It started about five years ago.
My Friday nights had been solitary ones.
And Friday night, to me was always a night of anticipation. The end of the work week needs to be celebrated because a nice, fresh weekend is on the horizon. There is only so much creative juice one can manufacture in the course of a week, so writing another chapter for my book didn't appeal to me. I wanted to be entertained. Sitting alone Friday nights and eating the remains of lunch while watching telly reruns that I never liked in the first place, wasn't cutting it, so I grabbed the newspaper, checked out the local theaters and set off for the movies. I bought a medium popcorn and a bottle of water for my dinner and i was blissed out. It didn't matter what the movie was about, the screen could have been blank, for all I cared. I was away from my office, out of the house, and freeee.
Two or three years passed this way and I was happy.
Enter my daughter. "Mind if I come?" she asked. No problem. We hit the early show, she ate M&M's and shared a medium popcorn with me. We drank water and we blissed out together .
Good things like this catch on.
First, my friend Maria asked to join us. Then my friends Richie and Jackie, soon followed by Larry and Estelle, and Alex, and Gene, and occasionally my eighty-nine year old mother (who thought the actors looked very thin in Avatar. "That's Hollywood for you," she sniffed. "They have to starve themselves for their roles." I didn't have the heart to remind her that it was an animation.)
Of course, things have taken on a little more structure over time. Evolved, you might say. There were a lot of us, and now I send out emails addressed to the Movie Gang, detailing the movie i have chosen for the week - my word is law - though I do consider special requests. I sign my emails "Queen of the Cinema" and add an ominous and unoriginal "Be there or be square" at the bottom. We have added dinner to the evening's activities, usually meeting in the food court next to the cinema, and happily stuff in on the awful junk food to be found in malls. Diets go out the window, our Movie Gang members (which have gone as high as nineteen) take up entire tables. After food, we troop off to the movie in giddy spirits. When the movie is over, we caravan to the local diner for post-movie analysis, drink buckets of decaf coffee and order diner snacks which rival food court food in its gastronomical incorrectness. Finally, tired, satiated and completely entertained, we bid each other adieu, head off in various directions for home and career, and wait impatiently for another week to pass.
Anyone is welcome to join us. They are forewarned that they may get bombarded with an errant popcorn missile if the plot lags, chocolate snacks have to be shared, and an occasional snarky comment is not only tolerated, but encouraged. Maria howled through the entirety of the last werewolf movie, it was that bad. Shutter Island gave us all the creeps and we are still picking apart Inception, though the general vote is that he's still asleep and we all need to see it again. We loved Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and loved almost as much, discussing its symbolism. When you've got a writer or two (or sometimes three) included in the group, along with a pathologist and an internationally renowned forensics expert, an engineer, a doctorate in psychology and one in molecular biology, dissections are inevitable.
It's now Tuesday night and I'm deciding on my next opus. As usual, I will let you know Friday morning before noon. You'll get the email, so
Be there or be square.