Monday, November 07, 2005

The Triangle-Haired, Straight-Spined Man in the Movie Theater

Friday night found me driving north in a fire engine red 2006 Dodge Durango. A rented 2006 Dodge Durango. My husband sent me off in style.

The windshield wipers beat a steady rhythm as I peered through the rainy darkness. By 6:30 p.m., I had checked into my hotel room and left again to traipse around the Supermall. When it closed at 9:00 p.m., I wasted some time in my hotel room for thirty minutes. Then, back out in the rain in my fancy-schmancy car.

My timing was perfect. "One for Jarhead," I said to the guy behind the window.

"The 10:05 show?" he asked.

"Yes," I said.

"Uh, it's sold out," he said.

Thinking quickly--and determined to see a movie--I said, "How about the 10:45 show?"

He consulted his register and said, "Well, there are still 239 seats, so that's okay." Well, yeah, I thought. Practically empty theater! Who's crazy enough to watch a movie that starts at 10:45 p.m.?

I handed over my money and he slid a ticket back to me. I went back to my hotel yet again (it was very close to the theater) until it was time for the movie. I congragtulated myself on my perfect timing. I had fifteen minutes to purchase popcorn and pick out a seat.

I walked into the theater clutching my popcorn and Diet Coke (caffeine at 10:45 p.m.! talk about living on the edge!) and then turned to survey the vast crowd. The only available seats appeared to be in the front. I tentatively sat down, but immediately rejected this seat at the end of the second row. I stood and walked up the stairs, hoping against hope to find a single seat next to a nice, pleasant-looking mom like me.

I did not. But I did find a couple of seats in the very back row next to a teenage girl who appeared to be with her mother. With joy, I sat and then, I saw it.

Triangle Hair. Atop the head of a straight-spined, tall man. Right in the middle of my view. I was so distracted by the shape of his bristly hair that I started writing this blog entry in my head. I christened him Triangle Hair Guy and thought perhaps I should alert him to his impending inclusion in my blog. Then I thought a more important thought, but an impertinent thought, one which I could not express out loud. What I thought was, SLOUCH DOWN! SLOUCH! SLOUCH DOWN!

But he did not slouch. He was a middle-aged kind of guy, the kind with a balding head who resorts to cutting his remaining hair shortish and then drying it straight up with a dab of gel for staying power. I watched the entire movie through his triangle fringe of thinning hair, despite maneuvering sideways and striving to sit up as tall as possible.

I scanned the length of the row and decided that theater must seat at least five hundred people. And it was full of a shockingly respectful and responsive crowd. For once, I didn't hear or see any preschoolers at movie rated R. (I suppose even the most irresponsible parent doesn't take a preschooler to a movie at 11:00 p.m. One can hope.)

As for the movie itself, Jarhead, the story of a soldier who served during the Iraq war of 1991, gets my thumbs-up. I did wish, though, that I'd read the book first and now, I'll have to get my hands on a copy of Anthony Swofford's Jarhead. Some reviewers complain that the movie was "plotless," but really, the story is about a soldier who doesn't see combat and it reflects that frustration.

(Please note that this movie contains material which is offensive, including a lot of vulgar language and quite a few sexual references. We are, after all, talking about Marines. This subject matter is not for everyone. I did note that the soldiers I personally know are nothing like those depicted in the movie, but I have no doubt that the world the movie portrayed was more or less accurate. The use of profane language in this movie far surpassed that used in The 40-Year Old Virgin--which I have criticized precisely because of its excessive use of the f-word--but in this movie, it seemed entirely appropriate. However, if you are extremely sensitive to this sort of thing in this sort of setting, beware. Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost really hated this movie--as a former Marine, he found it an inaccurate portrayal of that life.)

When the movie ended, the crowd responded with utter silence and then, someone yelled out the military "Hoo-yah!" cheer. (Did you know that "Hoo-yah" actually means something? It's actually HUA . . . which stands for Heard, Understood and Acknowledged.) Then people applauded.

And that was the end of my first night of freedom.


Blogger Elizabeth said...

Ohhhhh so the f word is ok in this movie. I see how that works.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Goslyn said...

Hoo-yah. Glad to hear a positive review of Jarhead. Haven't seen it, but it's been slammed in the critiques I've read. Love the post.

On an unrelated note - how, how, how, do you find time to post so often? I keep trying for one a day, and am failing miserably.

You inspire me.

7:00 AM  
Blogger M3 (Mary-Mia) said...

Allright - go Mel go! Sounds like a fabulous day of freedom!

7:21 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Oh I want to see that movie sooo bad! I wanted to go last night after my class ended, but I didn't get there in enough time. Maybe I should read the book first too. I passed by it last night at the book store (where I fed my sick addiction to buying books with 12 more new books). I can't wait to read your next movie review =)

10:48 AM  
Blogger Vashti said...

I haven't even heard of this movie. I'll have to look it up now. Thanks.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

A big car for a big weekend!

Why do balding men insist on spiking the last of their hair up? Perhaps they think height makes up for lack of density. Or maybe a distraction technique.

And the tall ones NEVER slouch in the movie theater. NEVER.

At least never when they sit in front of me.

9:44 PM  

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