If my husband and I are sitting in an audience surrounded by blue hair, shoulder strap purses, and hearing aids, I know that I am in for a treat. The movies’ director will have a lyrical foreign-sounding name, and at some point, the elegant Helena Bohem Carter, wearing voluptuous hair extensions, will play tennis in a white Victorian dress and make witty, pithy remarks to an equally elegant man. My husband will fall asleep and twitch.
It will be a movie of civilized sophistication, fraught with undercurrents of frenzied, repressed emotions all wrapped in a tangle of smart dialogue. At some point, my husband will drool. At about the same time someone will complain loudly, “What did she say? I can’t hear a damn thing anyone is saying.”
I love these movies.
The second kind of audience in my rating system will be filled with couples. They will have cell phones, beepers, and palm-sized computers, and they will be very important people. Presumably, a couple of the couples will have jet-packs strapped to their backs, just in case they have to make a quick trip to the office. If the theatre experiences technical difficulties, they will not hesitate to bark out instructions to the technicians in loud voices and demand their money back. With this kind of audience, I know that something in the movie will explode, two somethings will collide—making one something sink—and two more somethings will get lucky. My husband sits up like a squirrel at these movies hoping to find inaccuracies to complain about—bitterly.
I love these movies.
The last rating audience is a group that I like to call the Teenybopper/Call-of-the-Lone Hormone-Crowd. My husband must be lured to these movies with the promise of smuggled movie candy. Once there, we clutch each other in fear and horror while scantily clad girls and pierced unruly boys call racy challenges to each other while shooting laser light pointers into strangers’ retinas. Remember, this is before the movie begins.
Once the movie starts, we will be regaled with multitude comedic situations involving every kind of body fluid, and, or body gas—by the audience and the actors. My husband always laughs the loudest of all at these movies, by throwing his head back and imitating a pirate of the Barbary Coast bent on rape and pillage.
I love watching my husband laugh at fifth-grade humor.
The movies I like best, cannot be measured by their audience. I'm happy when I walk into the theatre, one hand slick with grease from a medium sized popcorn, and the other hand sweating from a fruit punch, and I see moms and dads leading light-saber wielding kids to their seats. There are grandparents settling down next to grandchildren, girls and boys on dates and groups of friends squirming with anticipation; I know that I am at a George Lucas production. I sit back, relax, and wait to go to a galaxy, far, far away.
In the first Star Wars film I ever saw, and just recently watched again, everyone kept their clothes on, you knew the bad guys from the good guys, and you knew what they are fighting for. No one screamed profanity to prove that they were evil. All the villain had to do was breathe sinisterly through a mechanical helmet, and you got it. The heroes were flawed just enough. They had enough quirks and faults to be interesting, but they were not crippled by black psychosis. The black psychosis was saved for the villain. The violence seemed necessary and understandable, and in the end, good triumphed over evil, and the galaxy gets saved.
The audience at these movies is everybody. In these movies, I know that there will be enough action to keep my husband conscious, enough of a moral to inspire my children to loftier ideals, and enough of the hero’s journey to keep me satisfied.
I love these movies most of all.
Linda (Down in Front) Zern