The communal moviegoing experience can be a lot of fun when you get an audience that’s in sync with both the movie and your own enjoyment of it. At other times, people in theaters say the strangest damn things. In this week’s Roundtable, we remember some of the funniest or weirdest comments we’ve overheard either while in line for tickets, during the movie itself, or walking out afterwards.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
“Taye, you wanna get out the House on Haunted Hill? You better pray to Jesus!”
Taye Diggs’ character did indeed survive the 1999 remake of ‘House on Haunted Hill’, although prayer didn’t really factor into that so much. Those two ladies sitting behind me made for one of my all-time favorite filmgoing experiences, even if their predictions weren’t quite spot-on. Ooooh, if only you could hear their very vocal displeasure of Diggs accidentally getting hold of Ali Larter despite what is apparently a woefully lacking derriere. (I’m trying to keep it PG rated here, folks.)
Right after seeing the first showing of ‘Vacation’, I overheard two strangers talking about the movie. The one who had just seen it described it as a perfect movie for anyone who likes pedophile jokes. While that isn’t how I would describe it, as a critique, that’s a tough one to answer.
Being a film critic, you have to see it all: the good and the bad. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more bad than good. Being bombarded with so many truly awful movies will wither a man’s soul. I know. It has happened to me. I can testify that the more bad movies you watch, the worse they become. Believe it or not, Adam Sandler movies used to not bug the hell out of me – but now they’re absolutely grating.
In my sensitized state, I’m always shocked to hear comments from the general audience while exiting the press/promo screenings for terrible movies. There’s a certain group of folks who work the system and know how to get free passes to nearly every advance screening. It’s mostly these people that I refer to. I can’t understand how they can walk out of something as drop-dead stupid as ‘Jack and Jill’ saying things like, “That was the best Adam Sandler movie yet!” I understand that everyone has his or her own opinion. Hell, I know that I love some movies that most people think are horrible. However, there are certain movies that no one should like. Plenty of them. ‘All About Steve’, ‘The Legend of Hercules’, ‘Twilight’, ‘R.I.P.D.’… These are just a select few of the movies I’ve walked out of with my jaw on the floor in flabbergasted surprise at hearing these type of exit comments.
My only funny story wasn’t really overheard; it happened to me directly. I can’t remember what movie it was because this occurred before it started but trailers were playing and the theater was already darkened. A heavyset gentleman – who I can only assume was visually impaired – walked up next to me and said something along the lines of, “Is this seat taken?” Then almost instantly, he turned around and proceeded to have his rear-end make a beeline for my lap. I had to yell out, otherwise I was likely going to end up being, well, kind of flat. Not fun times, and maybe that’s why I can’t remember what movie it was.
My story actually isn’t overheard, as it came from a friend I was in the theater with, but it’s one of my favorite movie theater stories. I should preface this tale by stating that neither I nor my friend (whose name will be withheld) were/are the types to make comments during a film to disrupt other moviegoers. But trust me, in this case it was warranted.
In the winter of 1992, 20th Century Fox released a horribly dull World War II epic called ‘Shining Through’ (not available on Blu-ray, thankfully). The movie stars Michael Douglas as an espionage agent. Melanie Griffith is hired as a secretary for his cover job, but soon also becomes an undercover spy trying to discover Nazi secrets. None of that is really important… What is important is the movie’s climatic scene, in which Douglas must carry a wounded (and bleeding to death) Griffith across a border checkpoint before the Nazis figure out that they’re being tricked and shoot them down. In one of the most laughable scenes you’ll ever find in a serious war drama, Douglas picks up Griffith and makes a run for border like a football running back heading for the end zone. The filmmakers even show this in slow motion. I’m honestly surprised they didn’t throw in a voiceover by John Facenda.
Taking full advantage of the ridiculousness on the screen, my friend, upon (spoiler alert!) Douglas actually diving for the Allied border and reaching the other side, stands up in the theater, puts both hands up in the air, and proclaims “Touchdown!”
The dozen or so people who actually spent good money on this movie burst into laughter and applause, providing us with the most entertainment we’d gotten all day.
It’s March of the year 2000. The movie is ‘High Fidelity‘. Somewhere in the middle of the film, Catherine Zeta-Zones appears on screen for the first time and the woman sitting behind me exclaims, “Wait a second! I thought she was pregnant!”
Yes, this woman apparently believed that movies took place in real time as she was watching them, and had no concept that the actors shot their scenes months earlier. I’m sure she’d seen some recent interview clip on ‘Entertainment Tonight’ or somesuch of the actress sporting a baby bump (she would have been about four months along), and simply could not reconcile in her mind where the baby might have gone between then and the time the movie started.
What funny or weird things have you overheard people say in movie theaters? Tell us in the Comments.