Monday, May 23, 2005

Opening Night of Star Wars

Blah blah blah Sith, blah blah blah Jedi. That's my review of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. I'm sure you have plenty of other places to go if you want a Star Wars review.

I would rather talk about something more interesting:

The midnight showings of the prequels.

Anyone who has been to these midnight showings knows how bizarre they can be. I love them!

Here's why:

The Phantom Menace
I didn't bother to see this at midnight; instead I went the following afternoon. Still I happened to be at a theater when it opened. I was there to see the Jet Li action flick Black Mask.
Black Mask (I was going to shorten it, but I don't want to say I went to see Jet Li's BM) started around 10pm so I got to the theater a full 2 hours before Phantom Menace was scheduled to start.
When I got there I saw them.
They were lined up outside. As a matter of fact, I had driven the theater that morning and saw a bunch of people standing outside... waiting.
The line had only increased since then.
I hustled past the line of grown men playing with action figures, plastic lightsabers and Taco Bell cups in the form of Sam Jackson.
Not since my youth soccer league had I hustled so much (and most of that was to avoid Coach Jones who was a bit "touchy feely" with us boys.) I raced to the front of the line since I didn't need to wait IN it. Then someone shouted at me and my fellow Jet Li fan.
"Get in the back of the line."
"What?" I replied.
"To see Star Wars you have to wait in the back of the line."

He seemed stupid... REALLY stupid. So, we had a little fun with him (very little, but still it was fun.)

"Star Wars?" I shouted, "Isn't that movie like 30 years old?"
"No, this is the new one" He replied missing the sarcasm completely.
"Really?" My friend asked "I hadn't heard of that."
"I heard of it" I said "It's called Return of the Jedi."
"Noooooo!" The Star Wars fan screamed "It's called Phantom Menace! its part one."
My friend said "You’re pulling my leg, part one came out in the 70s."
"That was A New Hope." The un-amused nerd replied.

It was at this point that I ended the conversation. Not that we had tired of the joke, I just make it a point never to speak with people who refer to Star Wars simply as "A New Hope". I Know, that's the title, but it sounds like some kind of lifetime movie.

Attack of the Clones
I wasn't planning on seeing this one at midnight, but the lack of anything better to do sent me to the theater that night in search of tickets. No problems and a pretty flawless night.
However, before the film I heard that some in the audience planned to boo Jar Jar Binks' appearance. My party decided we would cheer him. The resulting boos and cheers bewildered an entire theater. Looking back I wish instead I had stomped my feet and made screamed "Bravo" in an Italian accent. But, hindsight is always 20/20.

As we were waiting for the show to start we had an interesting conversation. At the time, a big deal was being made about some guys in Seattle that had been waiting outside a theater for longer than anyone else. We thought they were just dork, but after some discussion we realized they were also idiots. Star Wars was premiering at midnight which actually happens 3 hours earlier on the east coast. If you are sacrificing months of your life to stand outside, why not invest in some plane tickets so you could get to see the film three hours earlier?

Also something else came to me. People often say that obsessive Star Wars fans have no girlfriends. This is not true. Somehow in the past 18 years or so a new breed of FEMALE nerds has been created. They don't outnumber the male nerds yet, but they are close. And they may have surpassed the men in outright obsessive-ness. I have seen more women attend these films in costume then men! Susan B. Anthony would be proud.

Revenge of the Sith
I saved the best for last, friends. This was one of the greatest nights of my life.
Before the movie started this obnoxious group of twenty-something’s came and sat behind us. Two guys in Jedi robes, and yes, one of the female nerds. Every time one of the guys would leave his seat she would scream "DO THE FORM!" at them.

Do the form.

Not the force, the form.

I assumed this form was a something you would take a pen and fill out. Perhaps a job application. Never was I so very wrong.

"DO THE FORM!" she hollered.
"Yeah, do it." someone else screamed.

Unaware that the other person was likely mocking her she called out "See! They're calling for it!"

Eventually after about 30 minutes and more hype than the actual film they did "the form".

Nothing could live up to these expectations.

The form involved them walking to the front of the theater and did a lightsaber duel that looked more like two epileptics trying to bang "thunder sticks" at an NBA game. Not only was it bad, but both of their lightsabers broke on contact. The lights were out, and "the form" was a failure.

Finally finished with "the form" some in the audience politely applauded as the rest of us just ignored them. What happened next would shock and amuse us all.

Moments after he returned to his seat one of the two Jedi shouted "Oh no! I lost my Palm Pilot."

He raced down to the front of theater franticly looking under everyone’s seat. Heck, he made me get up 3 separate times. He then started yelling accusing people of stealing it. When that didn't work he said the following.

"I lost my Palm Pilot. It is no good to any of you. It has two passwords that you will never figure out. I will give you $100 if you return it."

There was no response.

Soon he made the same pledge raising the offer to $400. This prompted another moviegoer to shout back "I lost my self respect and I will pay $400 for it." The female nerd was incensed and threatened the heckler with pain. Pain to be inflicted by Qui Gone Palm Pilot. This is the thanks we get for giving women the right to be nerds. Now they start fights for us. As if men can't get into enough stupid situations on our own.

Unfortunately the fight never came. The Palm Pilot was still missing there was no time for fisticuffs. He walked out and came back with a flashlight. He repeated the reward and looked around everywhere.

It was then that I heard him explain how he knew he had lost the Palm Pilot IN the theater. "I had it with me before I did the form. You know how you always know that your tongue is in your mouth, and then when it's out of your mouth you can tell? That's how I know I lost it there."

Fascinating portal into the mind of a Jedi wannabe.

He left the theater again and came back with a manager. By this time it was after midnight and the trailers haven't run. Everything has been put on hold because of the aftermath of "the form". The manager finally tells him "You're gonna have to take your seat because I have to start the movie now. You can look for it later." The crowd erupts in applause and he returns to his seat, almost in TEARS. Then, he finds the Palm Pilot- in his coat pocket! He didn't announce that, I only know because he was sitting behind me.

Since he had spent little time in his seat I had not noticed before that he had an awful cold. He kept snorting like a child without a handkerchief. Every thirty seconds he would snort a nose full of snot back into his sinuses. It was gross. So, after about 20 snorts I held up a napkin.
"Hey, want a napkin?" I said.
"No" he replied, "I'm cool."

No, "form" boy. You are not cool. Not at all.

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