The other night Mr. Stapler and I went to be part of another test screening audience for a movie. It's not so much the savings of $19 bucks that draws us in, because you more than pay for it in inconvenience (line up! fill out this form! Answer our probing questions! Line up some more! Get searched! Show us your cell phone! Sit in the theater for 45 minutes! Fill out another form!) but the chance to see movies before everyone else so we can gloat around all our co-workers the next day.
We saw "Night at the Museum," Ben Stiller's new comedy, which I suspect will be a December release if they get the special effects done in time.
The premise is that Ben is kind of a loser, a dreamer, divorced dad with a kid. He takes a desperation job as a night watchman at a Natural History museum. At night, all of the exhibits (lions, monkeys, Sacajawea) come alive. Comedy ensues.
Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney have hilarious small parts as retiring night guards. Rooney is tiny and red-faced and fierce, yelling things like "Outa my way, buttercup" at Stiller.
Owen Wilson plays a tiny (4 inch tall) cowboy from a diorama with his usual dry, surfer-dude persona. Robin Williams plays Teddy Roosevelt and hands out wise advice to the perpetually-confused Stiller.
It'll be one of those pleasant holiday-time diversions that the whole family can see and chuckle at and go home happy. I will venture to say that 9-year-old boys will fall on the floor laughing at it.
What did I think of it? That's hard to say. I'm not a big germ-phobe when it comes to bathrooms or door handles or food, but I hate to be around people who are actively spewing cold germs.
A woman in the row behind me and about three seats over in a PACKED theater (not one empty seat) was in the middle of a full-blown cold or flu. She coughed, sneezed, and blew her nose for the 3 hours we were locked down in this place.
I was so tense I could feel the cords of my neck muscles standing out. I wanted to rip her face off, but I settled with giving her my nastiest looks every now and then. What on earth would possess someone to go to a crowded movie while sick? I'll cut sick people slack if they are standing in a grocery store line clutching Nyquil, tea bags and canned soup, but THE MOVIES? Please.
So I don't feel like I really saw the movie, since I was so busy being paranoid and angry. Maybe I will catch it on DVD.