My wife and I went to see a movie last night. I know, big news, right?
The theater is in the process of being renovated, so only half of its usual eight theaters are actually open. We went to see “The Silver Linings Playbook“. It’s a movie about family, love lost, and mental illness. It was very well done and had a stellar cast. Sadly, the film will not likely grab a major prize at the Oscars, because it prominently features the Philadelphia Eagles and as such it cursed itself out of winning the big one.
The theater we sat in to watch the movie had a newly redone interior. The seats were recliners with luxurious, buttery leather upholstery. You could use the power button to lift your feet up and recline the seat. Sadly, the movie screen was still in its usual location, requiring reclined patrons to flex their necks to see it. Putting the screen on the ceiling may have been better. Not to worry, I kept the seat upright and watched from the normal position. In any case, it was nice that theater owners are thinking outside the box and trying to come up with new ways to make going to the movies a little better.
The lovely new seats were nice, but one of my movie theater pet peeves remained in force; the unwanted sharing of sound effects. Though there were no explosions, car crashes or other such cataclysmic events in “The Silver Linings Playbook” there must have been quite a few next door in “Hansel and Gretel – Witch Hunters“. At various points during my movie, sometimes at poignant moments of dramatic tension or touching tenderness, there would be a sub-sonic rumbling attached to the plot next door.
I’m certain that when the movie was being filmed, director David O. Russell did not say to Robert De Nero, “Bobbie, that was great! You really captured the conflicted emotions of the father in that scene. Only one thing was missing – can we try one more take, ’cause I think this time I want to have the low rumble of a Blackhawk helicopter hovering right over the house just as you say your big line.”
It’s unfortunate that my mastery of the English language is insufficient to put into words the sound which permeated the theater at various points during the movie. It was kind of a “MMMMMMMMMMRRRRRRRMMMMMMMRRRRRGGG” which I could almost feel more than hear. It’s the worst kind of lapse in continuity – A reminder that I was watching a make-believe story featuring actors. It’s impossible to really lose myself in a story, no matter how well written or acted it may be, when I’m reminded at random intervals that on the other side of the wall, there are pretty young actors killing computer-generated witches in slow motion with bazookas.
The good news is that if I’m patient enough, I can see nearly any movie from my own comfortable living room once it comes out on DVD. In the event that a subsonic rumbling occurs during a pivotal scene, I can just pause the DVD and wait for the earth-moving equipment to get off my front lawn. With any luck, I’ll succeed in losing myself in a beautiful story for an hour or two.