And now, a brief pause for a public service announcement...
Here's a story: A few years back, pre-Henry, so at least three, and probably four, I was at a movie theater (19th and Broadway) watching "Kill Bill." I was really enjoying it, but I had a familiar quandary on my hands: When to pee? (Apologies to the squeamish, who might want to cut and run, because it only gets worse from here.)
If was not a question. I always get the big Diet Coke. I LOVE the big Diet Coke. I can FINISH the big Diet Coke. But, inevitably, it means at least one trip, sometimes, two, to the restroom. And that means I've become rather good--or let's say rather interested in--learning to pick the best time to bolt for five minutes.
I'm pretty good at picking the right throw away moment in films to do this. Sadly, there are a lot of them. But in this case, we're talking Quentin Tarantino, who, with his cut-and-paste, out-of-sequence style, can be pretty hard to read. (Is he TRYING to mess with people who dare to eat and drink during movies? I wouldn't put it past him.)
I picked a quiet moment, when Uma Thurman is on the plane, crossing out names on her hit-list, to run. I was gone for maybe five minutes. When I came back, I couldn't get in, because the doors were open and people were streaming out the doors. Turns out, the movie was a two-parter, and, true to Tarantino's style, he'd concluded the first one at an unexpected out-of-sequence moment.
It was funny. Sort of.
So I was in hysterics (and very grateful) when Paul, my husband, who is quite familiar with my Diet Coke issues (and is frequently counted upon to recount what I've missed), sent me this article, about a guy who has established a web site telling you the opportune moments to bolt for a restroom break during new releases.
What a guy!!!! (Mr. Runpee, not Paul, though I like him, too.)
The site is http://runpee.com. And it's available as iPhone App. Too bad I don't have an iPhone. But I can check out the website, pre-movie, if I'm motivated enough. This won't help, I might add, in those movies that are so good, or so tight, that there really IS no opportune moment for a break. (I call these don't-get-the-big-Diet-Coke movies...creative, eh?).
But there are few like those, alas. Most of them are eminently intermission-able. And when they're not, there's always Paul.
I had the normal upbringing with regard to movies, which is to say I went occasionally but nobody, including me, made too big a deal out of them. That changed in my mid-twenties, when I lived, for a brief and unhappy year, in Chicago. I knew few people, didn’t have a lot of work, was lonely, and needed to entertain myself. I discovered that I loved going to movies alone. That they left me in a contemplative, introspective state of mind that I really enjoyed.
When I moved to New York and began freelancing, I found that going to movies helped me write. I’d review my notes on a story, go to a movie, come back, sit down and the story—which had nothing at all to do with the movie—would just pour out. Maybe I was letting my subconscious work while the rest of my brain enjoyed itself. Maybe it was that contemplative state of mind I was talking about. Who knows? The only thing I really knew for sure was that it worked.
When I was writing my first book, I often saw a movie every morning as a prelude to the afternoon’s work. That meant I saw A LOT of movies, some great, some awful. You can’t be too picky when you’re seeing movies at that pace. My favorite movie experience during that time was when I went to see “Lord of the Rings.”
I had not read the books. It was long. I hadn’t read any reviews—I almost never read reviews (too many spoilers, and the critics’ views have a way of worming their way into your brain). I wasn’t totally thrilled about it, but I had few other choices. It was lunchtime, and on the way I stopped, on impulse, at Murray’s and got a sesame bagel with whitefish salad. And I picked up my customary enormous diet coke on the way in.
Well. The movie was beautiful—it was shot in New Zealand—and enormously entertaining. It had Ian Mackellan in it (a big plus), and the bagel with whitefish salad and (it almost goes without saying) the diet coke were sublime. And it was a LONG movie. So I really got to relish the experience. It was, in short…perfection. And that, my friends, is how this blog--which is, in essence, a movie lover's diary--got its name.