I am 25 years old. I went on a date to see The Hunger Games. Actually, I should clarify: I did not go through the process of asking a girl to see this film with me, no sweaty palms or nervous pacing. I was an unwilling fifth wheel on a double date. My four companions? Total strangers. How did this happen? What am I even talking about? Here we go.
Friday night, as most of you already know, was the opening night of The Hunger Games - a film based on a series of novels that I have never read. But I am a person in love with events. I am 500 people deep on line to get a new phone. I wait patiently for Robert Loggia's autograph at horror conventions. I never mind being part of a crowd. Twitter has ruined everything. I had to see this movie everyone else would be talking about. I had to remain relevant.
I did everything right. I went to the hidden multiplex eight towns away. I avoided all the sold out shows and extreme Hunger Games fans. I don't expect a pleasant movie-going experience anymore and haven't for years. When you expect perfect silence and considerate people, you just set yourself up for a gigantic letdown.
That's when it happened. One row behind me, in an otherwise moderately crowded theater, came the double date. To be honest, I didn't see them enter as they came in well after the film had started. Two guys. Two
girls sitting boy-girl, boy-girl. By the film's end, I knew more about Ron and Felicia and Ben and Jasmine than I did about Katniss or Peeta or some drunk guy named Sandwich.
I won't go into detail. I won't tell you about when Ron got a handski over his pants or when Jasmine got in a full-blown fight with Ben over why he went to a house party instead of hanging out with her. I won't talk about how many times cell phones were dropped, soda spilled, bad jokes cracked. That's not really the point of any of it. Like I said, when you set your expectations of what going to the movies is too high, you just end up deflated.
...and THAT'S the point. This all reached a fever pitch during a 7pm screening of Easy A months ago when a disgruntled teenager stood up during the film's climatic speech, bent over, and farted loudly from the third row. Someone 10 rows back shouted "doorknob." We all have stories because going to the movies is no longer for the normal; it's for the depraved.
So how do we begin to cope? Fact is, we don't. We can either stop going all together, which will never happen because we love movies too much. We can shush people endlessly and get pissed off, which won't happen because us movie nerds can not actually fight. We can only passive-aggressively hope we're making an impact. Needless to say, I got nothing out of The Hunger Games ...largely because I got caught up in the dramas of real teenage life.
Nick Orsini is a writer and bearded New Jersey guy. His work can be found here.