Hear ye, hear ye! As the clock struck 1:15 today, I was cooling my heels in an AMC Theater eagerly awaiting the 1:00 showing of THE HELP. After being turned away on opening week for lack of the actual movie that had been touted with show times on their website, and informed the next week that THE HELP would not be making any sort of appearance at this theater...fortune smiled upon me and delivered THE HELP.
There were perhaps eighty people at this showing, which is pretty good for a Saturday afternoon in these parts, what with summer still in effect and the lakes and ORV staging areas popular destinations for the populace. Indeed, I have attended many a movie with less than ten people in the audience.
Let's begin this action-packed movie-going experience with the fact that I like to arrive early to get seats in the back row. Not the long middle back row. The side four-seat back row. With only two seats behind it. We were delayed by my mother's late arrival to drop off The Pony at his bowling league. Not enough to miss the movie, but enough to make me obsess over the possibility of not getting my preferred seat.
We parked. I grabbed my movie purse, which is only full of a tiny flip notebook, a pen, glasses, phone, and a leftover box of Buncha Crunch that has been in the car for over a month in that purse, and is surely a buncha melted mess by now. A carload of old ladies pulled up. They hustled out and made a beeline for the door. I turned to my mom. "I knew it. They are going to get my seat. Let's hurry."
Lucky for us, two of the three had canes, and the other one tripped on the sidewalk. She wasn't hurt. It was just a stumble. She even chuckled about it. We passed her handily, but those caned ladies were a force to be reckoned with. Fortunately, they got confused at the entrance and I surged ahead. Could I help it that they thought they still had to go through that strap-maze to the window slot? While they were milling around the other entrance door in search of an egress point, I stepped up to buy our tickets. My mom magnanimously hung back, herded them through the door, and insisted that they go ahead of her, because, "You were here first." Well, fiddle-dee-dee. We need to hold a summit on her shocking lack of cut-throat behavior to score coveted movie seats for her daughter. If we were interrogating perpetrators, she would totally go all Good Cop on them.
I was quite ecstatic to find my seats available. The previews started as we walked in. I left Mom and my movie purse to hold the seats, and went back for popcorn. The counter clerk started to scoop it as another one poured popcorn into the hopper. "Oh, if I'd waited a few minutes, I could have had fresh popcorn." The hopper clerk agreed. He told the other dude to wait and scoop mine after it was done. I took the soda and some Reese's Pieces to the theater and came back for my hot popped corn. This was turning out to be the best movie experience ever.
Then, at 1:20, just before the last of the previews, the bottom dropped out. A lady pushed a wheelchaired man through our door and parked him behind me. I'm not complaining about that part. It was his rightful area to cool his wheels and watch THE HELP. I don't know the nature of his different-abledness, but these things I know for sure. He had a healthy voice, two healthy arms, and a healthy mind. As well as a healthy appetite.
His laugh was a deep, booming bellow. Like you might hear on the laugh track of I Love Lucy. The one that stands out. I don't begrudge anyone a vocal bout of mirth while enjoying a movie. But I would like him to dial the decibels down a bit so I don't need industrial earphones like those worn by luggage handlers on the tarmac to protect their aural cavities from the roar of jet engines.
My other issue was with the backseat viewer's method of popcorn bag disposal. He and his woman companion partook of the feedbag and a refill. That's perfectly understandable. Always get your money's worth at the theater. But when the bag is empty, and of no use anymore, simply toss it into the nearest trash can. Simply. Toss. It.
There I was, sweltering in the Mississippi heat, listening to Minnie explain to Celia that she never burns the chicken, and the next thing I knew, I was in the middle of a restricted nuclear test site. The loud popping of the bomb and subsequent crackling of flames engulfing all objects within a sixty-mile radius reached me slightly before the whoosh of the nuclear wind. My hair blew forward even before I jumped out of my skin.
Seriously. Drop that bag in the wastebasket. You are not in your own living room. I demand a public service spot like the one about turning off cell phones. That little stunt took me right out of the movie. I don't even think he realized what he did. It was probably a habit he cultivates in the privacy of his home. But I doubt that his home is full of white-haired old ladies who may be in need of a defibrillator after such a shock to the system.
Still, I did not change my hard-won seat. THE HELP was excellent. It never dragged, did not seem two-and-a-half hours long, and somewhat surprised me when the credits started to roll. It followed the book quite closely. I heartily recommend it. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You might want to pop your paper popcorn sack.