Dec 12

bitch, please

I have mostly been ignoring this whole “woo, the world is going to end tomorrow!” “woo, people who think that are soooo crazy!” thing that’s been going around, because it’s silly. But I do have a grudge against the Mayan calendar. It is because of the Mayan prediction about the end of the world — or someone’s interpretation as such — that I was once terribly rude in a theater during a press screening. I am still slightly embarrassed.

For some reason passing my current understanding, back in 2009 I went to the press screening for the movie 2012. I wasn’t reviewing the movie. Maybe I was just bored. Actually, now that I look at the release date, I do understand, because it was November 2009 and I was between jobs, and probably just wanted to hang out with film critic friends and go to daytime screenings while I had the chance. And of course there is always the chance that a movie that looks like it might be dreadful could surprise you. (Also, there was John Cusack and Oliver Platt.)

But 2012 was just awful. It wasn’t even an entertaining disaster movie in an Irwin Allen-ish way. The movie is about the epic disasters that occur in December 2012 when the whole Mayan calendar thing kicks in and the earth boils and collapses or whatever it does. The plot was dumb, the characters were dumb, the CGI-a-go-go special effects were implausible, and it had all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. I sat next to a colleague who she was shaking her head at me a little in a teasing way because I kept checking my watch, wondering if it would ever, ever end. It was 158 minutes long and I felt every second of those minutes.

Near the end of the movie, John Cusack is doing something heroic underwater — I honestly can’t remember what — and he’s submerged longer than expected. And his wife, who has done nothing at all of any interest throughout the previous two hours or so, just starts screaming and carrying on. And I was thunderstruck. Let me tell you, if Chip were underwater saving all of us and it was longer than 30 seconds, I would be diving down there immediately. No woman in that situation who wasn’t a movie character would just stand there and do nothing.

“Bitch, please.”

And then I realized that I’d said it out loud.

And then I realized I had probably not used my inside voice, either.

And my friend is sitting next to me trying to fight the urges to frown at the noise or laugh at the outburst or maybe even applaud, who knows, and I suspect had quite a struggle herself to remain composed. Press-only screenings are generally not lively affairs. My first press screening was Clerks 2 and I can remember worrying that I was laughing too loudly..

The wife eventually did go after the husband, although it took so long it was a miracle he hadn’t died and been eaten by a killer shark (not that there were killer sharks, but in this movie, I wouldn’t have been surprised if one appeared out of nowhere just for kicks) and they all lived happily ever after on a cruise ship, which made no sense at all, but oh joy, oh rapture, the movie was over at last.

My colleague teased me about it afterward, but no one else said anything. We were in the front row of people, so maybe the sound didn’t carry? Maybe it was drowned out by the industrial-strength soundtrack? Or maybe everyone else was asleep. Still, I am not proud of having shouted at a movie in a theater, any movie that isn’t Rocky Horror, and I blame the damn Mayans. Also Roland Emmerich, the writer/director who perpetrated this atrocity. And Amanda Peet, too, now that I think of it, for not protesting at the inanity of the character she played.

But mostly the Mayans. The world is ending tomorrow, is it? Bitch, please.