By now, even Aunt Myrna knows about THAT movie opening on Valentine’s Day.
It seems like just yesterday she hid a dog-eared paperback of “Fifty Shades of Grey” in her knitting bag. Now, the “bodice ripper” story is dominating the news once more, enticing her to the box office.
But Aunt Myrna is tied up with a dilemma. What if she buys the naughty ticket and bumps into people she knows in the multiplex lobby? Like maybe the neighbors who are taking their kids to see “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water.” Or worse, what if the Rev. McReverendson happens to be in the building to view a poignant, human condition-y film? And he spots her in the popcorn line?
Reverend: “Why, hello there, Myrna! Lovely to see you this evening! What movie are you catching?”
Myrna turns fifty shades of red. She collapses and dies right there. The reverend adds another funeral to his day planner.
And that, my friends, is the potential problem. The concession confession. How to deal with being judged while holding Milk Duds in one hand, and in the other a ripped ticket bearing the words, “of Grey”?
Years ago, I went to see a documentary at a popular multiplex. In the lobby, I ran into a few acquaintances. They asked me what I was seeing. I answered, expecting a simple reply like, “Ah, interesting. Well, good to see ya!” Wrong. These people turned into armchair Siskels and Eberts, but with devil horns and zero filters.
I was flummoxed by their judgmental reaction to my movie choice. Even today I can still feel the sting of their dagger eyes, and the burn of dragon flames whipping past their lips.
Since that weird incident, I’ve been hyper-aware of the movie theater lobbyist, judge and jury. So it’s a good time to discuss whether the Hollywood version of E.L. James’ erotic/kinky/best-selling trilogy might make some of us hesitate to walk beneath the bright marquee of Look Who’s Watching What.
One ad for the movie asks, “Are you curious? Make plans for Valentine’s Day.” So it seems, for now at least, “Fifty Shades” is being marketed as a date movie. Hmmm.
Let’s process this with a few scenarios. Will Daddy Dad Jeans and his wife, Gingham Girl Scout Leader, dare to risk waltzing into the multiplex and running into Judge-y Pants Boss? Are some bashful couples going to choose a theater at least 10 ZIP codes away only to discover The Hendersons Next Door had the same idea? What about soccer coaches? The tuba teacher and his fiancee? It’s a “Saturday Night Live” sketch that writes itself.
I read “Fifty Shades” awhile back, and what do I remember? After the surprise of learning a middle-aged mom penned it, and having a secret wi$h that I would have had thought of the idea fir$t, I eventually found the story tiresome. The protagonist’s repetitive “Holy cow!” and “my inner goddess blah blah blah” gave me a headache.
My reaction stages of reading the best-seller with the (multipurpose) gray necktie on the cover went like this: Whoa!! What? Brave author. Another whoa! What kind of? Oh, here we go again. Then, it got even more repetitive: Hair ties. Penthouse view. Body wash. More hair ties. Private helicopter. Body wash again. Posh hotel. Whoops, another hair tie mention.
OK, got it — the dude’s a cranky young billionaire and Anastasia, the pony tail enthusiast, hates solid Neutrogena bars. I felt like I was bouncing between the darkest issue of “Cosmopolitan” and the soap aisle of my local Target.
But maybe the story translates better on film. If you’re curious about the movie, as the ads ask, go see it. Whether you’re Aunt Myrna or Daddy Dad Jeans, hold your chin up and walk boldly across that lobby.
The way I figure it, we’ve all been through much worse watching certain ambush pharmaceutical commercials at home and in mixed company. Viagra. Cialis. The side effects. Enough blush-worthy stuff to make even Anastasia Steele say, “Holy cow!”
Freelance writer Denise Snodell writes alternate weeks.