Thursday, September 08, 2005

Ain't nothin' but a number

I've only experienced movie theater meltdown two and a half times.

The first was during Babe: Pig in the City, which no animal lover — or even animal kind-of-liker — should ever subject themselves to. Ever. I'm talking animal creulty to the highest degree. I had to be dragged out of the theater crying. By my mother. At age 15. It was a sad, sad spectacle.*

The second was when I went to go see 13 Going On 30, and while I probably should have been crying because of the pathetic "redesign'** attempt that Jennifer Garner's character uses to win favor with her high-fashion-magazine coworkers, I think I was actually having a quarter-life crisis. I was right in the middle of my "oh-my-god-I-graduate-in-two-months-and-I-don't-have-a-job-yet-fuck-fuck-fuck" phase, and watching ol' Jen just wake up one morning with basically my dream job — and then take it for granted — is so not what I needed. Why couldn't I wake up as a magazine editor who's also magically in charge of the art department, huh? I had to pop a Xanax after that one. How many people can say that about a bubblegummy chick flick?***

The half time was a couple of weekends ago, when I went (alone, natch) to see The 40-Year-Old Virgin, a.k.a. the story of my life. It only counts as a half time because there were no tears involved (yes, there were tears involved with 13.) I decided after seeing it that I am never going to see a movie with an age in the title again. Ever.

It's like, who is Hollywood to give us an age limit by which certain things — if we want to be considered socially acceptable — should be achieved? Don't those seemingly innocent comedy writers know they're doing major damage here?

I mean, maybe some of us like going to the movies alone. And having hundreds of cats... er, comic book figurines. Maybe some of us (and here, of course, I'm only talking about That Guy From The American Version of The Office, Which Is Way Less Funny) don't need to be goin' outand gettin' laid and seein' movies with other people to feel like not-losers. Maybe some of us resent you implying that 40, or 30, or, I don't know, 23, is too old to not have gone out and had all kinds of meaningless sex in preparation for all that not-meaningless sex we're supposed to look forward to when we're married within your encouraged time frame. Ever think about that, Hollywood?****

So, yeah, boycotting movies with ages in the titles. Not getting my single-admission fare is really gonna stick it to the Hollywood Man.

* What really got to me for some reason was the goldfish that was tossed out of its bowl and left to writhe in breathless agony on the floor. Why this (and not, say, the bull dog almost drowning, or the beagle with broken back legs) is what stuck with me, I'll never know. Perhaps there's a traumatic goldfish incident in my past that I've supressed.

** FYI, for all you non Art Directors (ahem): Gluing themey pictures on a piece of poster board, upon which you've drawn whimsical little swirlies (!) and used hand-drawn block letters instead of a legitimate typeface (!!) does NOT constitute a redesign.

*** Also, I saw the movie when I was in the middle of The Hellacious AssPubs Interview Nightmare debacle, and every time I rode into the city to interview (or to be told, "we just forgot, can you come back next week?") I would see a huge, building-sized 13 Going On 30 poster. It was like the cities of Hollywood and Chicago had conspired to piss me off royally and point out that I was never, ever going to get a job. Ever.

**** An important footnote: The weekend I saw that movie was the weekend of the Chicago Air and Water Show, which I've never been around for in the past, but which I take to be an excuse for people to go out to the Lake, get heat stroke, have ice cream drip down to their elbows, see some planes and shit, and assist their too-young- or too-old-to-take-care-of-themselves relations in doing the same. And, I'm sorry, but I was walking out of the theater feeling all sorry for my loser self until I saw the throngs of people pushing strollers and struggling with diaper bags and water bottles and bug spray and toys and dog leashes and programs and sticky-faced kids and slushy Lemon Chill backwash and sunscreen and untied shoes. And then I was glad to be alone and I patted myself on the back for making it this far without even the remote possibility of getting knocked up and having offspring and then being forced to take that offspring to sweltering, crowded, panic-inducing outdoor activities.

[PS: Thanks, Tumbleweed, for making this post possible. If I got everything I wanted, I wouldn't have anything to write about.]