3.27.2005

Pain and Fascination at the Dollar Theater

I love the dollar theater. Although the aiming skills of those who use the stalls leave something to be desired, there isn't a salary in America that won't allow someone to have the theater experience. In the lobby were two vending machines of temporary tattoos: with all the smart-ass remarks the kids wished they could say in a debate, anime characters, or dreams of future glory: soccer balls with bold-lettered "Mexico" or the blood-dripping characters of "peligroso." Just my staring at it seemed to bring the machines attention. A young hispanic girl, who couldn't have graduated from toddlerhood for too many years, desperately tugged at her mother's arm but I only caught the "no, no, no." A teenage girl smugly shoved quarters in without reading or hesitating and walked away without examinging her prize. Perhaps she'd been staring at the video games and suddenly decided that she did want that temporary tattoo after all (or perhaps decided to show off her daringly impulsive nature).

But, wow. I can't remember the last time I saw such a bad movie. Son of the Mask had one funny moment at the beginning where a kid rams his helmet in the balls of the protagonist to show us why he doesn't like kids. I didn't laugh out loud but the kids in the audience did. I may have smiled. It went downhill fast. Nearly no actor could capture the right tenor of the piece. One's admiration for Jim Carrey's abilities sky-rockets when you compare. Everything was derivitive. Not a glimmer of refreshing insight, so that when we came to the moral, I groaned audibly. Totally unearned. I walked out and had the urge to warn a father and son away from attending, but at the marquee, a woman had remarked that she thought it funny. The best part was when the film melted. I thought it was part of the movie for a minute, expecting some exciting new development to become incorporated in the plot. You see it happening from time to time as a gag in the movies, but this may have been my first real-life one. I was sorely tempted to walk out and ask for my fifty cents and hour and a half back.