10 July 2010

My Frustrations With Film Goers, My Love of a Film Character

Some people think I'm a bit of a grump. In my defense...I am. But yesterday's experience would have tested anyone's patience. It left me to conclude that I should only go the cinema when there's something playing I really, really, really really want to see.

I saw a terrific film yesterday, Winter's Bone, more on that later. Sadly my ability to truly appreciate the film was hindered by some of my fellow audience members. First there was the couple who brought a five course meal. It seemed that every morsel was tightly wrapped in the most crinkly paper ever made. When they weren't rifling through and undoing the bags, they were loudly unscrewing bottle caps and doing what sounded like tearing down a load bearing wall. Finally and simultaneously me and some other patrons expressed our outrage and they put a stop to the cacophony.

Meanwhile and throughout the film, there was a gentleman seated towards the back of the theater who on occasion let loose gargantuan yawns (if they reflected his feeling about the film I'm sure he was brain damaged). I'm equally certain that it is possible to, if not totally suppress a yawn, at least not exaggerate it.

Not to be outdone, one patron's cell phone started ringing and, wouldn't you know it, she had trouble finding it and then turning the bloody thing off. Here's a tip: turn of your cell phone before the movie starts.

The last straw, and yes the very one that fractured the camel's back, came during the climactic scene of the film. Two ladies thought it a good time start discussing the movie. Here's another tip: wait until a film is over before talking about it.

It would have been a really good occasion to see a terrible film, but darn the luck I saw a real corker. I just can't justify spending nearly ten bucks to sit where my fellow man or woman are liable to ruin my experience. At the same time I can't yet give up the big screen experience nor can I stand to wait for the DVD to see certain films. Maybe I should start packing a taser....

As for the film I'll just say I fell in love with the heroine and the actress who played her (and I don't mean in some icky romantic way, she's a 19 year old playing a 17 year old). The character of Ree Dolly and the actress who played her, Jennifer Lawrence, should rightfully be among the iconic screen personas of all time. She was that good. Her creation was that good. That's what I fell in love with. The performance.

Ree is tough times ten. She's in a seemingly impossible situation but doesn't give an inch, or for that matter a millimeter. The setting is the Ozarks, Ree's a high schooler who must raise her younger siblings as her father is physically absent and her mother mentally so. They will lose the house, which was put up for bond, if dad doesn't show up in court and he's nowhere to be found. Ree must find him, dead or alive. People who might help are more than just a little reluctant to do so. Dad and others are, after all, in the business of cooking meth.

It's a bleak landscape full of ignorance, danger and hard simple truths. Ree navigates with an unrelenting purposefulness. She will not back down or be intimidated. So she's a young girl among mean tough men, what of it? She'll look 'em square in the eye then go back home, skin a squirrel and teach her brother and sister how to use a rifle.

Hardscrabble existence? Damn near apocalyptic.

Lawrence will be in a film called The Beaver, directed by Jodie Foster starring...oh my goodness...Mel Gibson, to be released later this year. She has two other films in pre production. If she doesn't become a major star then I'm an even bigger idiot than you originally thought. But at least I don't make noise in movie theaters.


Univarn said...

My dislike to general film-goers is one of the reasons I seldom cough up the $$ to go check out certain films. The art-house film crowd around me is incredibly limited, so usually if I go during non-weekend hours it's just me and another person... both of us being introverts and avoiding one another.

This movie just opening here the other day so I hope to watch it one day this week.

Alex Hystone said...

I understand your frustrations with the not-so-courteous audience members, but I always have to remind myself that part of the beauty of cinema is the fact that it is a shared experience. Sitting in a dark room with others, the smell of popcorn, and the sound of candy wrappers are all part of the fun.

Also, I'd like to comment that not many things in this world make me more happy than seeing an independent and well done film like Winter's Bone and walking out of the theater surrounded by a crowd of audience members who each seem to be engaging in intellectual debate over the film. It's good to know that some adults still appreciate a good thought provoking film when they see one.


Richard Hourula said...

I often see films at the Pacific Film Archives. They don't allow food at all so instead of the "sound of candy wrappers" there's only the sound of the movie.

The Mad Hatter said...

This post saddens me, because it strikes me that very few of the troublemakers you described really wanted to be there.

At the moment, this is the best movie I've seen so far this year, and one that I've been championing that everybody see.

The reaction I'm getting most often is "Not playing anywhere close by"...and now the shame of that is compounded by hearing about people who DO have it playing nearby, but just can't behave themselves.

Glad to hear through all of it, you were able to get something out of this truly fantastic film.