Sunday, August 7, 2011

Road Trip–Cowboys & Aliens

The Girlfriend and I were supposed to make this trip to see Cowboys and Aliens  last weekend.  It’s probably better that we didn’t, opening weekends being what they are crowd wise.  She’s not really keen on Alien Science Fiction movies either, but she had seen the previews for this hybrid  and the fact that they were combining two genre’s intrigued her.  Actually, I just believe she things Daniel Craig is a hottie.
I almost went alone though.  I decided that I was going to go whether she wanted to or not.  I wasn’t about to spend another weekend in My Bedroom Sanctuary, writing shit on my blog.  I intended to go to the movies and then come home and then write shit on my blog.  I also intended to do a little shopping afterwards and go somewhere for dinner.
So at 3:30 pm  after I had showered and dressed, I went and told her I was leaving.  She asked me where I was going and I told her.  It was then and only then that she told me she had decided she wanted to go after all.
As it turns out, since it takes her an hour or more to take a shower, get dressed, and do her hair, we decided to see the six pm showing of Cowboys & Aliens at the Reading Cinema next to the Valley Plaza Mall in Bakersfield.  It’s not as nice and the seats don’t quite have the comfort of either the Edwards Regal or the Maya Cinemas, but it is  cheaper.
The place wasn't all that busy when we got there at fifteen minutes to six but we still had to rush  a bit.  Most of the time I’ll stop and take a picture of this, that and the other to upload and  bring a little atmosphere to the blog piece, but we were pressed  for time and had to hurry.   While I bought the tickets, The Girlfriend had gone ahead inside to get the popcorn and soft drinks.
No, The Girlfriend is not in this picture.  This is one I took on a previous trip  to the cinema when I used to upload this shit to Facebook.
But it is the main snack bar so it works here.  There is another refreshment stand towards the back where there are more, but smaller  auditoriums.  Believe me when I say it would be a long walk from some of them back to this front snack bar if that’s the trek you had to make.  But it would worse if you had to get up and piss in the middle of a Cowboy/Alien (As it turned out I had to) shootout and walk to the front of the cinema, but they had the foresight to put a smaller restroom towards the back as well.  Something neither the Edwards or the Maya can attest to.
As you can see, the Bargain Matinee ends at 6:00 PM, so one of us had to pay the full price.  The other one of us got a Senior Ticket which is $3.00 cheaper.  One of the few quirks of getting older is discounts.  The senior discount at this theater starts at age 55, but I won’t tell you which of us that ticket belonged to and what age they are.  It’s irrelevant to this story.
As I mentioned, our movie was showing in one of the really smaller auditoriums in the back.  Not a good sign financially for a film that’s only been out a week.  But the American public has made it perfectly clear that Cowboys & Aliens Ticketsthey only want half assed sequels and comic book heroes filling the summer screen. 
If a movie doesn’t make a gazillion dollars on opening weekend, then it’s considered a flop.  Funny how a movie like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (which I really enjoyed, a lot more than I did At World’s End) can make over a billion dollars worldwide and be considered a flop by the dumbshit newspapers and some of the even dumber  movie going public in the U.S. 
I mean, when we went to see Cowboys & Aliens, I wasn’t sure how good it would be, but I knew sight unseen it would be a helluva lot better than the Fucking Smurfs that I hated when I was young and would undoubtedly hate even more now.  Yet, the Smurfs made just as much money on opening weekend as this film, which proves my point without a doubt about the brain power of the average American film patron and a lesson that will serve to  further convince Hollywood Studio Heads to churn out the same old bullshit and not take even the slightest chance with an original idea.  It doesn’t help matters that the other Alien movie this summer  that I absolutely loved but wasn’t really about Aliens at all, Super 8, suffered the same fate as Cowboys & Aliens and also underperformed at the box office.   Oh well, let’s get one with it.

Auditorium 5 sits almost as far in the back on the left hand side of the Bakersfield Reading Cinema  as you can go without running into a wall.  And just as I said,  it is very small.  Not much bigger than a large basement.  I captured this quick picture at the end of the movie to give you some idea of the size.  It was taken from the last row.


