Monday, May 23, 2005

My Sass-Kicking Weekend

In an effort to save money this weekend, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't go out drinking. Now I'm not talking about a shot of gin before bedtime -- that only sets me back a couple of pesos and always guarantees a rolicking good dream-fest of clowns tying me to a stake while Eichmann lights my toes on fire, all the while David Hyde Pierce lurks in the background, conducting his orchestra of sin.

A smirk like that can only be the Devil's doing.

No, I refer to my typical weekend activity of meeting some friends in a bar downtown somewhere, plunking down major change to get sauced, and then shelling out $20 or more for some thieving cabbie who brakes at the yellow to have to drive my drooling ass back to the shanty I call "Home." This weekend, there would be none of that: Just wholesome, inexpensive eff you en. Fun. Little did I know that the aggression I normally save for an old-fashioned barroom brawl would make appearances in the most unlikely of locations.

So, for example, Friday night, instead of my usual raucous piano-playing, horse-injecting frenzies, I decided instead to watch the movie "Ray".

Saturday an old friend was in from out of town. The thing I love about this friend, other than her company, is her willingness to go to the movies. Believe it or not, it's very hard to convince people in their early 20's to plunk down $10.50 to sit through any number of films, including, but not limited to, any and all Matthew Lillard films, "talkies", and "Zebra Stripes". It was, therefore, a perfect coincidence that this friend be visiting the very same weekend Star Wars III was released.

As we walked down to the AMC Theater at Times Square (which, if you're like me and like strangers to feel you up in tight, crowded spaces, is a great place for movie-watching), a woman stopped us and the following conversation took place. Now while our tones were kept light, note the underlying rage in both of our voices:

Woman: Excuse me, are you from around here?
Me: Yes....?
Woman: Oh, good. I'm looking for a futon store that I think is somewhere on this block.
Me: Oh, I wouldn't know, I don't live right over here. You might want to go in a store and ask someone if they --
Woman: Well, thanks, I think I could've figured that o-
Me: Well, I'm sure you're a functioning human being.

Haha -- huh? Where did that come from? Take it easy, Mich! Down girl!

But that wasn't the end of my sasshole streak. Following Star Wars, which, to sum it up in Lucas-esque dialogue, went something like this:

Obi-Wan: Good is better.
Darth: Evil is power.
Natalie Portman: I'm pregnant. I'm beautiful because I love you when you are nice and not evil.
Darth: I wish to be powerful, therefore I am evil.
(Natalie hugs Darth)
Natalie: Ow! A splinter!
Yoda: This movie is long too fucking.
Darth: My limbs!
(They dress Darth up in a six-foot long black oven mitt)
Darth: Ow! I mean --
James Earl Jones: Oooowwww.

I dare anyone who saw this movie to refute my summary. Point being, post-movie my friend and I were feeling fairly unsatisfied (although I will admit that once Darth is in costume, i.e. the last 5 minutes, the movie kind of picked up.)

Now here's the reason why I consider AMC Times Square to be the best theater in New York. Forget the stadium seating, the fantastic sound, the solid gold popcorn buckets, the Chippendales ushers... the real reason why this theater kicks it up a crotch is that it makes sneaking into another movie practically effortless. They may as well just hold your hand and walk you into the next movie. Now, even though they tried to shepherd us out of the theater, a clever extended bathroom break allowed us to make our way back into the main corridor pretty easily. With that, we were up the stairs looking for a movie that actually made us remember to feel on the inside.

On our way up the 14 5-story long escalators that lead to the high-brow movies on the top floor, we noticed that it had rained, and the sky behind us was the eeriest shade of yellow. Thankfully, I had my camera on me, so I was able to snap some photos of this phenomenon. While I was at it, I also captured 42nd Street from above, which was oddly quiet and nicely shiny. And no, don't think I used the "sepia" filter on my camera: these colors are true to life.

As luck would have it, our top sneak-in choice, "Layer Cake", was just starting. Only problem was the theater was packed! Two kind of fratty guys were entering the theater behind us, and you could see the panicked look in all of our faces: Where were we going to sit?

I spotted two seats together above the entrance to the theater, hence behind a kind of wall that would prevent yourself from sure suicide following epic depressions like "Dancer in the Dark", etc. My long legs skipped steps in near joy as I claimed them for us. But, dear lord, that wall in front of us practically blocked the whole screen! No, no this wouldn't do at all. My eyes darted around the theater, and like a combination of Lenny from "Of Mice and Men" and the Terminator, I spotted two adjoining seats at the other end of our row, two seats sans wall. Like a lady, I politely excused myself past the legs of the other patrons, when I saw that bounding up the steps on the opposite side were the very same frat guys from nary a minute before. Now it was on.

Like a mother lifting a car to rescue her baby, my adrenaline rush was in full swing. In an idiot-savante like trance, I started shouting "We're in a race! We're in a race!" My row cooperated nicely, moving their legs out of the way as I scrambled to get my ass in those coveted seats. "We're in a race!We're in a race!We're in a race!" Perhaps Mr. Fratty sensed how serious I was about my seats, or perhaps his heart just wasn't into it, but we arrived at the seats at the very same time, and I literally threw myself into them as if my life depended on it. Needless to say, my entire row was in hysterics laughing, as was my friend, who insisted on wearing a popcorn bucket with eye-holes cut out in order to preserve her good name.

"Layer Cake" had everything I like in a movie: Gorgeous leading man, London, Daniel Craig, slick directing, hard-to-understand accents, and a handsome, rugged, well-dressed main character. Consider it highly recommended.

One for the ladies.

Sunday was drizzly, but I didn't let that stop me from going on a 7 mile trek across the city, which included a little sting at the Turtle Pond in Central Park:

Someone get Pixar on this plot immediately: I smell box office gold!

In the end, the money I saved by not drinking/cab-riding was spent on 5 pounds of makeup at Bloomingdales. The good news is, now my face looks like this:

A tiny bronzed baby shoe.

God, I need a drink.

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