Monday, April 23, 2007

Grounded at GRINDHOUSE

By Nicholas Allanach

Is it possible for a group of stupid hell-raisers to have a fun night out at the flicks? Likely not; after all, we’re all familiar with the standard procedure of reserving your ticket online three days in advance, patiently watching forty minutes of credit card and Coke commercials, to ultimately sit through two dry hours with no booze or smokes. Sure, one movie-goer’s idea of fun may be another’s irritation. So as to avoid such conflicts, the timid and bland masses of our consumer culture won; by successfully managing to turn a night-out at the movies into one more lifeless drab experience. In fact, after following so many rules and regulations, one should welcome the occasional digression from such rigid formalities; especially, if the film viewed is intended to celebrate the depravity of the bygone “grindhouse” era.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a “grindhouse” was the name given to movie theatres that showed cheap and often badly executed films. Most were violent and exploitative, but subversively –a blast. The “grindhouse” films weren’t intended to be serious, intellectual, or at all good. If anything the “grindhouse” specialized in being bad. Thus, such movies were nothing like contemporary big-budget blockbusters. Accordingly, the “grindhouse” itself was much different from the “Happy Feat” friendly Cineplexes we’ve been reduced to.

Thus this past Friday, a team of us decided to go see Grindhouse with the intent of bringing back some much-needed vitality to an otherwise sleeping cinematic audience. Our plan: rendezvous at the Key Bar for drinks, acquire the necessary fried chicken, and booze to sneak into the theatre (no sense in spending $7 on popcorn; moreover, none of us were in any state to sit through a movie for three hours without some kind of stimulation). Unfortunately our problems started at the fried chicken joint, which was closed. “Somebody must have tipped-off Popeye’s to sabotage the mission.” Jesse said. Of course, the time was also, as Jen pointed out, “against us” and that “at this point, the theatre would most certainly be full.” But we still needed booze, which we successfully acquired along the way.

Once at the cinema, we walked into the auditorium just as Grindhouse started, which I, at first, considered to be a great thing (since it meant we avoided all the commercials and previews) but soon I realized we were fucked –no seats. Our group moved to the front of the theatre looking back at a packed house. There was no place for us all to sit together. We foolishly tried to salvage some seats along the periphery –nothing. Our only alternative was to go back near the entrance where our comrade Noah had safely secured one lone seat beside the wheel chair section.

At first I was totally ready to set-up camp on the floor and watch the movie. But, as Sung soon brought to my attention, “We’re not going to be able to sit here on the floor for three hours.” I didn’t want to admit it, but she was right. Despite the fact Stefanie and Jesse were already mixing-up our first round of Jack and Cokes, I knew we’d soon overstay our welcome. So I patiently sipped my drink, watched Rose McGowan dance through the opening sequence and waited for the inevitable.

Fifteen minutes into the film (and one “Shissshhh!” from a prudish bitch in front of us) the man with the flashlight was behind us holding some paperwork saying “you all need to leave.”

After a couple bad comments and some grumpy-kid-heat from me, we left the theatre. Sure the bastards at the Cineplex may have won this battle, but they’re fools to believe they have won the war! Thus, this Wed. at 9pm for all looking to reclaim the Cineplex back to its true “grindhouse” roots, then please join us. We’ll again start at a bar, but, this time, will mostly certainly be settled into our seats before the previews, with our bags full of booze and fried chicken, and to hell with any “shoooshers!” who make the foolish mistake to see Grindhouse on the same night.

Let the reels of Grindhouse roll on! Debaucherous to the core.

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