Tag Archives: Hunger Games

Sometimes a Punch in the Jugular Is the Best Medicine

28 Mar

I swore at some little kids the other night.

I don’t know how little they were, per se.  They were littler than me.  Adolescents, I suppose, is the technical term.   All I know is they were scrappy, yippy things and offended almost all of my sensory organs and so I dub them little kids.  Rascals.  Hellions.  Forged of muck, mire, and obscenities.

Granted, I’d willingly ventured into their pit of idiocy when I made my way out to the midnight showing of The Hunger Games.

Don’t judge me unless you’ve read the books.  Seriously, just don’t even start.  I’ll brawl.  Don’t think I won’t.

Anyway, I took the plunge into the hysteria about a week ago and openly admitted it in last Wednesday’s post.  My entire life was consumed with angst and every moment of exertion became just another thing I had to do before I could read again.   Since this led to devouring all three books in just a few days, I figured why not go ahead  see the movie.   I wouldn’t let Dave see it before he’s read the books and since I took the following day off work, I bought what I’m sure was the last ticket for the midnight showing in a 30-mile radius and ventured out into the wilderness of excited adolescents.   Alone.

I don’t really know why I go to the movies anymore.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I truly enjoyed it.   I suppose there’s that time I took myself on a date for a Lollipop Tuesday last year, but it’s important to note that in that scenario, I was the only one in the entire theater.  Maybe that’s key: I absolutely cannot have any other humans around me.  When I do have humans around me, I contemplate murder.

I think it’s safe to say that out of my myriad of pet peeves in this world, the one I hold near and dear to my heart is being rude during movies.   I don’t really know who the target audience is for those commercials that happen before the previews in the movie theater.  You know, the ones that feature some audience member being rude and ridiculous?  There’s the one of Steve Martin’s cell phone vibrating him off the seat.  There’s the one where people are watching The Notebook but all the dialogue is replaced with a story about puke, courtesy of the people having a conversation beside you.  I thought the target audience was the people who do those things, but those people still exist so I don’t know if it’s an effective campaign.  Oh, and there’s the one of the Lorax that played the evening I was trying to watch the Hunger Games, but unfortunately my offenders entered too late to notice it.  Maybe that’s the problem: rude people enter too late to see them.

To my surprise, I had secured a seat in front of an exit row, with plenty of leg room.  I had a big blank section to my left where no seats were installed in the event that wheelchairs were needed there, and had only one seat to my right, which no one had ventured to sit in, despite the fact that I had bathed that morning.  For the first time in a long while, I thought I might actually enjoy being at the movies – and one of the most anticipated movies in a very long time, even! A midnight showing! The luck!!

That’s when the gaggle appeared.

Just before the previews, when the lights were beginning to dim and the audience was settling into silence, a squadron of chirping adolescents piled up at the entrance to the theater.  Realizing that they were complete morons to have gone to the concession stand before scoping out seats, they found themselves unable to acquire fifteen seats all together and refused to watch this much-anticipated theatrical event in separation.  As they tried to balance their 6 dollar sodas and popcorns, they looked to the leader for orders.  That’s when she marched right over to the open (and chair-less) section to my left, and plopped down cross-legged on the floor.  Her minions followed suit, stacking into two rows in which they rested on each others’ limbs, greased with popcorn butter and reeking of trouble.

I almost immediately went to management.  Are you serious?! I went from having an almost guaranteed enjoyable evening to being the only person in the theater that has to directly deal with this group of doofuses.  I don’t even enjoy the movies when there’s only one seat beside me and now I’ve exchanged that one seat for 7.5 humans sitting on 7.5 other humans.  It was obvious to me that halfway through the movie they would get sore or tired of laying on each other and need to shift around.  Not to mention the chomping and slurping and chatting.  Oh, the chatting.  

But I told myself that it would be a great memory for them.  They could look back and reminisce about the midnight showing of the Hunger Games, when they broke all the rules and sat directly on the floor.   Stop being a bitter old hag, Jackie.  You’re only in your twenties.  Save the stifling of a younger generation for your thirties.

So I let them go.  

Five minutes in, my left ear had already been accosted by some of the worst obscenities in my vocabulary.  They were weighing in on what the movie was presenting versus what they imagined in the books, they were upset that Effie didn’t seem like they thought she would, and a variety of female characters had been likened to a slang term for a female’s genitalia.

