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Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer

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movies

Wait … I’m Confused

97577_galAre movies getting more confusing or am I just getting stupider? I mean, more stupid. No, stupider … more stupid. Ack! See?

I watched Oblivion the other night and couldn’t keep anything straight. My mind raced with questions as I tried to make sense of it all. Who were the good guys and who were the bad guys? Tom Cruise is fighting alien scavengers, but they appear to be human and are led by Morgan Freeman. Surely, Morgan Freeman isn’t a bad guy? I gave up trying to follow things when Tom Cruise started fighting another Tom Cruise and said his mind had been erased. When clones and memory wipes are involved, you know it’s complicated.

My question is this: when did movies become so hard to follow? I’ve come up with an answer. It’s not the movies. It’s me.

I think it’s part of the aging process, this inability to handle plot twists and turns.  I remember being younger and following (and loving) movies like Fight Club and Vanilla Sky. Movies that a majority of really smart people found mind-bending. But somewhere along the way, and God love her, but it’s happening, I’m turning into my mother. Now, more often than not, I’ll leave the theater with a ‘what the hell?’ expression on my face.

Except, Cloud Atlas. Oh, I was still thinking ‘what the hell?’, but I knew it wasn’t me. That was one confusing movie. Six different stories spanning several different cultures, various centuries and involving a wide cast of characters? I don’t care what anyone says, if someone says they got it, they’re lying. Or they read the book. Or maybe they’re a member of Mensa.

Mom and I were both hustled by American Hustle. (She must love it when I confess embarassing things on her behalf.) We loved it, of course, and followed it all until near the end, when we turned to each other to ask, “So, where did the two million go?” We got conned by the con movie. But I’m sure it was our fault, not director David O. Russell’s.

I’d blame it on my handicap, but I’m afraid that card’s all used up. In my defense though, with my vision, if something happens too fast, or the scene is too dark, or there are sub-titles, forget it. And with my poor hearing, I’ve become that annoying person in the theater whispering, “Now who is he again? I thought he was dead!?”

I think this is why I’m beginning to prefer the simple family drama. There’s nothing to follow except the family tree. That I can handle. Why, as soon as the kiss occurred in August: Osage County, I proudly whispered, “Aren’t they cousins?” (Don’t worry, that’s not really a spoiler.) I got it. I wouldn’t say I liked it (far too depressing for my taste, think family dysfunction on crack) but at least I got it.

And by the way — I think it’s stupider. Even though I’ve said ‘more stupid’ all my life. Stupider just sounds stupid. But I looked it up. And there it is in the dictionary. Stupid, stupid-er, stupid-est. Get it?

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At the Movies

I love going to the movies. My “woulda-coulda-shoulda” career choice is that of film critic. I think everyone’s allowed at least one woulda-coulda-shoulda when it comes to making a living and mine is movie reviewer.

It’s perfect when you think about it. It combines my love of movies with my passion for writing, not to mention my fondness for giving others my opinion. And I could work despite my disabilities. From home. Like Roger Ebert, who still gives his thumbs up or down after a cancer battle took away his ability to speak, eat or drink. Besides, have you read some of the reviews out there?

The only problem (and it’s a big one) is I know nothing about film. Not the history of it. Not the making of it. Just the little I recall from a film appreciation class I took in college. But I do appreciate it. Every aspect of it. From the red carpet and who’s who celebrity madness to the technique and art of telling a good story on film. Which is why I like to hit the box office around once a week, depending on what’s playing.

Becoming a disabled movie-goer has its pros and cons. First on the pro side is, of course, the parking. You would think obtaining rock star status would have calmed me some, but no. I’m even worse about getting there early. My mother and I often sit in bright, empty theaters while the ushers sweep popcorn off the floor from earlier showings.  Our own personal “First Look.”

Something my mother calls a pro that I list as a con, is the discount. It’s a little known fact that a handicapped person plus one can get in for the price of one. The “assistant” gets in free. I guess the idea is that the disabled person might have wanted to go by themselves and shouldn’t have to pay double just because they visit the restroom and need help. (Me, I avoid all liquid consumption, especially the super-sized $10 sodas.)

Unfortunately, this discount is also a little known fact to virtually every theater employee with the exception of management. I can usually be found cringing as some ticket-seller requests a manager over the sound system, much to the dismay of the people in line behind us. He or she then loudly asks if “the handicapped,” i.e. me, get a discount. It’s like being at the drugstore when some loudmouthed cashier asks for a price check on your foot fungal cream.

It’s a definite con when the handicapped seats are in the very front row. No sane person wants to watch a movie like they’re watching a game of tennis just to follow an on-screen conversation. Imagine the crick in your neck!  I won’t do it.  If I’m with two people, I’ll climb the stairs, one arm wrapped around each person’s shoulders. If there’s only two of us, I’ll “butt up” (I hope that’s self-explanatory.) Another reason to get there early and avoid subjecting fellow patrons to that.

One time I climbed, with the help of my mother and a friend. My mother brought up the wheelchair, since it fit down the aisle and we could get to “prime viewing location” (the exact middle.) In an otherwise empty theater, would you believe a couple carrying snacks galore came and sat in the row directly behind us? My mother actually turned around and said. “I’m sorry, but what exactly is the thought process here?” No response. They sat there while we moved, carrying out the whole production of me transferring back into the wheelchair. I told my mom they were probably scared to move because they thought she was a serial killer.

If all else fails and I’m stuck in the first row, I’ll ask for my money back. Price check on a handicapped refund.

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