Does the movie-going experience need resuscitating?  With the advent of DVD technology, widescreen televisions, ass-shaking home theater sound systems, downloadable movies, microwave popcorn and hand lube, more and more people are opting to stay home instead of shelling out hard-earned cash for expensive movie tickets and credit-card shredding concession prices.

Five bucks for Junior Mints?  Go fuck yourself!

Anyway, I am not going to complain about the usual movie-theater problems (like having to listen to noisy audience members, or loud babies, or having to hear cell phones go off, or having to smell rampant flatulence, or having to winess people getting waterboarded); instead, I am going to share a few recent memorable moments that have collectively soured me on catching flicks in theaters. 

And, while I have not completely given up on going to the movies (I would venture out more often if, say, a theater nearby started screening German enema porn), I still often think twice before plopping down some bills for something that will hit DVD in two weeks.

So, with that in mind, here are three recent experiences that happened, one right after another, in a couple of neighborhood theaters.

A couple weeks back, my friend and I decided to hit up a flick at a rundown, dilapidated movie theater that was perched on the corner of Gang Avenue and Drive-by Boulevard.  After suiting up in our Kevlar vests and bolting for the lobby in an erratic, zigzag pattern, we safely reached our seats.  I knew trouble was brewing the second we set foot in the theater, since several 40 ouncers of Mickey’s Malt Liquor rattled and rolled past our feet.  Before the lights even dimmed, a group of “ruffians” began shouting at a group of “young tuffs.”  They shouted horrific things at each other.  Words so foul and nut-shriveling that the mere mention of them instantaneously straightened my pubic hairs. The taunting continued to escalate and my friend and I shrunk in our seats, sinking into them as low as we could go.

If they don’t see us, they can’t shoot us, I thought.

Quickly, my eyes darted for the “EXIT” signs and I shoved both hands into my pockets, scavenging for something, anything that could be used for protection.  You know, like a pair of brass knuckles, or a canister of pepper spray, or a photo of Star Jones.  Unfortunately, all I had were a couple of fuzzy Tic-Tacs and a wadded-up piece of tissue paper.  Also unfortunately, I never watched MacGyver growing up, so I did not know how to construct an implement of death out of these disparate items.

Then, miraculously, the group abruptly left the movie, probably to go kill each other in a better theater.  Everything happened so fast that I didn’t notice what exactly did happen, mainly because I let my mind wander, where I pictured myself in a “happy place” (which basically consisted of a movie theater devoid of feuding gang members).  My friend didn’t notice anything either, he was too busy praying.

The next incident happened a week later, when I had the pleasure of sitting next to a dude who kept rocking back and forth in his seat.  And this wasn’t a calm, rhythmic movement either.  This was a violent, bowel-rattling movement that was as subtle as raping a washing machine. On top of this, he was giggling the whole time.  So, during the whole movie, all I could do was concentrate on this creepy bastard’s insane cackling and spastic body movements.  What was really freaky though (aside from this goofy fuck giggling nonstop) was that whenever somebody in the movie died, he would get really excited and bounce back and forth even more violently, laughing even louder.

I was positive this psycho was going to start stabbing people or, even worse, start stabbing me, so, needless to say, I was on edge the whole time.  This meant that I could not savor the subtle nuances of Crank High Voltage, nor could I completely soak in the artfully constructed mis en scene.  Luckily, the movie was about 40 minutes long, so I hightailed out of there before this wacky fuck started emulating the shit he was seeing onscreen.

And, while these two occurances might not seem too frightening, just put yourself in my cheap shoes.  Add an alcohol buzz to the mix, a bad day on top of that, and stir everything with heinous back cramps and I can tell you that you’d be wishing for, in the least, a relaxing film experience.

The weirdest incident, by far, happened a few days ago, when I raced to the bathroom to take my standard “pre-movie piss,” and encountered a grown man in an open stall who, while sitting on the toilet, was delicately shaving his face with a razor.  Beside him, resting on the piss-drenched floor, was a large, black garbage bag.  As I calmly attempted to “drain the snake,” the man tried to get my attention by screaming “Hey!”

For a moment, I considered pretending I was deaf, but in order to do sign language I needed both hands free and, unfortunately; one of my hands was preoccupied.


My bodily fluid froze, as though somebody shot a load of liquid nitrogen into my expanding bladder.


Don’t turn around, Gabe.Don’t turn around.


I turned around.

“You hungry, man?”

“Uh…not really.”

“C’mon, bro.You gotta be.”

“No.  I just ate.  Had a big, steamy bowl of chili.”

“Hold on.  Hold on.”

Then the dude rested his razor on his lap and cautiously bent over, digging inside the garbage bag.  “Check this out,” he said, yanking out handfuls of frozen burritos.  “I got burritos, man.  Any kind you want.  Beef, chicken, chorizo.  Only a buck apiece.”

Why does this shit happen to me?

“No thanks,” I said.  “It’s cool.  I’m just not hungry.  It was a pretty big bowl of chili.”

“But it’s a good deal, man.  Just a buck.”

Briefly, I thought maybe this guy was selling drugs; that “burrito” was code or slang for heroin or smack or something.  But, I could tell from the wrapping and the size of the burritos (as well as the brand name) that he was, in fact, just selling burritos.

My brain nearly short-circuited.

Why is this guy selling burritos out of a movie theater bathroom stall?  And who the hell wants a burrito that’s been marinating in a puddle of piss?  And why the hell is he shaving?  And why am I still holding my dick?

Needless to say, I quickly got the hell out of there and proceeded to search for another bathroom, hoping that I would not run into another person selling tacos or nachos in the shitter.

So, there you go.  I hope wherever you see movies, you don’t have to deal with gang rumbles, psychotic freaks or burrito-wielding bathroom shavers.  Me, I’m happy staying at home with my popcorn and lube.

P.S.  Feel free to share some horror stories in my blog forum.  I’d like to hear what kind of wacky shit you guys have encountered.