"Watchmen"/ Midnight Premiere

In my younger days I frequented the Midnight Premiere events that go hand-in-hand with big budget movies. I did this a couple of times in high school, several times in college, and a great many times right after I moved back to the Metroplex when I lived in an apartment that was virtually part of the Grapevine Mills Mall property. Since then these excursions have lessened in frequency to the point that, prior to yesterday, I couldn’t even remember the last Midnight Premiere I had been to.

Last week as the world prepared for the release of “Watchmen,” Jason and I began throwing around the idea of seeing it at midnight. I’m quite used to this conversation. It usually goes something like this:

Guy number 1: “Dude, we should go see that movie.”
Guy number 2, talking to girlfriend/wife/random girl he might have some level of interest in: “Do you want to see that?”
Girlfriend/Wife/Random girl: “Never in a million years.”
Guy number 2: “Ya man, we should make it a guys night.”
Guy number 1: “Dude, we should totally go see it at midnight.”
Guy number 2: “I’m in.”

Later one of the guys will reconsider this decision, then begin to waver, then drop out entirely. At this point the other guy says this is lame but is secretly happy that he doesn’t have to stay up that late and was able to save face by waiting on the first guy bailing out. I’ve been part of this conversation numerous times. This time around, however, it was different. I didn’t have to be into work at any given hour and Jason was closing. So we had at least two. Elijah jumped on board the day of the big event and Ryan was a late commitment, bringing our party to four. And so, in the name of Nerdom, we made our way to United Artist Fossil Creek 11, tickets pre-purchased and Red Bull in hand.

We arrived about an hour early because in the past, when I’ve done this sort of thing, the theater had everyone stand outside until 20 minutes before start time in a structure that usually resembles a sheep pen. To my surprise, we were one of the two small groups awaiting show time. We waited patiently, passing the time by not-so-quietly mocking one of the theater attendants who was attempting and failing to take down a sign by jumping and scaling a wall. Shortly thereafter we asked said attendant if he’d like a boost or if we could just go ahead into the theater. His response was “Sure, there’s already a bunch of people in there.” Blerg. Here we thought we were the first people in line! My first comment was, “Oh, it’s not going to smell good in there.”

I was correct.

As a group, nerds are not a great smelling people. I mean no disrespect by this. I’m a nerd myself, though a slightly lesser brand of nerd (because I like sports, too), and hopefully a bit better groomed. But let’s just be honest. The chances of a warm theater full of comic book nerds smelling like the perfume section of Dillards are pretty low. We took our seats and settled in for that awful 30 minutes before a movie in which the theater tries to entertain you with approximately 5 trivia slides that loop every 122 seconds. (Yep, we timed it.) At first we were all a bit annoyed by the group of girls sitting two rows behind us who, if not by birth date then by maturity level, were clearly not old enough to be at this movie and were jabbering incessantly.

Quickly, however, my attention was brought to something far more alarming. A young couple, somewhere in their late 20s I would guess, walked in sheepishly, carrying… wait for it… a baby! (Actually, I’m only assuming it was a baby. The subject was in a car seat, covered by a blanket. I guess it could have been a ferret or even an elaborate setup to illegally record the movie. Elijah thought it could possibly be a keg. I’m going to bet it was a baby, though.) Not only had this couple decided it was a great idea to bring a baby to what turned out to be one of the most loud, violent, and graphic films I’ve ever seen, this was, after all, a midnight showing (just in case you hadn’t picked up on that). Jason commented that he thought he was probably going to swear and I believe the majority of the theater agreed with this sentiment.

Soon after, the lights dimmed and the second stage of this adventure began. I must commend the people who chose the trailers to be shown prior to the movie, as they ran the Nerd Gamut, so to speak, with “Terminator,” “Star Trek,” and “Angels and Demons.” These only heightened the excitement in the room, which in turn, only made the smell slightly worse.

(On a side note, does anyone else remember the days when the movie theater was a cold environment? Even the most cold-inclined girl I know doesn’t feel the need to bring a jacket into the theater anymore. A cold room would have done a world of good on this night.)

Eventually, “Watchmen” began and proved itself relatively worthy of the idiotic lengths I had gone to in order to see it. Three hours later, the closing credits rolled and I made my way back to my car, fully satisfied by the movie-going experience, but perhaps a little more aware of my age. It was close to 3:45 before I made my way to bed and the 9 o’clock alarm I initially set for myself was quickly pushed back to 10. I have been paying the price all day for the war I waged against my body by keeping it out so late. I could have gone to bed at 7 this evening. But overall the experience was worthwhile, if not a much needed departure from the every day activities, and I consider myself lucky to have enough nerdy friends to make a small adventure like this possible.

Grade: B+.