Last night around 6:45 pm I walked into Leows Lincoln Square and a mid-sized theatre playing The Hangover to see the Michael Moore teaser. Except I made the mistake of sitting behind an ugly bald guy whose seat was leaning way back, in the same way that thoughtless people in coach lean their seats right into your face. He was short and bald and rocking in his seat as he stuffed his face with popcorn. It was like sitting behind a rambunctious seven year-old. I hated him on sight.
The feeling was apparently mutual because he kept half-turning-around — i.e., the universal gesture that means “hey, quit what you’re doing because you’re bothering me.” I crossed my leg to re-tie my shoe and this asshole turned around. He bounced his seat back and it hit my left knee and this asshole turned around. I was sitting behind him doing nothing (except thinking what an asshole he was) and this asshole turned around.
After the fifth or sixth turn-around I said, “What…? What’s your problem?” He said I was breathing on his head and it bothered him. Nostril breath, he meant. “Well, you’re gonna have to deal with it, pal, because I’m not gonna stop breathing,” I said. “You wanna sit on my lap?” he said. No, I said, and why don’t you try just sucking it in and shutting the fuck up? “Just go…just get outta here,” he said. “I’m not going anywhere,” I said. “Find a way to live with it.”
But I didn’t want to be anywhere near this monkey so I looked around and noticed two vacant seats behind me, on either side of a pretty 20something girl. No clothing or markers on either seat so I got up and sat in the empty aisle seat. Beat, beat, beat. “This seat is saved for my boyfriend,” she said. “Oh, for God’s sake!,” I said as I got up. “I don’t know why you’d be mad at me,” she said. “Because if you’re saving a seat you mark it,” I said. “You lay…you know, lay a jacket or a handkerchief or a folded newspaper on it. As in basic jungle law?” She looked at me quizzically. “Like wolves marking territory with urine?” Nope, no clue, pointless.
After seeing the Moore teaser and watching the kids walk around with donation cups (the girl behind me who saved her boyfriend’s seat reached into her wallet and gave a dollar to “Save Our CEOs” — brilliant) and listen to a guy yell out “start the movie!,” Jett and I walked over to the Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 theatre for a 7:15 pm show.
They showed the Moore teaser again. We were going to sit somewhere in the fifth row but a 20something animal in shorts had his big ugly bare feet sticking through from his seat an aisle back. “I don’t wanna sit next to that guy’s feet,” Jett said. I looked over and felt contorted with digust. “What an animal,” I said to Jett. “Look at him.”
Then the trailers started playing, seven or eight of them. Deeply depressing, assaultive. I felt nausea after watching the trailer for I Love You Beth Cooper. Then a baby started crying about a half-hour into the film.
Steve Mason’s weekend projection says that The Hangover will win again and that Pelham will come in third with $26 million or so. The Lincoln Square was showing The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 in their best and biggest theatre and The Hangover in a slightly smaller and shittier house — a large underventilated shoebox. The Hangover theatre was packed to the rafters, and the Pelham theatre was maybe 80%, 85% full. But a lot of people applauded at the end of it.