Remember when you were a kid and you ran to the theater and saw Star
Wars twenty times in a week? It was amazing, and without the promise of
an eventual home video release, it was essential – you needed to
memorize every line so you could act them out with your Kenner figures.
That kind of obsessiveness is endearing in a child, even when it gets
irritating, like the kid who wants to watch nothing but The Little
Mermaid on DVD again and again and again and again.
For adults it’s less endearing. In fact, it’s sad. I’ve been hearing
reports of people seeing The Dark Knight this past weekend a multitude
of times – a couple of people seeing it five times, in fact – and this
makes me sad. First of all, and most frank of all, I think it’s a touch
pathetic to be a grown person and see a movie more than twice in a
weekend* since that not only indicates a serious lack of other things
in your life, it’s the kind of behavior that other people find weird.
When you go to the office on Monday and say that you saw The Dark
Knight four times since Thursday’s midnight show, everybody pegs you as
the weird guy. Maybe you’re the nice weird guy, but you’re the weird
guy nonetheless, the guy who is possibly jockeying for second place in
the ‘Who will shoot up the office?’ pool. It’s childish behavior**, the
kind of thing you should be ashamed of, like how you’re ashamed that
you jerk off to Thundercats slashfic***. It’s likely that if you’re the
kind of guy who sees a Batman movie more than twice in a weekend you’re
also the kind of guy who wonders why women don’t like you. Seeing a
Batman movie more than twice in a weekend is the reason why.
It’s also sort of sad from a moviegoing point of view. There’s no movie
ever made that benefits from such intense repeat viewings. You’re not
doing yourself, or the movie you obviously love, any favors by gorging
on it. It’s like eating a good meal – just because it’s good doesn’t
mean you should go back for fifths or sixths. You’re numbing yourself
to what you liked in the first place, and you’re also likely to make
yourself sick. In the case of the movie, you’ll burn out on it. This is
another reflection of childish behavior, the need to have it all right
now and in impossible amounts.
There’s another moviegoing point of view on this that makes me sad,
especially since many of the people who have seen the movie an insane
number of times are self-professed film lovers, or run movie websites,
and it’s that you’re ignoring the other great movies out there. It’s
unlikely that you’ve seen every movie playing in your local area, or
that you’ve rented all of the movies that you need to see. There are so
many options out there for film lovers and yet you’re seeing the same
film five times, dropping a bunch of money on the same movie again and
again. This especially goes for people who live in bigger cities; when
the urge to see The Dark Knight for the fifth time hits, go to your
local paper and find an indie or documentary that’s playing and go see
that instead. Expand your horizons instead of acting like an obsessive
This last point is the one that bums me out the most. People who see a
movie more than twice in theaters have a lot of expendable income, but
I also suspect they’re the people on internet message boards most
likely to chime in that they haven’t seen this critically acclaimed
small film or that awards nominated documentary. On some level I
understand the people who have limited abilities or means to get to
movies and who choose the blockbusters – they need the bang for their
buck and they want to be in the main conversation around them.
Everybody’s talking about The Dark Knight, but who’s talking about The
Visitor or Baghead?**** – but if you have the time and money to see a
movie more than twice in a weekend, surely you should be using at least
some of that time and money to be a better movie lover instead of a
better Batman movie lover?
Some people will think that I’m ragging on the folks who saw The Dark
Knight multiple times because I don’t like the Batman movies. Let’s get
one thing out of the way: I liked this film. If people start going to
see Pineapple Express five times in a weekend, I will be just as
creeped out by them*****. It’s not healthy. The urge to see a movie again
and again in a short period of time is not a healthy one, no matter how
you’re escaping reality.
So my plea to you is this: stop seeing The Dark Knight. Don’t turn this
into some kind of competition to see who has the most hollow existence;
simply be happy that you’ve seen it and wait contentedly for the
DVD/Blu-Ray, surely coming this Christmas. And you know what? Having
some time between your viewings may help you appreciate the movie more,
instead of mindlessly sinking into the comforting womb of Christopher
Wake up. Grow up. Go see something else. Anything else.
* twice in a weekend is still a lot, but sometimes you see a movie on
Friday and then a broad wants to see it on Sunday or something, so you
go again. It happens, but you shouldn’t make a habit out of it.
** which must be noted is different from childlike, which is marked by
an innocence and sense of play and wonder. Being childish means you’re
a loser who makes death threats on Rotten Tomatoes against critics who
didn’t like a movie you liked, among other creepy behaviors.
*** yes, this is a shameful thing to do. Ponder this while waiting on line for your sixth viewing of The Dark Knight.
**** snobby movie critics, that’s who. Faggots, the lot of them.
They’re not real men like Batman. They’re not real men with chiseled
abs and handsome features. They’re not real men of action who would
come in and throw you down and… guess it’s time for a sixth viewing
of The Dark Knight!
***** full disclosure: I saw Hellboy II: The Golden Army three times. The first time was a couple of months ago at a very early screening when most of the effects were temp. The second time was a junket screening where the finished film was shown; I was asked to attend as a prerequisite for writing a review that would run the day of the premiere. I also attended the premiere because how cool an opportunity is that? While I liked Hellboy II, I would never have seen it three times if it wasn’t for work.