Every year, I go to like a billion free movie screenings—the kind where they hand out passes on the street to hobos and baristas and miscellaneous randoms—which are, no matter how terrible the movie, always packed with people. YOU PEOPLE. I'm talking to you, Christian blogger, and you, stinky Methuselah, and especially you, guy-who-reads-the-premovie-trivia-out-loud ("Jared Leto? Hwhut?").
For instance! The Game Plan was packed. Fred Claus was packed. At P.S. I Love You I had to sit on Michael Medved's lap. I assume you fill the theaters night after night because hey, it's free, and hey, you're bored. But these movies are not entertainment; they are impositions! "What? The KUBE 93.3 street team is handing out FREE impositions? Can I take more than one? Oh, if only my free time were a tangible substance so that I could physically set it on fire!"
At Pacific Place last week, the line for Sweeney Todd (which was awesome, by the way) stretched from Gordon Biersch to Johnny Rockets and back again. A middle-aged couple fought through the crowd, bound for Pike Place Chowder. "Oh my god, is this the line for chowder?" asked the wife, as though 400 Seattleites might have simultaneously gone chowder crazy.
Inside, an uncharismatic KISS 106.1 intern was giving away "prize packs," which are literally bags of garbage. It's like, a CD you've never heard of! A bumper sticker! A pencil case! An orange peel! Poison! A poke in the eyeball with a sharp stick! You're welcome!
The audience, like it always does, freaked out. They had never wanted anything more than zero dollars' worth of free garbage. The intern asked if anyone could name three Tim Burton movies. First, a kid failed, and it broke his heart. No garbage for him. Then a Tim Burton nerd listed every single one in chronological order. He won some garbage and he was happy. The intern said, "Yeah, Tim Burton did all kinds of movies, really..." as though that was a sentence worth saying into a microphone. Then I started crying.
It's not that I don't like going to the movies. Sometimes you overhear something totally interesting. At Sweeney Todd: "On Monday night he got a call from the crematorium people." Also recently: "I'm going to the Philippines next week to get me a wife."
But this bizarre human need to hoard all the world's mouse pads is freaking me out. Just because something is free doesn't mean you have to want it. You might want to get those impulses under control. Or, if that's not happening, could you at least leave a buffer seat so I don't have to smell you? I'll even throw in a used chapstick. Seriously, no charge.