I began to get upset.

I thought about the time I saw Alice in Wonderland in 3D and got so enraged at the girls who weren’t even making an attempt to use their inside voices in the front row that I walked over, crouched down behind their seats, and spat out that since they talked all the way through the movie, they could at least do me the favor of attempting a whisper for the rest.  I thought about the time I saw the silent film The Artist and a 60-year-old lady behind Dave and I read all the captions out loud.  (I still have scar marks from him taking out his tension by squeezing my leg instead of crushing her face.)  But above all, I thought about how they were seated where there weren’t even seats and by all counts should have already been ousted by an usher except by my good graces and my convincing myself not to be an old coot. And yet they sat there, carrying on.  

It was when Katniss finally got launched up the tube to the battlefield that I realized I could endure them no longer: something had to be done.  I didn’t devour all three books in the series and pull myself out into the wilderness of a midnight showing to have them banter and giggle through the most intense part of the movie.  No sir.  And honestly, I wasn’t sure that watching a movie focusing on taking the lives of adolescents was the best stimulus for me in my situation.

So I leaned over and abandoned my inside voice, saying  – Hey, do you think you guys could shut up for the rest of the movie? Seriously.  Thanks.

But there’s this amazing pretend shield that stupid kids think exists between you and their mockery of you.  The girl directly below me to my left was under such a delusion when she blatantly mimicked me to her friends.  There was some head bobbing, some finger wagging, and an exact replica of the tone I took with them.  

That’s when I called her a dick.

I did.  I just dropped all pretenses of good Christian behavior and called her a dick.  In fact, I called them all dicks and told them to shut the hell up.  Because if they didn’t, I was going to have an usher scrape them off the floor and shoo them to their lonely little islands – seats beside old people, fat people, ugly people, gruff people, and maybe even in the middle of rows.  They’d have to navigate it all in the dark by themselves.  And everyone would stare.  And call them dicks again.

They didn’t talk for the rest of the movie.

I darted out of there the moment it was over, annoyed that I’d ventured out into society again.  I thought about how they’d all pile into their mothers’ cars and talk about the old lady that nagged them and called them names.  They’d leave out the part where they were using worse language than me even though they’re half my age.  They’d leave out the part where I already told them to zip it before I unleashed the Richard on them.  They’d leave out the part where they encompass everything The Lorax tried to prevent in the previews.

I burned with a fiery rage, kicking myself for paying 10 dollars to see something I could have rented on Netflix in a few months and watched in the comfort of my own home, where I’m safe from society and all the ways it makes me want to cuss and commit crimes.  I’ve told myself so many times that I’m done going out to the movies for this very reason.  I just haven’t come up with a good system yet where every time I’m tempted to go see something on the big screen, I have the better sense to punch myself in the face instead.

Maybe I should just start a service where for a free movie ticket, I will sit on a stool near the exit of the theater and if my ears or eyes are offended by the presence of anyone in particular, I walk up and deliver one solid slam in the jugular.  I get a free movie, people get a better theatrical experience, and audiences begin to be respectful out of fear.

Sounds more effective than the Lorax campaign to me. 

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Can’t Post; Must Read Hunger Games

21 Mar

It all started when I innocently Tweeted that The Hunger Games seemed like The Running Man or our generation.  (Hashtag JenniferLawrenceIsArnold.)

The Running Man, in case you are unaware, is a movie featuring protagonists in fantastically 80’s spandex suits, a man-made obstacle course where no one really comes out alive, and a host of villains that are crosses between pro wrestlers and science experiments.  Even if you aren’t familiar with it, you’re probably familiar with the famous Schwarzenegger phrase that was born from it: “I’ll be back”. 

The spandex unitard he’s sporting when he says it really drives the threat home.

This tweet automatically posted to The Jackie Blog Facebook page, where two Hunger Games fans immediately chimed in that I should read the books.  Typically when a post gets more than one reaction in less than a minute, it’s going to grow out of control.  And before I had a litter of Hunger Gamelings on me, I decided to calm the storm by suggesting that if they watched The Running Man, I would read The Hunger Games.

Challenge accepted.

