I haven’t seen a film with a mostly African-American audience in my entire life — not once. That’s partly because I prefer seeing films in the company of elite film-Catholics like myself in my neck of the woods (and preferably in private screening rooms), partly because I don’t like seeing mass-market movies with regular ticket-buyers because they make too much noise with candy wrappers and go to the bathroom too much and bring their noisy-ass kids, and partly because of the legend of urban audiences always talking back to the screen is still with us, whatever the truth of it, and I won’t have that.
And yet I’ve heard some good stories about urban audiences giving it back to certain films in hilarious ways. LexG’s recent tale about having to suffer through Avatar with Scatman Crothers sitting next to him took me back to one I heard 30 years ago. It came from actor Keith Szarabajka, about seeing Ridley Scott‘s Alien with a talky crowd somewhere near 110th Street in Manhattan.
The moment arrived when Sigourney Weaver, knowing the big alien would get her sooner or later, was about to make her getaway in the small space pod attached to the Nostromo. And then she realized she’d forgotten her cat, Jonesy, and began to creep back into a scary part of the ship to find him. The audience moaned at first, and then flat-out revolted. It was “ohh, girl…whatchoo doin’? A fuckin’ cat? Get the fuck outta there …get your motherfuckin’ ass outta there! Fuck the cat! FUCK THE CAT!!”