of me in line,” I said. But you could hear the menacing subvocalization, “your lack of manners disturbs me.”

His neckless head pivoted a quarter-turn and replied, “No. You were in that line.”

What?! What the flying #*!&@! The snack bar works like the bank. You queue up until you’re at the front and one of the clerks says, “can I help you?” Pretending otherwise is just a dangerous game.

I seethed like Ralphie’s father clutching the shattered remains of his major award. If the back of his neck was sweating now, you couldn’t tell because his shoulders were shrugged so high. Angry as I was, I didn’t want to melt little ears waiting to see Alvin and the Chipmunks (and get thrown out of the place), so the best I could manage without releasing the cuss monster was, “what you just did is called being a jerk.”

The roar in my ears subsided a little as I replayed the previous second back for analysis. I scored myself a 6 out of 10.

By all means ignore the screaming infant
Thirty minutes later Mrs. Spookyblue and I were watching Nicolas Cage go to incredible (and I mean not-credible) lengths to find the Lost City of Gold – in the exact same way he found the lost treasure of the Stone Cutters back in Ep. 1. They were the exact same movie just mail-merged with a different data source.

What was that noise? It sounded like a car alarm for a full 10 seconds before I identified it as a screaming infant. Somewhere below us and to the left wailed either a devil child or a coyote intent on a tasty defenseless bunny. Nicolas Cage held his screen-dad’s shoulders and told him earnestly that he loved him, and the baby howled. Diane Kruger collected a paycheck for showing up to the set looking hot and not doing much else, and the baby screeched.

Honestly, the movie wasn’t that bad.

After three or four of these episodes throughout the course of the movie during which the mother did nothing, the child finally passed out or was carried off by wolves.

Hey, guy! We just landed!
If you don’t know who Kenny Tarmac is, then I’ll try and describe the next piece of human debris who had no idea how close he came to being part of a headline that would have read, “Local man jailed for force feeding annoying cell-phone-talking jerk his own phone.”

— Transcript —
(Annoying ringtone)
“oom sst oom sst oom sst oom sst
(Readneck behind us in a loud voice)
“Hello? Hello! Hell-? Yeah! Well, I’m sitting here watchin’ a movie!”
(Mrs. Spookyblue)
“You have got to be kidding me!”
(Redneck) “Yeah. Awright. Yeah. … … … Yeah. I dunno. … … Yeah. I’ll call ya later. Okay. Yeah. … … Yeah. Baw.”

Then the redneck muttered in our direction, “better just mind yer own f***ing business.”

It wasn’t until much later, long after I came back from that same foggy place where Michael Douglas said in the movie Falling Down, “I think we have a critic here! I don’t think she likes the special sauce, Rick,” that I registered my surroundings again.

My wife has to, from time to time, get our sheepdog to stop chewing on, chomping, or otherwise bothering some things. It might be a sock, a cat, or even a screwdriver, but the command and tone is always the same. “Leave it!” Evidently this works on husbands too.

The redneck and his son disappeared into the crowd filing out after the movie while Mrs. Spookyblue and I discussed how long it would take for National Treasure 3 to come out. (It’s coming. Bet on it.) In truth, I’m a little surprised the redneck wasn’t in the next theater over watching Walk Hard. He seemed to have more in common with the Dewey Cox story. Slow. Mostly annoying with a few amusing bits. Count on seeing both at Walmart real soon.

Looking forward to Cloverfield.
Welcome to 2008!