Friday, March 23, 2012

Let the Games Begin...

Last night (this morning?) I attended my very first-ever midnight showing of a movie.

If you couldn't guess which one, you probably (a) live under a rock or (b) are new here.

Don't worry. I'm going to give you guys at least the weekend to go see it before I dive into my thoughts on it, because you KNOW I have them. And I wrote most of them down when I got home last night. (This morning?) But no spoilers today.

For those of you that ARE new here, I read the Hunger Games trilogy about a year and a half ago (ish) and they stabbed me right in the heart and I did some (very spoilery) verbal flailing while trying to process what had just happened to my poor little brain and heart. (I tried re-reading those two posts just now, and they were much more incoherent than I thought, so... hmm. I was clearly still in a State at that point.)

But I had absolutely devoured the HG trilogy in such a way that I've done for no book before or since. In fact, I think it's ruined me for all other books. I was so drawn in, so enraptured, so invested in a way that was simultaneously refreshing and a bit alarming. I know these are technically in the YA market, but holy damn. I was so emotionally traumatized by the time I finished that I just sat there for a while wondering why other books even bothered to exist.

Then, of course, came the first rumblings of the movie, and I was suspicious. There was no way they could pull off a quality adaptation, I was convinced of it. For starters, all the violence and horror could not be contained to that golden PG-13 rating. For seconds, that story became so precious to my heart that I just KNEW they were going to ruin it somehow. I watched apprehensively as casting began (though felt immediately better when I heard that Suzanne Collins was going to be heavily involved in the entire process, including the screenplay). Jennifer Lawrence was never my first choice for Katniss, but, guys... she nailed it. I'm still not 100% sold on some of the other casting choices, but none of them did a terrible job. But that's for my other post on another day.

The midnight movie experience was something else all together. I've never done it before. I don't think there's really anything that I loved enough to put forth the effort into (maybe, if I'd gotten into Harry Potter sooner, I would have done it then, but I'm definitely a latecomer on that bandwagon. Meanwhile, I feel like I'm sitting in the front half of the Hunger Games bandwagon - early enough that it was still relatively unknown, but late enough that all the books had been released. I can't even imagine having had to wait a year between books... I didn't even last five minutes.) Though I've been saying repeatedly that I want to do the midnight showing of the Avengers. (Speaking of which, we got a new trailer for that - I almost peed my pants. Metaphorically, of course.)

I'd ordered my ticket three weeks ago online, snagging myself a spot at the 12:01 showing with a handful of my coworkers. Then they added a 12:05 showing. Then as each showtime sold out, they kept adding more. When all was said and done, there were 10 showtimes last night between 12:01 and 12:45. Not shabby for our town of 50K people.

Unfortunately, us having the first show, means that we were the first group that needed to be herded into the theater.

We went to the theater at 10am to get our wristbands, where we stood in the rain and drizzle for a half an hour, and watched people cut into line into the group in front of us. After a while, I was about ready to stab someone, but I figured my opportunity for being a bitch and demanding that they in fact go to the end of the line should have been about three people ago, and it was too late now.

Forty-five minutes later, we had our wristbands and went back to work. Fortunately the rain stopped mid-afternoon, since when we re-arrived at the theater around 8:30 to line up, our part of the line was in fact outside again. We were led into the theater at 9, where we then had a three hour wait. After about a half an hour, they turned the house lights completely on, making it easier to read or chat with your friends (I totally brought a book). The whole thing had the feel of a giant slumber party or youth lock-in. A girl dressed like Effie Trinket had a fishbowl of slips of paper and passed around papers for people to sign up for a reaping. They drew out 24 "tributes" and held a rock-paper-scissors tournament at the front of the theater. It was kind of awesome.

There was in fact bursts of cheering and applause when the lights went back down, and when the trailers started, and then hushed squeals of excitement when the Lionsgate logo appeared onscreen. (There were also random pockets of laughter at scenes that I'm not sure were all that humorous, but, whatever. We'd been crammed into that theater for three hours and still had another two to go. At that point, you were either sleepy or punchy.)

