August 4, 2014

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: A Public Service Announcement

Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro. Directed by James Gunn. (2014, 122 min).

The following is an important public service announcement from Free Kittens Movie Guide. Please read carefully. It might just save your life…

One time, my wife and I decided to take the family to the movies because she really wanted to see Guardians of the Galaxy. I wasn’t monumentally enthused because it initially didn’t look that great and I was kind of burning out on Marvel’s current movie-of-the-month campaign, not-to-mention a phenomenally stupid title which made it sound like a Saturday morning cartoon from the 80s. But hey, all good marriages are built on a solid foundation of mutual respect, understanding and occasional compromise, right? Besides, I sometimes feel like she still hasn’t quite forgiven me for making her endure the depressing twist ending to The Mist. On the other hand, she did drag me kicking and screaming to Transformers, so maybe we’re even.

Anyway, we saw Guardians on opening weekend, so the theater was packed. While Francie and Lucy went back to the lobby before the movie for our customary $97 tub of popcorn (and to pee…not in the lobby, of course), Natalie and I sat and watched the place start to fill up. A particularly loud, boisterous family came in.

You know how you can sometimes tell someone’s an obnoxious ass after being in their company for only a few seconds, who's oblivious to everyone and completely ignorant to the amount of precious oxygen wasted by filling the air with words of no importance whatsoever? This was an entire litter of them, barking to each other at maximum volume, a few attempting to walk and text at the same time, not even once looking up as others in the theater were forced to move aside. It was immediately obvious this family was one of the primary reasons I generally don’t go to the mall anymore (or movies on opening weekends). All I could do was pray this belligerent brood didn’t select the row right behind us.

I must have prayed to the right gods because, fortunately, they sat at least eight rows back. They were still louder than hell, though. During one trailer for an animated Disney movie, while everyone else in the theater chuckled at a few amusing bits, this family was laughing so goddamn loud and hard you’d think they’d just heard the world’s deadliest joke. Even a few of the patrons around us craned their heads back in this family’s direction.

I guess some folks don’t get out much.

But ironically, I was mostly able to tolerate this batch of booger-eaters, partially because the movie was loud enough that I only occasionally heard them blurt asinine comments no one asked for.

Besides, they weren’t the worst moviegoers in the place. That distinction belongs to some of the smug, pretentious fanboys who did take the nearby seats. One such individual was a bearded, fat-ass, thirtysomething who sat directly behind us with either his mother (meaning he probably still lives with her) or an aging cougar with no standards whatsoever. He was also hell-bent on verbally spewing his knowledge of Guardians of the Galaxy comics at every opportunity during the movie, piping in with a trivia tidbit about a character, or pompously declaring “Impressive” whenever he liked what he saw. Yeah, thanks buddy. The movie is so much better with your fucking stamp of approval.

This douche wasn’t the only chatterbox comic geek in the crowd, but was the object of my sharply-focused disdain due to his proximity. My wife could tell I was about to explode, because she repeatedly grabbed my hand reassuringly, a subtle reminder that ripping his throat out with my bare hands was probably not worth the jail time. His blood would also make the theater floor even stickier than it already was.

Aside from the Hitlers and Bundys of the world, are there any bigger shitheads on the planet than those sitting in a theater who assume the rest of us are waiting with bated breath for their next comment? As I discovered during Guardians, it’s even worse if said-shithead is a fanboy.

I’ve got nothing against fanboys per se. I suppose my lifelong obsession with movies makes me one, too. But that doesn’t mean I show up at a theater with a verbal checklist, arrogantly (and vocally) challenging the movie to please me. I'm well-aware nobody in my vicinity gives a damn about my opinion or my cinema smarts. So I shut up and watch the movie.

However, some fanboys feel supremely-compelled drop their geek-knowledge on everyone within earshot, totally full of themselves as they self-righteously lay-out the good, the bad & the ugly of any movie that ever had its own booth at Comic-Con.

I caught two of these things humping on my
shed a few weeks ago.
And that’s fine, fanboys…feel free to celebrate or condemn anything you want. That’s part of the fun of being a fanboy. Just don’t do it in the middle of the movie, where 95% of the audience couldn't care less if Ben Kingsley‘s character wasn’t the real Mandarin in Iron Man 3.

Similarly, I didn’t care whether or not Guardians of the Galaxy was a faithful rendition of the comic book. I paid $67.50 for tickets and snacks simply hoping to be entertained by a movie I didn’t want to see in the first place.

Fortunately, despite its stupid title (sorry, fanboys), Guardians of the Galaxy wasn’t just good. It was great…I mean original-Star Wars-trilogy great, and I didn't need the approval of an arrogant ass-monkey in attendance to confirm my assessment. It’s easily the best Marvel Studios movie I’ve ever seen, and the only one where I look forward to a sequel. The film's playfulness somewhat smothered my rage at the verbal vomit from the fanboy seated behind us, and its sheer volume mostly drowned out the family of mouth-breathers several rows back. In fact, the greatness of Guardians of the Galaxy, along with my wife, saved several lives that day.

Which brings me to the public service announcement for anyone planning a night at the movies...and I'll use monosyllabic words to avoid any ambiguity:


You aren’t at home, you aren’t in the basement of your mom’s house and  nothing you say will enhance the moviegoing experience of the strangers seated around you, who just want to have a good time. No one cares about your background knowledge of the franchise, no one cares whether or not the characters are faithful to those in the comic books you collect, no one cares if said-movie strays from the story that’s become an unhealthy obsession in your life.

But even if your aren’t a fanboy, reluctantly strolling into a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy as I did, heed this announcement and simply shut the fuck up. Is it really that hard? Do you truly think anything you have to say in the middle of a movie is that important (even if you’re too stupid to realize you‘re even talking)? Yeah, you paid your money, but so did everybody else, and not to listen to you.

For the sake of your own survival…Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

Because, just like Superman in Man of Steel, I might just confound fanboy expectations and snap your goddamn neck.

The proceeding message was a public service announcement from the good folks at Free Kittens Movie Guide.

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