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Midnight Madness

July 18, 2008 - Wes Burns
So, who's going to "Mama Mia" this weekend?

I didn't think so.

I kind of feel sorry for the movie. Not for the actors in the movie; if Merryl Streep can survive "The River Wild" I think she'll be fine. And definitely not for ABBA. Music like ABBA is why Sweden became a haven for death metal.

The reason I feel sorry for "Mama Mia" is because it is opening this weekend, today in fact. Have you heard about any other movies opening this weekend? What's that? Batman, you say?

That's right folks, "The Dark Knight" opens today and as a card carrying geek for over twelve years now I have been excited about this movie since the ending of "Batman Begins".

I was so excited to see the movie that I even came to the city of my old alma matter (read: Ames) to catch the midnight show on Thursday night. I like the new theaters in Marshalltown quite a bit but Dark Knight was something that I wanted to see on the biggest screen possible.

Being the astute observer of popular culture that I am I ascertained that this movie was probably going to have a lot of people in attendance. A quick check online calmed me down: the theater was having a mid-night show on three screens. There is no way that three screens are going to sell out for a midnight show.

Returning to Marshalltown after living in Ames one notices the subtle, but present, differences between the two. Perhaps the major difference between the two, other than the college, the population and the fact that you can get great Chinese food in Ames, is that people in Ames don't go to bed at 10 pm.

Three screens. Midnight show. Sold out.

I didn't see that coming. Maybe I should have; after all it is a popular franchise and a lot of people are talking posthumous Oscar for Heath Ledger as the Joker. Popular, well acted movie with a phenomenal director at the helm? There's no way that movie will sell out three theaters.

As I said above there is a certain pride in being a geek. Sure, most people don't recognize it but the other geeks know. They know the pride of being able to reenact each character's chicken impression from Arrested Development, or know all the words to the theme song from Red Dwarf. Its insular and kind of sad but there is no way you're going to tell me that catching all the David Bowie references in Venture Brothers doesn't come with an air of superiority.

This is why I'm frustrated that I was unable to catch the midnight show for Dark Knight. The midnight movie is a time honored geek tradition. The midnight show is where you see people dressed up like the characters, or huddled groups in heated discussion about the inaccuracies between the movie and the comic books; the midnight show is where half the audience is drunk and the other half is telling them to keep quiet during the dramatic scenes.

I'm sorry to say that I missed the midnight show. And I understand that Marshalltown had a midnight show and that I would have been able to go to that. I've told myself that quite a few times already. But I am going tonight; the ticket is already in my pocket. So for those of you that did see the midnight show and happen to see me today before the movie: do not talk to me.

Unless, of course, its about Mama Mia.


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