I didn’t really want to read The Hunger Games.  I like to judge things before I have any idea what they’re about.  Sometimes I’m wrong, but I really only remember the times that I was right.  Like Twilight.  

But nothing can possibly be as horrendous as Twilight and I also thought reading The Hunger Games would make a pretty good Lollipop Tuesday.  If you don’t know what that is, there’s a link at the top of the page that will help you.  You can come back when you’re in the know and be all like “oh, I know what that is.  I’m so hip”. 

Anyway, I always say that I should read popular books before seeing the movie version of them.  I don’t ever actually do it, though.  Does anyone, really?  I started reading Harry Potter back before the first movie came out but then I figured it’s so long and the movie’s coming out soon so why bother.

I’m not big on reading, apparently.

But this time I was going to commit.  It’s 2012.  I’m a committer in 2012.  So I downloaded The Hunger Games Book I and went at it.  It’s young adult literature so you feel like a genius reading it.  It goes so quickly you get an ego boost just devouring the thing.  That, and it’s freaking fantastic.

No seriously.  It’s really good.  And I don’t usually like things.  Anything, really.  In fact, I’d say my trademark is that I’m just generally not a fan of things.  But a quick read about a tense political landscape that ultimately pits adolescents against each other in a grueling, descriptive fight to the death?  

That’s pretty awesome.

I finished the first book in 2 days.  Pretty much everyone who reads it says that like it’s an accomplishment or it’s supposed to blow your mind or something.  And while it’s a bit of a testament to how gripping the story is, it’s also a testament to just being literate.  It’s not like there were any challenging words.  Which is good because you need all the brainpower to imagine the brutal slayings. I’d have finished it sooner if I didn’t have to do things ever.  I actually started to get annoyed that I had to shower and brush my teeth because there was no way to read The Hunger Games while I was doing those things.  It’s probably best that I downloaded a digital version because I’m pretty sure I’d have attempted to take a book into the shower with me.  Slowly, everything I did was just something I was doing until I could read again. When I’d walk outside, I’d look around at the trees and sidewalks and think of how foreign they seemed.  My brain was on the ground in the Games. There were supposed to be people trying to kill me everywhere.  My Orthodox Jewish neighborhood seemed safe.  

Too safe.

At work, I got annoyed when the phone rang.  Well, I kind of always get annoyed when the phone rings because there’s usually a human on the other end who’s about to astound me with their idiocy and put another dent in my faith in the human race.  But this time I was getting annoyed because they were pulling me out of my daydreaming about The Hunger Games.  I had to remind myself that I could just hang in a few more hours, I could get home and keep reading.  It would be like a reward for working and pretending to be an adult.

My face has been stuck like this since I started reading. Just stare for a while. Right into the pupils. That's exactly what it's like, man.

Needless to say, I plowed through Book II when I got home today.  Our neighbors came over and asked us to dinner and while it’s usually hard to get me to go anywhere or do anything, it’s particularly difficult when I’m nursing an addiction.  I may not like much, but the things I like, I like fiercely.  I had to go to dinner so that Dave wouldn’t break up with me.  After all, he was with me through the World of Warcraft withdrawal of 2009 and I feared he was starting to see the beginning signs of a dealbreaker in me.  So I went, I ate, I came home, I read.

I read even though I had to post.  I read without shame.  I ate every digital page up with my eyes and packed it into my cerebrum with such elation that I was sure that if I could just keep reading forever, I wouldn’t need to sleep, shower, or eat again.

Katniss doesn’t need to.

But then I realized I’ve got some new eyes in my blog following this week.  Quite a few, actually.  I don’t know where you’re all coming from, but welcome to the gooey insides of my brains.   Right now most of my brains are full of political rebellion, starving families, and children murdering other children.   It’s awesome.   And I’d love to tell you all about it but I have to go download and devour Book III.  Tonight.  It must happen tonight right now right this very moment.  I also have to look into a new Lollipop Tuesday idea because I just blabbered this one all out without waiting until Tuesday.  

After that I should probably check in with my Running Man readers- the ones who started this dangerous spiral. I still stand by my tweet, but I’m pretty sure they got the raw end of the deal as far as entertainment value goes and I’d like to devote a bit of time to laughing about it. 

But first: back to the Games.

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