So my darling wife and me went to the movies last night to see The Ringer. Several points of interest there:
- The "chef" at the theater's Szbarro's (or however you spell it) got to wear the really goofy, puffy chef's hat...I guess it was intended to allow him to lord his position over the popcorn flunkies. Anyway, before this, I never really thought about the hierarchical order of concessionaires before.
- Who really goes to the movie theaters for hot dogs, pizza, and smoothies?
- Why can't theaters pop fresh popcorn? It ain't hard.
- There were three people working our line at concessions, but two of them couldn't work register. One of them, when the others were off getting various food items, was stuck with nothing to do, so he did a goofy dance. It was nice of this schmuck to make light of the fact that we're waiting and he was totally useless to us.
- The Ringer is marketed a little bit as a gross-out movie, and that type of humor apparently attracts the kids.
- Why do teens like to sit right next to the screen and adults like to sit a mile away?
- The previews were all pretty much for movies with a main selling point of making fun of the overweight. Included in these was Alyson Hanigan in a truly dreadful-looking film which was to date films what Scary Movie was to horror films...at least that's how it was being marketed. She's a much better actor than that, so I'm only assuming she must have a drug problem or something to accept a role so far below her talent level.
- The actual film itself was fine. The plot was predictable, of the "you could see that coming a mile away" variety, but the acting was quite good. They used a large cast of mentally challenged actors, many of which were very funny.
- One of the coolest things about the movie was how self-aware the mentally challenged characters were...they were under no illusions as to how people saw them and how they could use that information to their benefit. The characters were well-rounded, never characatures...and Hollywood rarely does that for anyone. To do that for a whole group of people who otherwise wouldn't even be used in our media was quite extraordinary.
- Ultimately, The Ringer was more sensitive and enlightened than it had any right to be...and I wonder how many of the teens, undoubtedly drawn to the theater for a "retards are funny" film, felt like they were bait and switch victims. Using the trappings of car crash culture to educate? Maybe it's a viable approach.
Afterward, I went drinking with a friend, which went the way such things tend to go.... We eventually ended up at a local bar which has a drag night...which is as much (a) a straight meat market and (b) a place for enlightened straights as it is a gay hangout. We saw many wonderous things, including a very scrawny woman shaking an ass that she did not have for two obviously gay guys, who nonetheless participated in dirty dance grinding...which is relatively puzzling. We did stay for the second show, which mainly raised the questions (a) where else can you see transexuals wearing whipped cream? and (b) why are so many drag queens black? These are somewhat important questions that deserve some study and serious answers...although that research is not going to come from me, as my life is weird enough as it is.