Despite the long wait and three hours of stale movie-theater air, the overall experience was positive (even though I was out of vacation time and had to haul myself into work the next morning - I was still able to get about five hours of sleep, which wasn't awful) and I may even do it again, on a very selective basis. (The Avengers. Catching Fire, Mockingjay. That's... probably it, really.) There's a palpable excitement in the air that you don't get with a general showing, even if it is opening weekend. And, you know, us being the 12:01 show, we were the craziest of the crazy, because we were the first to scramble for a spot.

Aaaaaaaaaand I'm going again tonight because the BF wanted to see it and even having not SEEN the movie yet, I suspected I was going to want/need a second viewing, so I pre-bought a pair of tickets online to hopefully avoid (a) lines and (b) sold-out shows. Hardcore, yo. I think I've finally crossed the line into fangirl-ism. It's awesome. I apologize for nothing.

Also! If you haven't read the book(s), I'm not sure we can be friends. Do yourself a favor and remedy that immediately. I promise it won't take you very long. Because you will be incapable of setting the damn thing down, which makes the whole process of finishing go a lot faster.

I don't know how to end this post, so... here. Have a movie poster.


Ashley, the Accidental Olympian said...

You have a level of commitment I am not sure I can compete with. I am DYING to see these movies, and yet... I can't bring myself to wait in lines or deal with 3 hour waits.

I'll be that crazy person who waits two weeks for all the nuts to see the movie so I can attend a Sat 2pm showing without having to fight anyone off.

Damn. I think I'm 80.

chimes said...

I briefly skimmed this in case of spoilers. I'm not hugely excited about this, but I feel like I have to see it because I have to see it. The more I hear about it and the more it's hyped, the less I want to see it.

But that's not WHY I commented. I am commenting because I got a HUGE grin on my face reading "... and the BF ..." :D

Megs said...

See, when you say shit like, "It ruined all other books forever the end" I CAN'T read the series because I don't WANT all other books to be ruined forever the end. Also...I'm not really into subjecting myself to emotional trauma all voluntary like. You notice I haven't come out and SAID I haven't read them because I want us to still be friends. But...I am the last person on earth who has not read this series.

Not that I expect you to actually read this part since I started with that other thing, but I did go to the midnight showing of at least 2 of the new Star Wars movies.

I feel like I need to go hide under the bed now. For multiple reasons.

Kandace said...

I've been a little scared to watch the movies. Because of how much I loved the books. Seriously, I tried to force people to read them before anyone knew what they were. I love them & hate them & love then. I'm sure I Well watch but I'm going to wait. I have to be Ready. Both money & time & not fighting crowds that will drive me crazy.

Also, how Great is it that I've been reading your blog for so long that I commented on the posts you linked? :)

Ps. Please come hold my hand & watch it with me so I can freak out & stuff with you & you can reassure me that we love it & it isn't destroyed & stuff. (yes I needed all the &s and the runon sentence thing)

terra said...

That's amazing that you were in the theater waiting that long. That's a long ass time and I admire your commitment. I went to a midnight showing of Harry Potter, but we went to the fancy theater with assigned seats and wine so it was way easier. I'd still like to go a midnight showing at a normal theater though.

We saw Hunger Games Friday, during the day, and people laughed at odd times during the movie. And some crazy old birds wouldn't shut up the whole movie so I'll definitely be going to see it again once the crazy dies down.

ameena said...

midnight movies are my favorite! everyone is so in to and and respectful of the movie so there really isn't any talking or texting .and it's a packed theater and yeah solidarirty! i love it. welcome aboard.

Tori said...

OMG DON'T LEAVE ME BECAUSE I'M A SLOW READER. They're next on my list. Moneyball is taking me FOREVER.