Still, I’ve seen enough movies in one of these cigar boxes to know that it’s no big deal unless………someone brings their bratty ass kid to the movie.  A kid who doesn’t want to be there, had no fucking interest in watching the film, and is only intent on making a damn nuisance of themselves.  That was the case this day.
We were sitting about two rows back of the first row that  you see in this picture.  I was sitting in the aisle seat, and one row in front of me in the section on the left  also in an aisle seat was a woman and her daughter.  My guess is that the little brat was around five, but not more than seven years old. 
All during the commercials and during the previews the little brat was stepping up and down on the small aisle step, then climbing in her mother’s lap, climbing out of her mother’s lap, and doing some intermittent whining in between.  I hadn’t had a really bad experience at the movie theater in a while but this was looking to be one if Satan’s Daughter didn’t get in her seat and be quiet when the movie started.  Worse, all during the previews (which I normally enjoy watching)  Mommy Dearest kept pounding away on her cell phone, but at least she did shut the damn thing off a couple of minutes after the movie started.
Not so the little monster she had with her.  She kept on and on and it was terribly distracting making it difficult for me to get drawn into the early part of the film.  Every once in a while, she would literally climb across her mother from the aisle, and whine something to her or pulling on her arm.  I tried to ignore it but the shenanigans just kept going on endlessly   At least if we were in one of the large auditoriums  we could have changed seats but in Number 9,  the only alternative was to sit right up front next to the screen.  The rest of the seats were taken.
But finally, I guess Mommy Dearest had enough as well, grabbed the little darling and left.  She did not return.  Honestly, if you know your little shit is going to behave that way, why even try to bring her  in the first place and blow at least $14 bucks, or even more if you bought refreshments?  Especially if you have no intention to teach her proper etiquette or to even discipline her.  And why drag her to a movie like this if she isn’t interested.  Take her to see the blue little smurf bastards running amok on the screen down the hall.
I almost would  rather she had done that then for her to give in to the kid so she could live to be a pain in the ass to somebody else on another day.  Let me put it this way:  When I took my kids to the movies, they behaved. And they did it because I let it be known before hand that if they got out of line, it would be the last movie they would see in  the theater or even at home on the TV for a long long time.  And once at home, they would be doing a lot of contemplating looking at the spot where two blank walls come together.   So if you can’t teach them proper movie etiquette, then leave the little bastards at home.  Thank you very much.  I and the rest of the American Movie Going Public appreciate it.
Now what about the movie?  After having read the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, I wasn’t sure how it would work out.  But I enjoyed it and loved the mix of a dark Western and Science Fiction. 
The character played by Daniel Craig, Jake Lonergan, reminded me of Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name  in the Spaghetti Westerns of his early career.  In fact, at the beginning of the film, Craig not only doesn’t have a name, he has no memory of anything which only adds to the mystery.
Harrison Ford gives one of his better performances here as the villainous Wodrow Dolarhyde, and it’s cool to see him not being the good guy for a change.   But things are not always so cut and dry sometimes as to who is the villain and who is not.  There’s no doubt that Dolarhyde’s son Percy (why are villains or the sons of villains always called Percy?) is worse than his father, His main purpose in life is to be as cruel and obnoxious as he possibly can.  But it’s only because Daddy has always given him everything he has always wanted, convinced the kid he can do no wrong, and always bailed him out of trouble when necessary.  Sort of like what the Republicans do with Millionaires, Billionaires, and Giant Corporations.  But Paul Dano does a terrific job as Percy.  He certainly reminded me of Doug Hutchison’s Percy Wetmore in The Green Mile.
And Olivia Wilde  as the beuatiful and  mysterious Ella, whom may or may not know who Jake is, where he came from, and why he is wearing the electronic bracelet, makes me want to go back and watch her House episodes ( a series of which I’m only a casual fan.)
To be honest, the entire cast is very good, and the fact that the relationships between the characters change and grow is we find out their true nature, only makes the film that much better.
But C&A doesn’t reveal too much too soon, only slowly unraveling what the connection between the Aliens and Jake may or may not be, who the mystery girl in Jake’s picture may be, and whether or not he is really the evil outlaw everybody thinks he is.  And the fact that all these different prairie types have to learn to co-exist and work together if they are to survive makes the film that much more interesting.   The movie does plod a bit in the beginning, but eventually gains a lot of momentum as more and more of the plot and its secrets is revealed.  Of the movies I have seen this summer at the theater, I would say it’s easily one of the top three, so I have no choice but to give it my grade of an A-.

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