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The Book of Eleven
Amy Krouse Rosenthal

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Eleven Thoughts
about the movies

by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

1. PEOPLE OFTEN SAY, "Why would I want to see a depressing movie? When I go to the movies, I want to be entertained. " But when I see a depressing movie about heroin addicts or rejected fat people or a woman who is being cheated on while dying of some rare disease in a hospital, that's when I leave feeling happy and grateful for my life. However, when I see a movie where some beautiful actress with a flat stomach meets a rich man with a flat stomach and they constantly achieve mutual orgasm in his 5,000 square-foot loft, that's when I get depressed.

OFTEN, WHEN SOMEONE says something funny, my immediate reaction is: "What's that from again?" It's like if I can't place the line from a popular movie, it wouldn't necessarily occur to me that it was simply an original thought.

WHILE I LOVE watching all the previews at the movies, they also make me very anxious. I can feel myself frantically making a mental list of all the ones I have to see and when. It gets to the point where I am actually relieved when a preview looks really bad, so at least that's one less movie I have to remember to see.

I ALWAYS WANT to see what happens after the movie's technically "over." I want an update on the couple that fell in love in Dolby Surround Sound, to see how they're doing post-euphoria. Have they begun fighting over small increments of time? ("You said you'd be home at 7:15. It's 7:20") Or like in "Ransom," after they get their son back in the end, I wanted to see what their family life was like. When they're sitting around the breakfast table, do they reminisce, "Can you believe you were chained up to a bed for a week?"

MUSICALS have always made me uncomfortable and wince-y. The way two people will be having a nice chat and then suddenly, inexplicably, one of them bursts into song and the other one has to join in. I actually feel embarrassed for the actors, because you know that they too would be much more comfortable just speaking at a moment like that.

NOTHING MAKES me feel more alienated, more uninvited, more removed from the impenetrable clique-of-cool, than hearing a celebrity on Letterman refer to Robert DeNiro as Bobby.

MY PARENTS WERE at the movies and about midway through the film, the fire alarm went off. They were all instructed to vacate the theater for about 10 minutes, and when they were allowed back in, everyone went back to their exact same seats.

SIMPLY BASED ON A POSTER that contains a few glib words like, "She found love, then lost herself...," next to a gorgeous, retouched photograph of two actors I happen to like, I'll go, "Wow. That movie looks really good." Intellectually, I know how contrived and strategic and misleading and Hollywood-ized the poster really is, but still, I fall for it every time.

WHEN A GOOD FRIEND told me she actually walked out of one of my all-time favorite movies,* our entire friendship flashed before me: could all my perceptions about her be wrong? Maybe she isn't the cool, intelligent person I thought she was. In that one irrational moment, every positive trait she possessed was canceled out by the fact that she didn't like this movie, that she wasn't exactly like me.

YOU KNOW HOW you'll be watching a movie where the main characters are in a public place, usually a restaurant, and so there are all these other people--extras--sitting around their tables talking. What do the extras talk about? Does the director tell them to engage in "real" conversation, or just do fake mumbly stuff? I try to watch their mouths closely, but it's hard to tell. Anyway, either way, don't they feel really awkward and self-conscious?

IF MY FRIEND PAT doesn't like a movie, he has to immediately go see another one because he can't stand the thought of having the last movie he saw be that bad one. He says, "What if I get hit by a truck? I'll be lying there dying thinking, 'I can't believe that was the last movie I'll ever see.'"


Unless otherwise specified,
all material Copyright 1999, 2000 by the author




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