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An Entertaining Afternoon At the Theater

I haven’t been a heavy movie goer since leaving Atlanta. I could probably count the movies I’ve seen since 2009 if I sat down and thought about it a little. When there was a theater down the street, it was a no-brainer. Now I have to gear myself up and convince myself that it’s worth driving. It’s so easy to decide to wait and see a film after it’s released for home viewing.

But there was no question I was going to see the latest Trek film, Star Trek: Into Darkness in a theater. I thoroughly enjoyed the last entry from J.J. Abrams. So much so that I saw it twice. So you can see there was never any question. Still, I didn’t rush out on the first night.

Today, I decided to see the film down in Cordele. The only other nearby theater showing it around the same time was in 3D and I’ve seen enough 3D films to know that means a two hour headache for yours truly. So, knowing some schools are already out, off I went hoping that it wouldn’t be a crowded matinee….

There’s a sense of irony to that and you’ll see why shortly!

When I arrived at the theater, the ticket counter was closed with a note to buy tickets at the concession stand… Okay… Fair enough, I could order my popcorn, coke, and a ticket, all on one check!

This is when things got confusing. The clerk told me that the film was to the left and said something I didn’t entirely follow about the Great Gatsby. I saw a theater on the left with Star Trek over the door. When I walked into the utterly deserted theater, the Great Gatsby was playing?

Hmm… Okay, well, she did mention Great Gatsby so I thought maybe they were just testing the equipment or something and sat down. After a few minutes I started watching the clock. Shortly, the time Star Trek was set to begin was passing… And the Great Gatsby was rolling right along….

Out into the lobby… no one… not a soul… not the clerk I had bought my ticket from, not another movie goer…

I saw next to the theater I had just exited was one with Great Gatsby over the door… Maybe she had meant Star Trek was on in there… Makes sense doesn’t it?! I Entered just long enough to see the Lone Ranger?! Exiting, I looked high and low and could find no one. And each theater I peeked into was empty. No clerks, no other patrons… And no where was Star Trek playing.

One more time, I poked my head into the first theater. Still the Great Gatsby playing to an emtpy room in the theater that had Star Trek over the door. And then into the theater one more time which had Great Gatsby over the door. And this time it was dead silent.

Life was beginning to feel like the opening frames of a surreal film!

Returned to the lobby again, I ran into the lone clerk and explained I couldn’t figure out where my film was playing. She poked her head into the theater that had Great Gatsby over the door, confirming that was in fact where it was supposed to be. She saw the same dark screen and said she’d find out what was wrong. I went back in and sat in the dark and waited.

Five minutes later, the screen came to life. She popped in to check on things and I thanked her. The last trailer was…. you guessed it, The Lone Ranger. And then… the screen went dark once more…

I waited a minute thinking, surely… no… yep, no film… I started for the door but encountered the clerk before I got out. She said she was on her way to find out what was wrong. After a bit the trailers started again… They were rather less interesting the second time through and I kept wishing I could hit fast forward.

Right after the Lone Ranger trailer… the screen went dark once more. At this point, I was thinking I may have entirely wasted my afternoon, but gotten an insane story out of the deal!

Clerk came in and said that she had gotten someone else to look at the equipment. Wow there are two employees and as far as I’ve seen one patron…

A little time passed and finally Star Trek began! Thank you for not making me sit through the trailers yet again!

I’ll save comment at length on the film for another time, but even 45 minutes late, it was worth every second. While I was not surprised by who Benedict Cumberbatch’s character turned out to be, they told the story quite well. And there were enough unexpected twists along the way to not remotely notice that two hours had passed when the credits finally closed on my cinema experience.

I don’t know if anyone else ever showed up to watch any of the shows that started after mine, but even when I left, I only saw the clerk and one other person. What a twilight zone experience! I’m sure my ticket, popcorn, and coke did not even pay to keep the lights on, but I’ve rarely had such a novel experience so who can complain?

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