love/hate relationships...

i have many. but today a trip to the movies reminded of one of my longest running dichotomous infatuations. chris and i headed out to the hollywood 24 here in town to see a matinee showing of the kingdom, the newest "introspective" war movie to hit the multiplexes. while the movie itself was mildly enjoyable-- jason bateman offers some fabulous comic relief amongst all the blood and bullets and jennifer garner does her best alias impression. it will take me many, many days to get the visual of her thrusting a 6 inch hunting blade into the groin of an offending saudi out of my head. i cringed for all man kind-- i walked out of the theatre shaking my head not at the heavy handed "moral" of the film but at the conflicting love affair i continue to have with the cinema.

let's talk about the love first. it is, after all, the strength so strong mere force is feebleness-- thank you mr. cummings. at some point in between the cameo appearance of a foul-mouthed tim mcgraw and the attempted "humanizing" of muslims everywhere (they have *gasp* families and are not *gasp* all terrorists!) i was struck with the realization that i was sitting in a theatre. in atlanta. watching a movie. i wasn't, in fact, there in the desert with jamie and jen and chris and jason. i wasn't in saudi arabi watching from a birds eye view as the inner workings of the royal family unfolded in front of me. i was safe and sound in an airconditioned building in georgia. amazing.

i love that about the movies. i love when i forget where i am, when i have a moment amidst the magic of the flickering lights of the projector where i realize just a moment before i was somewhere else. i was on the streets of riyadh with heightened senses waiting for the next attack. i was holding my breathe for minutes at a time, totally engrossed in the story-- no matter how implausible it might be. the strength of the cinema-- and the reason it will never be put out of business by DVDs or home "theatre" systems-- will always be its ability to transport patrons to another place and time. and it is why i-- and others-- continue to pay ever-increasing sums of money to see images on the big screen. put simply we love the movies.

but there is a downside, as with any relationship. what i hate about the movies actually doesn't have anything to do with the movies. it has to do with movie patrons. inconsiderate-noisy-perhaps-mentally-challenged-movie patrons. first, i hate when people bring infants or toddlers to the theatre. not to G-rated offerings like cars or even the newly minted PG designated franchises like harry potter and the golden compass. i mean crying, fussy babies at R-rated films. i don't want to listen to your toddler whine during the impactful turning points of a movie about war! leave the kids at home. and if you can't afford a babysitter than you probably shouldn't be spending $9 on a ticket to a poorly reviewed movie on a sunday afternoon.

children aren't the only offenders in this regard, however. calling all adults: let's have a discussion about appropriate times to talk during a movie, ok? are you listening? the appropriate time to discuss and recap the finer points of the screenplay is AFTER the credits are rolling. i hate listening to the guy two rows behind me trying to sound cool by explaining to his girlfriend the patton reference that chris cooper just made. dude, she doesn't get it! nor does she care to get it! she is there to see jamie foxx, not to understand the finer points of u.s.-saudi relations. just let it go. also, while i am fired up, i hate people who talk on the phone, unwrap food of varying types, cough constantly (bring a lozange for pete's sake!), or choose to sit in the middle of a crowded row and then get up more than once to go to the bathroom and disrupt the movie-going experience of at least 15 other people. let's learn some manners people! think of your fellow patron. sit down. don't move. shut up. and leave the kids at home.

maybe, if we all work together, we can turn this conflicting romance into nothing but love. nothing but love baby!

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