Freaking ice and salt all over the roads. Even if they were clean it's ten below and windy. So I went to see a movie tonight to get away from it all. Everyone has been telling me, "Go see sideways", "Sideways is great!" "You'll love it!". The newspaper gave it five stars, whereas Constantine only got two. Sideways seemed like the reasonable chioce, but Constantine was calling to me. It was a dilema: respectable movie about wine and male bonding, or chancy comic book-turned-into-blockbuster affair. Maybe it was time that I endeavored to educate and enlighten my soul rather than opting for cheap thrills and monster gore.
Before the movie I had a burger, and the advertisement on the wrapper said, "The Flames are Waiting For You" underneath a big picture of a Whopper. The guy at the next table was reading a motorcycle magazine and the headline on one of the articles said "Hellbound". I was getting some serious universal feedback in the infernal dirction, but I bought a ticket for Sideways and found myself a seat in a nearly empty theatre. A chatty group of middle aged men and women arrived, laughing and rattling their drinks and popcorn. I felt about ten years older all of a sudden. When the trailers started they were all for dramas and comedies aimed at mature humanist types: the new Woody Allen, The Hitch Hiker's Guide, and one about some kids who find a million dollars. The latter movie looked worth seeing to me, but I was starting to have second thoughts about my current cinematic situation.
If I want a nice, human drama about real people going through the real world in all its perplexities, I'll rent it and enjoy it in the comfort of home. When I shell out bucks to see something on the big screen I want to see BIG BUDGET FX: monsters, explosions, panoramas, good pitted against evil with the eternal salvation or damation of the hero's soul at steak. A major hollywood production was being shot in my neighbourhood recently and one of the guys told me that it costs a minimum of 60 grand per hour that they are on set, though it could run up to twice that figure. With that kind of money going into a movie, you might as well have an appearance by the prince of darkness, or at least some of his minions, and a werewolf or two thrown in for good measure. So I made as if I going for popcorn, grabbed my coat and shimmied my way out of Sideways and across the hall to catch the beginning of Constantine.
I guess I will remain unelightened about the finer points of wine culture, but I learned quite a bit about the cosmic struggle between God and the Devil going on right under our noses, and I got to see some pretty neat tableaus of Hell. Not to mention insane angels, mondo exorcisms, and a wicked twist at the end. There was a bleak period of self-doubt while I suffered through the overabundant trailers for embarrasingly shallow adventure and slasher movies. None of them were very appealing and I started telling myself that being forced to sit through Constantine would be a good lesson to me in finally "growing up". But as soon as the first scene came on with the two Mexicans in the desert sifting through the skeletal ruins of a church for The Spear of Destiny, I knew that I was right where I belonged, and that what the critics who gave it a measley two stars just "didn't get" would most likely contribute to the eternal damnation of their immortal souls.