I went to go see The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 at the Regal Meridian in downtown Seattle tonight with my buddy Tom. Tom, a college roommate and one of my best friends, is one who you should go to the movies with not at all, depending on your movie watching preferences. There’s nothing wrong with Tom, you see, but Tom has the strange ability to attract the crazies to the movie theater – so if you need peace and quite while watching a movie, he is not the guy to go see a movie with.
There was the time when we sat in front of the family of obese individuals who liked to kick our seats while eating loudly and breathing even louder in a very arduous, uncomfortable way. Sad, but true. Or when the guy a few seats down from us started talking on his cell phone in the middle of the movie. Or tonight, where we had not one, not two, but three different sets of weird or annoying moviegoers.
The first bunch was innocent enough. Two guys sat down practically right in front of us, and as box office results for The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 suggest, the theater wasn’t exactly full. To make matters worse, one of the guys – the tallest guy, who had a clump of curly, oily hair – got up and then moved even more in front of us, forcing us to move down. Of course, that didn’t stop two other people – thankfully rather short people – from sitting down in front of us after the movie had started.
But everyone deals with people like this who are either unaware or just don’t care that it’s rude to sit right in front of someone else in a half-empty theater. However…
Things began to get weird when a big guy off to the side decided he wanted some candy… and no, not just any candy but his candy, the same candy that his girlfriend – whom he’d been fighting with before the movie started – allegedly had.
Twenty minutes into the film, we hear, “I want my candy.” Not a shout, but not a whisper. A few moments pass, and we get another, “I want my candy!” This time, much longer. After a couple more rather loud demands… er, requests… he apparently got his candy, because he shut up. The man later stripped down to a wife beater that was much too small for him. Apparently that candy made him sweaty.
On the other side of the theater, however, was where the golden gem of the evening was sitting. A man, probably in his fifties with white hair and slightly overweight, had bad circulation. At least, that’s what I can assume. Because every five minutes or so, he had to rub his hands together. Hard and fast, like he was warming them up. This hand rubbing – which was distinctly loud and heard all the way across the theater by everyone (even during the action scenes) – lasted for about 20 seconds and varied in velocity and intensity. Maybe he just liked the feel of his own skin.
Though rubbing of the hands is innocent enough, the man’s timing and dedication to such a habit makes him one of the weirdest people I’ve had the pleasure of watching the movie with. Even though there’s little comedy in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, he had Tom and I – as well as several other people in the audience – cracking up at the absurdity of it all. Who does that in a public place, repeatedly and oblivious to those around you?
What are your weird moviegoing stories?