The Movie Audience Is Not Alright

On Tuesday night I went to see The Kids Are Alright, starring Annette Benning, Mark Ruffalo and the redhead who ruined several episodes of 30 Rock, Julianne Moore.  The movie has been getting very strong reviews, which may only be relative to the crap that’s has been released this Summer (not including Inception, Toy Story 3 and The Other Guys).  The catch was me and my lady went to see it on Tuesday night at Clearview Cinemas, which is free movie day for Optimum Triple Play customers (my girlfriend is – when you have cable, phone and Internet from Optimum).  Every Tuesday you can get two free tickets to any movie.  Naturally these can be crowded theaters, but in a city where movie tickets cost $97.5o per person it cannot be passed up.

Sidebar – for the greatest Optimum Triple Play ad click the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EVxI0uGzeY

To put things as politically correct as possible, let’s say that free movie night is a good thing because it encourages audience members who may not generally see independent films about white, lesbian couples to see them.  Of course, this can backfire when people go blindly to see it because it is free, without having ANY idea what the movie is about.

As the previews start running they are, shockingly, for independent films (seriously when is someone going to make a spoof film of independent films – odd camera angles, grainy footage, guy with beard, girl in flowery dresses, quirky best friends, soundtrack from artists you’ve never heard of – done!).  The peanut gallery in the back announces after each preview: “boring.”  Then a preview for the movie “Waiting For Superman” (about lotteries in NY and DC for exclusive free schools) comes on and instead of the Madea fan club in the back, it was the condescending liberal white women behind me who kept saying “awwwwww”ing like the black kids in the preview were lost puppies. 

So now that I was sufficiently angry at both black people and white people the movie started.

About ten minutes in two things became clear.  One is that the audience had the collective sense of humor of a Broadway musical audience – simple, unsophisticated and too ready to laugh at mediocre jokes.  The other is that the trio of middle aged black people in the back are not ready for a film about a gay couple.  Here are the highlights:

-10 minutes in, Annette Benning and awful red-headed actress kiss (more like a peck on the lips).

“Ewwwwwwwwwwww”

-20 minutes in, “humorous” scene with bad actress going down on Annette Benning (under covers)

“Awwwww naaaaaaa.  mmmmmm mmmmm”

-40 minutes in, Annette Benning and bad actress assure their son, who they think may be gay that they won’t judge him

“Y’all can’t judge him! Pssssshhhhhhh”

-60 minutes in – screen goes blank as the projector breaks

This is the second consecutive free movie I have attended at Clearview where the projector has broken (the first was Get Him To the Greek, when the projector broke down with 20 minutes left in the movie).  I have not seen another movie at Clearview or any other theater this year where that has happened.  I am guessing they put the C team on Tuesday nights at Clearview, figuring the people will get exactly what they paid for.

So we all sat as some people went to complain.  Then my favorite moment of the whole experience.

Diary of an Ignorant Black Woman comes back into the theater and announces: “If you go to the guest services desk they will give you a free ticket to any movie you want.”

Theater employee who is addressing the crowd from the front of the theater: “Yes, you can get replacement tickets.”

DoaIBW: “I SAID THAT – DON’T TRY AND TELL THEM THAT NOW – I ALREADY SAID THAT!”

DoaIBW leaves the theater while theater employee explains to the remaining audience that they can only get tickets for shows that night and that all shows are already sold out.  That is not a typo.

We then left the movie theater at that point.  So if anyone knows the last half of the movie please let me know if it was better than the first half.  Hollywood is starting to treat movies about gay people the way mostly white high schools treat their sparsely present black classmates – they are given an automatic level of popularity and credibility, regardless of whether they warrant it.  From the first half of TKAA it was shaping to be an incredibly overrated film.

The moral of this blog – free movies suck and so do people.