If Victor Hugo was right when he said “it is by suffering that human beings become angels” then somebody owes me a deluxe set of wings.
My tragic tale begins in Los Angeles where my sister and I were visiting our Uncle Joe and his wife. One rainy afternoon we decided to go to a local theater and take in a showing of “Les Misérables."
I am a movie fanatic, but I have not gone to the theater in ages as I am fed up with the losers who pollute the multiplexes with their churlish behavior. If I want to see baboons behaving badly I’ll go to the zoo.
But for some reason I felt hopeful this time out. Maybe my streak of cinematic bad luck had finally come to an end and I would actually sit amongst well-bred humans for a change.
I had never seen “Les Misérables” during its lengthy Broadway run, and since the film was up for several Academy Awards, here was a chance to see what all the excitement was about.
Things went smoothly at first. In fact, it looked for the longest time like the four of us would actually have the theater to ourselves.
Then people started to slowly trickle in. It would’ve been nice to have a private screening, of course, but that’s a little too much to ask—even for a misanthrope like yours truly. And how bad could it possibly get with such a small audience?
Well, I was about to find out…
The insanity started off slowly. As the house lights dimmed, the only obnoxious noises came from the seemingly endless stream of coming attractions for movies that I wouldn’t watch if I were doing twenty-to-life at San Quentin.
Loud, stupid, and pointless appeared to be the three things all of these films had in common.
The movie finally started and I was honestly glad I was seeing it in a theater. “Les Misérables” looks great on the big screen. I loved the music, the sets, and the characters and I was really getting into the story of oppression, poverty, and redemption that is both beautiful and timeless.
Unfortunately nobody explained that to the schmucks sitting around us.
I started hearing voices floating out of the darkness, the nonstop chatter of idiots who have absolutely nothing to say.
Then some dumbass with a smartphone started taking pictures. Presumably he was shooting photos of the screen, though why I don’t know. Perhaps he wanted the Internet to know that, hey, look, I’m at the movies!
All I can tell you is that periodically the flash would go off and completely ruin whatever scene we were watching.
I Dreamed A Dream...
This was beyond distracting. After the Aurora movie massacre, bursts of bright light in a dark theater are the last thing in the world I want to see.
Is it the machines that make people so stupid? The I-phones, the I-pads and the I-don’t-know-what-else that makes people so insensitive to those around them?
Seeing a movie with an intelligent, respectful audience can be a great experience, but unfortunately, it seems like it is also an impossible one.
And this is such a great story. If only these throwbacks in the theater could see that world of “Les Miserables” is sadly not that far from our own.
You may be asking yourself why didn’t I complain. How come I didn’t give these vulgar louts a piece of my mind, put them in their place and give them what for?
Why? Because I’m gutless, that’s why. Because I don’t want to start a scene, I’d rather not get punched or stabbed by some psycho, and I can’t seem to speak up for myself, so I just end up fuming in silence.
And I don’t know if it would’ve done much good even if I had opened my yap.
This kind of behavior just continues the running theme of our society where I see people acting in some abominable fashion and I think to myself—you have to be told not to do that? You didn’t know that it was wrong to do whatever the hell it is you’re doing?
By the time the movie was over I was ready to storm the barricades myself. I was so angry that I refused to throw out my empty soda cup, an act of passive aggressive idiocy for which my sister rightly chided me.
But I had to do something. I could not let this atrocity go unanswered. I was not going to pay good money for this kind of abuse.
So I marched up to the young man sitting behind the ticket counter and told him to fetch the manager.
“What is this about?” he rightfully asked.
“It’s about a terrible experience we just had in his theater,” I said in a tone that was way out of line.
The manager quickly came out to see us, I tried to calm down and explain why I was so furious. But even as I spoke I had to wonder what could this man do about the two-legged vermin that infested his cinema. He’s a theater manager, not an animal trainer.
We got our money back, I apologized for my outburst—I hate cowards who abuse the hired help just because they can—and we got the hell out of there. I felt some slight sense of satisfaction in getting the refund, but I would’ve greatly preferred seeing the damn movie in peace.
This experience has piqued my interest in the classic novel and increased my contempt for the movie-going public.
I doubt I’ll be going to the cinema anytime soon but in the meantime, I bought a copy of Les Misérables to read, ordered the movie’s soundtrack from Amazon, booked the DVD on my Netflix wish list and I thinking of flying to Paris to visit Victor Hugo’s grave.
Vive la France!