THE MOVIE MANIFESTO
A Cinematic Plea for Sanity
Folks, I have been pushed as far as I can go. The straw that broke this camel's back came over my vacation to Vegas. Relaxing, yes, but something happened my last night there that has just fried me to my very soul, and I think it's time, with you dear readers' help, that something be done.
I went to a Vegas cineplex my last night out there, to chill and see a movie, so I could report to you all in a timely fashion, like is my desired tendency. I trotted off to see Van Damme's latest resume entry, Knock Off. At the window, I was notified that it would cost me $8.75 for an adult ticket. EIGHT DOLLARS and SEVENTY FIVE CENTS! I almost had a stroke with hemorrhage chaser. I asked the nimrod with the speaker-headset thingy if I was hearing her right. She smacked her gum for a minute, looked down and said, "Uh-huh...yeah, it's $8.75. Take it or leave it." After swallowing my desire to tell her to have a more physical relationship with the ticket in question, I handed her a ten and three quarters. Apparently, I stumped the dealer, because I had to tell her what change to make.
I walked in, went up to the concession area, and, wonder of wonders, the prices there matched the ticket prices. They were garnering $3.25 for a box of chocolate-covered peanuts, and a delicate $4.25 for a 32-ounce Cherry Coke. Goobers: $3.25, people. And, do the math, please, a twelve-pack of Cherry Coke is going, at tops, for $3.50 most everywhere else in the world. But, like a sheep, I paid my tariff and got my stuff. I was tempted to pour my Goobers out on the counter, count them, do some math, and figure a cost-per-Goober calculation, but I refrained.
I walked into the theatre, hearing the carpet squish as I stepped on it. Never a good sign. The concrete floor was literally thick with some long-collected series of spills, to the point that I had to forcibly pull my foot up from the muck at one point to make sure I was going to keep my shoe. I sat down slowly, expecting the worst from the seat, but, thankfully, there was no warm and sticky feeling there. Not two minutes after I sat down, Desert Bonehead and his girlfriend, Sand Wench came in, and rather than sit in any of the one hundred and three open seats in the room, chose to sit directly behind me. Just as the room darkened, Sand Wench decided this would be the appropriate time to tell Desert Bonehead about every mundane event that has ever happened in her life, loud enough for me and most of Nevada to hear. The only time Bonehead shushed her was to pay careful attention to the trailer for Urban Legend, which he claimed he heard was based on a true story. (God help us.)
Finally, as the movie began to run, she quieted to a semi-whisper. Then I felt it. Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.... Bonehead decided he needed to keep a rhythm through this movie, and the back of my seat suited him just fine. He'd stop for a minute or two, then, tap, tap, tap, tap.... It was like being trapped in an Edgar Allen Poe story.
Then, the Cool Whip on this miserable sundae. I don't know who gave Van Dame permission to act, but, almighty toad, his license is hereby revoked forthwith. This miserable piece of Hollywood excrement must have been scraped off the floor in the commissary bathroom, molded to fit, and slapped into cans before shipping. The horror of it was astounding, friends. That people were paid to act and write this putrid, steaming mess is unfathomable. The fact that Van Damme himself probably made at least seven figures for it is not only tragic, it is grand larceny.
I did the unthinkable, folks. I walked out. I stood up, "accidentally" spilled my Cherry Coke on Bonehead and Wench's matching ostrich-skin boots, and walked out. I toyed with the idea of demanding my money back from the manager, but after seeing this pimply-faced 17-year old "official," I gave up.
But, ohhhhhh, did I stew.....
On the way home, on the plane, the thought hit me: "I wish there was a Bill of Rights for movie-goers. Something that stated what we have the right to expect from moviemakers, theatre owners, and other moviegoers." It didn't seem like an unreasonable idea. So, by God, I wrote one.
I want you people to read it, and if you believe it, if you honestly, believe in these rights, I want you to do me a favor....
Print it. I want you to print this bill of rights, this Movie Manifesto, and sign it. Print it, sign it, and send it to the suits in Hollywood. Deliver it to the manager of your local theatre. Take copies with you, and hand them out to movie-goers, and have them sign it. Take one with you and tape it to forehead of the obnoxious person sitting behind you. If you've ever been forced to watch a miserable movie; if you've ever sat through a movie in a theatre with horrible sound, no focus, and inexcusable framing; if you've ever had a movie ruined by talking people, screaming kids, or seatkickers; you are not alone. All of us have, and it's time to stop this ridiculous behavior on all fronts.
Read on. There's a list of selected addresses afterward, so you'll know where to mail it to.
Summer Preview '01 | Academy Awards 2001 | The 5th Annual Loscars | Oscar Noms: Reaction 2001 | Excused from School | Matthau Remembered | Summer Preview 2000 | Academy Awards 2000 | The 4th Annual Loscars | Oscar Noms: Reaction 2000 | 2000 Predictions | Universal Soldiers | Happy Birthday, Hitch | Goodbye, MST3K | Try to Remember | Summer Preview '99 | Curse of the TV Movies |
Academy A-snores | The 3rd Annual Loscars | Waiting and Waiting | Gene Siskel Tribute | Now I'm Mad (Oscar Nominations '99) | 1998 Flashback | Remembering Roddy McDowall | Repeating History | The Movie Manifesto | Fall Preview '98 | The Day Eli P. Kingsley Came to Town | Field of Dreams | Lizard Season | Grey April, Dark Hearts | Oscar Reactions '98 | The Greatest Actor You've Never Heard Of | The 2nd Annual Loscars |
Oscar Noms | Unsportsmanlike Conduct |
1997: Gone But Not Forgotten |
A Note to Nick |
The Quaid Curse | Love, Law & Lake Tahoe | Talking Movies |
Black & White World
| Alternative Medicine: Waiting for Guffman | In Memoriam, Burgess Meredith |
Fall Preview '97 | Jimmy Stewart, R.I.P. |
The Cowboy Way | A Sporting Chance | In Praise of the VCR
| Summer Preview '97 | Alternative Medicine: That Thing You Do! |
The Rise and Fall...of Dan Aykroyd |
Post-Oscar Traumatic Syndrome | The Loscars | Lost Minds?! |
It's Academic! | Remembering Vincent Price | Movie Going Rules | Doctor's Orders