I’m not seeing the midnight showing of The Avengers and it’s all your fault.
In my younger years, nothing would rev my nerd core like making my way to the local theater to participate in the occult ritual that is the midnight showing. However, as the disease of age has slowly wrapped its smoking black tendrils around my soul, I have come to realize something.
Midnight showings are the absolute worst way to watch a new movie.
Now before I go into my grumpy rant, let’s focus for a moment on the positive side of midnight showings. It’s a great way to spend some quality time with some staunch buds. It’s also a way to flaunt your nerd cred, having seen the film in question as soon as humanly possible (barring that you’re not some hoity-toity film critic or sneak-previewee). Most importantly, it is the number one way to momentarily stifle your ravenous desire to consume whatever blockbuster nerdgasm Hollywood has laid out in offering.
If those—among other things—fall onto your list of reasons to file into line during the small hours of night, good on ya! Be on your way! Enjoy the show! My personal experiences have, however, garnered a short list of negative attributes that make the idea of seeing a midnight showing of any film come in as a close second to having butter knives stabbed into my taint.
“But Brendan! My Brendan! What on earth could those negative items be? Perhaps if you were able to summarize them in some sort of list format!”
Oh, you know just how to get me going. Don’t you?
It’s Fucking Late
“Only two more hours until I can go enjoy myself in the dead of night!”
I assume full responsibility for the fact that I’m a lazy old fart, but seeing a movie at midnight is downright illogical. I know back when I was a giddy youth I would lurk about in the dead of night causing all sorts of mischief, so seeing a movie so late wasn’t exactly grueling, but I’m not that kid anymore. I’m an adult (barely)! I have a job (loose definition)! Homey don’t—nay, Homie can’t play dat!
Somewhere in my mid-twenties I became an early riser. I’m astonished when I even stay up until midnight. Don’t even make me contemplate not only being awake, but being outside with strangers and then both paying attention to and enjoying a cinematic adventure that could possibly last until 3 am. Who in their right mind would want to participate in such a thing?
Everyone does, apparently. A half hearted Google search landed me Entertainment Weekly’s report on the Hunger Games grossing almost $20 million from it’s midnight opening. That number, which equals around 1,538,461 people in theater seats (math most likely inaccurate if not insulting), is downright pathetic when compared to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows‘ $43.5 million in midnight revenue.
Obviously I’m the odd duck in this scenario. But, like I said, this is all personal preference. If you want to wake your children up at 11 pm and drag them down to your local cineplex for something that you could see the very next morning for a cheaper matinee price, that’s your thing. Of course, there are other things you must consider.
The Fanboys (and Girls)
Eat your heart out, Steve Rogers.
I don’t want you to get the wrong idea here. I love you. Honestly and truly, I adore each and every semi-dork to full-on geek that has the kindness and charity in their heart to click and read the poorly formed, error-laden sentences that I write on this nerd blog. Having said that, you are the absolute worst kind of people to see a film with.
While attempting to not sound too jaded, I absolutely cannot stand being shuffled into a room filled with a bunch of loud, often hygienically misguided, socially awkward/unacceptable mouth breathers. I’m no James Van der Beek, but I have inevitably caught on to the fact that showing up to the midnight showing in your vintage Captain America shirt and your Spider-Man themed inhaler isn’t going to win you any brownie points with the popcorn lady.
I know that sounds harsh. It was harsh. I’m sorry. You’re just trying to show off your love! There’s nothing wrong with that. Honestly if you show up in a full-metal Iron Man suit, I’m going to ask to take your picture. We all love these characters and that’s why we came out. If the fanboyism was your only transgression I wouldn’t even be writing these words. But oh, my problems delve so much deeper.
First off, there is an odd duality that comes with the fanboy when viewing a new film in theater. You have the talkers: Those chatty geeks who have emerged from their dwelling only in the darkest of night and are planning on having a good time. Of course, having not left their basement since high school, these creatures have lost valuable etiquette point and when they feel the need to share every amusing quip that enters their brain, they do. I have news for you, Mr. Funnypants. This isn’t MST3K. This isn’t your living room. Kindly shut the fuck up.
The second side of the coin, in a nutshell, is me. The anti-socials. They are here for one thing and one thing only, the film. They don’t want to talk to you. They don’t want to know what your most anticipated scene is. They want to see the movie and then they want to go home and write an angry blog about every little blemish (I should have my review up Friday).
Now, in all honesty, I prefer the latter of the two. This could easily be because they are my people. I feel the real reason is because, almost as a byproduct of their anti-social tendencies, they know how to watch a damn film. You sit there, you absorb visual and auditory information, and then you go home to reflect on what you’ve seen. That being said, the only time these totems of awkwardness seem to falter is during my next peeve.
I hate, I absolutely HATE, when people cheer during movies. I don’t care if Stan Lee is making his five second cameo. Your rampant hooting and hollering are making it so I can’t hear what Stan Lee is saying. You are not cheering on your favorite sports star. The Incredible Hulk isn’t going to think “Oh, they liked that! Better crank it up a notch and really give them a show!” It’s a goddamned movie! They can’t hear you. All you’re doing is making it so I can’t hear them, and I paid money to come hear them.
“They like me! They really like me! Even when I’m angry!”
On a similar note: applauding at the end of a film? Really? Do you think Joss Whedon is going to stand up from the front row for a curtain call? Do you think there’s a studio exec hiding in the back with some kind of clap-o-meter? I’m happy you liked the movie, but just shut it. Whenever I hear the sound of slapping palms at the end of a feature I am left in a state of bewilderment. Do they think the cast is going to pop out from behind the screen and take a bow? It’s just a movie and they already have your money. After that transaction they stop caring about what you think.
Now I think that the one thing we can gather from the post is that I am a disgruntled douche who would do better in a log-cabin-one-trip-to-town-per-month environment. I need to stress that If midnight showings are your thing, go for it. I love you for who you are. Just don’t expect to see me there.
However, if any or all of these points click with you and you find yourself saying “Yeah! Fuck those guys!” then I only have five words for you:
See you at the matinee.