“Well the couple in the corner
Been goin' at it all night long
Man in the back puttin' bets out on the phone
And i ain't got nowhere to be
Ain't nobody waitin' at home for me
And there's nothin' lonelier than
Midnight at the movies again” – Justin Townes Earle “Midnight at the Movies”
For me, midnight showings have long since fallen by the wayside. The last midnight showing I attended was Batman: The Dark Knight at an AMC theater in Buffalo. It was at the end of my first semester and I had already begun to unravel a bit. My anxiety issues were slowly reaching critical mass and, admittedly, sitting in a small, sold-out movie theater was not one of my smarter decisions. That may have added to my miserable memories of that night out, but I’m pretty sure it was the atmosphere that truly sucked the enjoyment of midnight showings completely out of me.
It used to be (or at least as I remember it as a wide-eyed, young film addict) an event for fans that genuinely cared about the film being shown. It has since been replaced with an annoying novelty factor that brings out the most irritating denizens of society. The teenagers who simply want a reason to be out late (everyone else be damned!), the patrons who simply want the “brag factor” of being one of the first to see the film, the born-again film critics who use everyone around them as a willing (unwilling) audience, the play-by-play audio commentators, and the token PDA couple (who always seem to find the row in front of or behind me: behind me is worse because all I can do is hear them sucking face while hoping that all they are doing is sucking face).
Amanda used to say I suffered from grumpy old man syndrome. She never liked movies much and thought the idea of sitting next to a bunch of Hollister cologne soaked hormonal adolescents was more frightening than the possibility of a Stephenie Meyer/Nicholas Sparks mash-up. She preferred cuddling on the couch with a good book and reading into the wee hours of the morning until the sun began to peak from behind the bare limbs of the large oak outside our apartment window. As our time together progressed, I found it hard to argue with her. I also found it increasingly difficult to care about midnight showings. I began to hit up the early matinees instead. This only further proved that I was in fact suffering from grumpy old man syndrome, but as I traversed my twenties I noticed a steady decline in my desire to stay up past 10:00pm. I am truly an old man in a young man’s body, which I prefer over the reverse.
Since moving back to South Carolina, my aversion toward midnight showings has stabilized if not increased slightly. I’m still much more willing to get up early, ready myself for the outside world, and book it to the movie theater for a pre-lunch showing the day after the movie’s release. Unless you encounter some really obnoxious older folks (who, I have found, are nearly as lacking in proper movie theater etiquette as most teenagers/frat boys/etc.) you are almost always guaranteed a peaceful movie-going experience. Midnight at the movies is not where you will find this guy.