I love movies. My first job was at a Memphis movie theater because, I wanted to see more movies. The spending money was nice, but it was the movies that motivated me to work while still in high school. It turned out to be the perfect job. The staff of teenagers working for less than minimum wage ignored the manager turning off the counters on the arcade machines while the manager allowed the underage employees to run amuck. On days when new reels of film were delivered, the last paid customer would be quickly shooed out of the building and we would be the first in town to screen every mid-1980’s movie. There were some treasures and some stinkers, but they were all fun for after midnight movie parties.
I never stopped loving and attending midnight movies. There’s a palpable enthusiasm in midnight movie audiences. You don’t take an unwilling date or spouse to a midnight movie. The audience is filled with people who are eagerly anticipating the movie. Every preview gets enthusiastic cheers and applause. Preview for a movie that should have been called “Geezers with Guns 2”? Clapping and three syllable “Yeah!” Preview that makes the Alien movies seem cheerful? Oohs and ahhs. Preview for a comic book movie? People cheer and make happy noises that would make Meg Ryan’s Sally in a restaurant seem timid.
The mood in the audience is so contagious that reserved and quiet people find themselves laughing at the audience comments and applauding when they would normally have smiled and nodded. Everyone’s brain Fandangos tickets for the previewed movies. At that moment in time, everything is wonderful.
I try to act my age and wait to see movies during matinee hours, but sometimes… I have to stay up past my bedtime and join the party. I don’t have the free time to sit thru a lengthy movie marathon like Thursday’s Marvel Marathon. While Aspie Caveman had the desire and interest, he lacked the transportation. Being the designated taxi driver was enough of a nudge to indulge and join the midnight Avengers screening.
It. Was. Perfect. Instead of throwing the 3D at the audience, Avengers used the 3D to pull the audience into the screen. The dialogue was clever and witty instead of melodramatic. Violence was carefully CGI’d to keep the comic book feel. The cast was enormous, yet carefully balanced. Words and images that we remember reading on long family car trips or by flashlight past bedtime, came to life even better than they were ever imagined.
We have all been trained to remain seated during credits for the reward of an extra scene. Avengers treats everyone who sits beyond that scene. After so many additional credits roll that the audience posted tweets, checked Facebook, scrolled their feed and texted their babysitters, the bonus was something completely different that had every nerd who waited, smiling as they left the theater.
Driving home at three in the morning, I found myself staring at the familiar streets with the eyes of a stranger. “Is this my street?” Wisps of fog floated randomly and at that moment, I declared my super power to be fog absorption. I was saving the other drivers from visual distractions even though it caused me brain fog. I became over-tired, brain cloud mom! I came home hyped up from the movie and stared at the television. I had brilliant insights on gender roles in Marvel comics that I didn’t write down. I figured out Black Widow’s super power and mentally compiled a list of others with the power until I decided it was more evil than super. At four a.m., I decided my brain was too active for sleep and I should start my day. The early morning would make me super productive just as soon as I stood up and began moving. I blinked and it was six hours later. Brain Cloud causes blinking to slow way, way down.
After my hibernation, I started to wonder how much of the midnight experience was influencing my praise for Avengers. I generously offered to accompany the teen and spouse who were unable to attend the first screening. Selfishness may be a temporary side effect of Brain Cloud.
After the second screening, I tried to Amazon pre-order the just opened Avengers. It really is that good.