So, let's say I have this friend. (No, I didn't say, let's say I have a friend; I am talking about a particular friend.) And this friend went to go see New Moon on Thursday at midnight in England--Oxford, to be more specific. Now, I should tell you that this "friend" of mine is not one of the crazy Twilight fans. She hasn't read any of the books and watched the first movie a few months ago at 1 AM only for lack of better things to do. But, this friend decided to go see the latest Twilight movie for a few reasons:
1. She is all about new experiences, and seeing a movie with a cult following at midnight (in a foreign country) certainly seems to qualify.
2. She is seeking "normalcy"--defined as things that are entirely non-academic, and largely American, like sports, movies, and meaningless television--and a Twilight movie certainly qualifies as mindless, though normal may be questionable.
3. She knew that it would make a great blog post for me. (Ok, it was actually just the first two.)
So, let's talk about what it is like to attend a movie with a cult-following at the premiere in the UK. (Based on what I have been told.) For starters, my friend was (or at least felt like) one of the oldest people at the theater--at least in the top 1%. It was unclear whether these other crazy girls were high school students or undergrads--the difference between 16 and 18 is quite negligible, especially when people have on "Team Jacob" and "Team Edward" shirts. And to make matters worse, my friend is quite tall, so she was the oldest and largest person there. How did my friend have time to sort this all out, you ask? Well, despite the fact that the 600 seat theater was sold out for the midnight showing, the theater did not open the doors until 11:30 (23:30), so everyone was cuing into the street until that time. There was lots of jockeying for position, giggling, and picture-taking. I hear it was awful. To my friend (and I agree), this seems like poor planning on the part of the theater, but it is the UK and this kind of inefficiency has come to be expected.
When my friend and her friends finally got into the theater and found seats, the reality of the situation began to sit in. Sure, they had drank some coffee about an hour before in preparation of the big night, but the reality is that they were too old for this. The 30 minutes waiting for the movie to begin was ample time for drowsiness (and crankiness) to set in. The only thing that kept the wait time interesting was the lonely male (who was older than everyone) who was talking and cursing under his breath behind them and the girls who were taking pictures in front of them. They took pictures of each other with their movie stubs, pictures of them eating popcorn, and at one point, my friend thought they took a picture of my friend and her friends. That is when it became clear that they truly were in the top 1% of the age distribution.
Well, as annoying as it may have been to cue up outside, it was understandable. What was simply incomprehensible (especially in the early hours of the morning with crankiness setting in) was when the movie still had not started at 12:20. I mean, in the US the movie would have started at 12:01, coordinated with the official clock in New York. My friend thought about going to complain (she is an American after all), but then she realized something (this was a real sign of European wisdom). You know what, if starting the movie at the advertised time is not enough of a motivation, it is unlikely that inquiring about the start time is going to further motivate the theater staff. In fact, an inquiry may just further whatever inefficiency is causing the delay. Wise girl.
So, when the movie finally started at 12:25, everyone squealed, and the price of admission, inefficiency of the system, and staying up late for no good reason was entirely worth it; it was truly a new experience. I mean, seeing a movie with terrible acting and a limited plot could be perceived as a waste of time and money, but not when you get to experience the incredible reactions every time Jacob or Edward appear on screen or when the movie closes with Edward...wait, I don't want to spoil the ending for you.