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  Film Reviews: A Man Apart: A Tale of Trying To See A Movie Just for Fun  

Monday, April 7
A Man Apart: A Tale of Trying To See A Movie Just for Fun
I see movies for fun all the time. In fact, that’s the main reason I go – this isn’t about writing reviews and trying to be clever. I think some people envision me at dozens of film screenings a week, each with eager studio reps present to ply me with expensive wines, gourmet foods, media kits and fine jewelry just to get a “Best Film of the Year!!!” quote to use in an ad.

I’m no Ed Dittmer. And anyway, this is Columbus. If I see a movie in advance, you’re likely to see me there if you won free tickets on a morning show to their “exclusive” premiere.

More often than not, I’m just like everyone else at the movies – out to spend two hours watching a completely different world. Sometimes I want to see great movies - and sometimes, I want to see something that I know will be so bad it will be good. This weekend, I wanted to see the new Vin Diesel movie.

Husband was a particularly good trooper this weekend. Husband is currently in a hip-to-ankle leg brace due to a broken kneecap. This makes seating at the movies even more important – aisle seats and raised platforms are ideal.

We had this seat at the first theater we went to – it was great. The theater was sparsely populated (and largely male) and appeared to be well-behaved. We were all there for the sheer guilty pleasure of a Vin Diesel movie that we knew wouldn’t be great but would offer almost two hours of a cop-in-need-of-vengeance story. It would be a fine afternoon.

That fine afternoon was spoiled as soon as the date of the person behind us showed up – just as the film started. Sure, we expected the “I’m sorry I was late” conversation, and we knew that there would be plenty of snack shuffling and noise while the person settled into their seat.

What we weren’t prepared for was the onslaught of loud conversation that started as soon as this person’s date was settled. Had she been a neurosurgeon discussion the incredible discovery of a surgical technique that might cure her date’s inoperable brain tumor – and had been explaining why he needed to leave immediately to have said operation – we would have understood.

Keep in mind I go to the movies a lot. I know that the current state of movie going prohibits the quiet awe of film enjoyment that might have existed in the fifties. There will be bored and annoyed children, someone will have what sounds like a case of terminal bronchitis, teenage girls will discuss cute boys and at some point the film will be watched. Expecting all of these things, there are still some people that will prove to be even more annoying than normal.

Normally, husband and I move when this kind of conversation begins. I’ve tried everything imaginable in the past to move past this situation – the fake cough, the obvious “Ah-hem!” and even speaking directly to the offending party about their behavior. More often than not, the hard-core offenders fail to respond to any of these techniques. It’s easier to move to another part of the theater.

Ah, but the aforementioned knee brace. We had the ideal seat. The handicapped seats on the aisle (next best) were already taken. Aisle seats above were proving to be quite popular. We were trapped. I turned around and actually had to tap the offending individual on the knee when three loud “excuse me!” ice breakers failed to gain their attention. After explaining that we would prefer to move but could not, I asked that they keep the conversation down and/or move to a different part of the theater.

This became a lose-lose situation for husband and I. It became quite clear that this was one of those couples that feel entitled when they pluck down their cash for a film. This is a breed of moviegoer that is growing in rapid numbers. Basically, the cost of admission gives them permission to act in any manner that they see fit – after all, it was their money that got them in the door.

By speaking to this breed of moviegoer, one risks giving purpose to the conversation. No longer are they filling moments of relative quiet (you know, when the characters are speaking) with the sound of their own voices, but now they have something to prove. This couple wanted to prove that they had the right to ignore my request to be quiet.

Husband and I lasted about ten minutes into the film. It became clear that this would eventually become an epic battle of wills. Since we’d only wanted to go to the movies, husband and I did what good movie patrons should do – we left, went to the customer service counter and calmly asked for our money back.

We were given refunds, and the manager did his best to apologize for things beyond his control. We were offered the ability to go into any other movie currently playing for free, but we declined. Instead, we found another theater where the movie would start in an hour.

I’m happy to report that we were actually able to catch a few things we missed in the first ten minutes and husband and I were able to enjoy our bad movie in relative peace (we even had our pick of aisle seats).

The Usual:

What It’s Worth: If you’re a Vin Diesel fan, see this at the matinee – otherwise, wait for the HBO multi-view.

Annoying Theater Goer: Seriously, you really have to ask?

Main Reason to See This Film: You’re a Vin Diesel fan! But don’t expect the title “A Man Apart” to make any sense – I don’t really ever remember Vin being on his own when he decides to kick drug dealer butt to deliver the special revenge that only a man whose wife has been killed by drug dealers can produce.

Main Reason Not To See This Film: The rudimentary knowledge of police procedure, hiring practices and extradition laws you’ve garnered from watching various police dramas will be insulted.

MPAA Rating: R

Nudity: Yes.

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