Movie Mayhem

We were overwhelmed last night by a new sense of freedom that you can only find in the US: the marvel of movie shopping. We went to the movies before we had decided what to see: Time Traveler’s Wife, Inglorious Basterds, Julie and Julia or Taking Woodstock.

As is often the case with US movie theatres, our local has a liberal ticket policy, so we were able to draw the decision out until the end of the last preview.

Unlike cinemas in the UK, where each theatre in a multiplex is guarded by a ticket taker, last night’s theatre in Atlanta was a free-for-all. I had grown accustomed to the strict policies in London: you had to present your ticket to prove you actually had a right to enter that particular theatre.

Then, you had to be escorted by the usher to your seat assignment (yes! They assigned seats). You would think that people would sneak out of their assigned seats once the usher’s back was turned. But no. People would remain in those designated seats for the duration of the film.

Even when people climbed over them, or sat directly in front of them, or right next to them, Londoners would stay put — never mind that there were empty seats a few rows in front or behind them. I do think this phenomenon has something to do with Britain’s iron-clad class system. People are told what their place is, and that’s where they stay.

Here in the US, people tend to strive to rise above their station. We bought tickets for Taking Woodstock, in a snap decision prompted by the long line behind us, then quickly changed our minds after reading a negative review on my husband’s Blackberry.

So we walked over to the theatre showing Time Traveler’s Wife, which looked a bit empty. Inglorious Basterds had already started, so that left Julie and Julia — a movie that my father had advised was a chick flick, but my husband agreed to see anyway.

It was about to start, and the theatre was full, which promised to be a fun viewing experience. Who wants to pay $10 to sit in an empty theatre when you can enjoy the crowd reaction down the hall?

The move enabled us to get away from a man who had taken it upon himself to remove a thread from the back of my husband’s shirt while we were standing in line. This incident greatly irritated my husband. We left the perpetrator behind in the Taking Woodstock theatre.

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