Thursday, March 18, 2010

Me. Vs. Johnny Mnemonic
Vs. the World

There used to be a theater in Matthews, N.C., that was pretty decent ... in its day.
While I think the building is still there, it hasn't been a theater in a long time. When it still showed movies, though, it had the only THX-certified screens in the region.

I had a lot of firsts at that theater, some of them not so pleasant. Though it was very clean and well-managed it didn't stop occasional unpleasantness from intruding. And I mean unpleasantness more severe that Highlander 2: The Quickening, which I had the misfortune of seeing there.

Here's the most disgusting of those experiences, and I have no explanation for it. I took a piss break during a movie and found a sink full of blood in the men's room. It was all over the floor and the wall, decorated in a way that would fit in comfortably at the Overlook Hotel. Needless to say, I immediately returned to my seat, showed my prostate who was in charge and relieved myself later.

It was also the first thater I paid (*gasp!) $7 TO SEE. That was a lot of money at the time and I think it was for The Doors. By comparison I paid $4 to see Blade Runner around that same time.

When I was a child I was known to play the asshole in the theater (and even got kicked out during a double bill of Best Friends and The Bells ... god only knows who put those two pieces of shit together on the same bill) but by 1995 I'd long since grown out of it.

That year I took a girlfriend to Matthews to see Johnny Mnemonic. I'd read the story in high school and loved it, so I was naturally excited about a movie. The rest of the criteria I used to evaluate the movie wasn't especially well calibrated, though, because one of the big selling points for me was the presence of Ice T. I can't explain it, but I used to really love the guy. I've even seen him live twice (and saw him perform Cop Killer live at Lollapalooza with Henry Rollins ... who's also in Johnny Mnemonic.)

To further undermine my credibility: I also paid to see Surviving the Game and Ricochet in the theater.

All in all, I was happy with the cast, the story and the overall concept of Johnny Mnemonic. So imagine my disappointment when the movie kind of sucked.

And imagine how mad I was at spending those kinds of high-falutin' '90s dollars on a movie.

To make it worse, there were six idiots talking and laughing during the show. It was like fingernails on a chalkboard and, after listening to it for almost an hour I finally spoke up. Loudly.

My exact words were "Shut the fuck up you dumb motherfuckers."

Almost immediately I regretted it. Not only was I outnumbered, I had this feeling that my girlfriend wasn't the kind to throw down in a theater over a disagreement in etiquette. But you know what? They shut their damn mouths. And I didn't get my ass kicked.

I've had a lot of time to assess the situation and I've come to the conclusion that they all assumed the guy who yelled at them was the size of an NFL linebacker. None of them turned to look and see little ol' me sitting there, instead probably imagining that some reject from Escape from New York was sitting a few rows behind them.

Hooray for active imaginations. At least I didn't tell them it was Jesus Time.

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