Never take a writer to the movies
Once or twice a year, I take my phone off the hook, go ‘back home’ and go to the movies… all weekend. I catch up on movies that I haven’t seen in a while, brush up on the originals when there are sequels in the theater so that they’re fresh in my mind, but mostly I just turn off my brain for a while and visit with old friends.
It’s a good time, but this last time I also realized that I can’t just ‘turn off’ the writer side of my brain. This led to the second realization: I am probably not the best person to be sitting next to when you want to kick back and enjoy a movie.
I mean, as far back as I can remember I’ve almost always caught the major plot twists long before they were revealed. My husband and I usually figure out ‘who did it’ within the first 10 minutes of a TV show (20 of a movie). It has also led to some rather embarrassing moments. Imagine if you will a tragic scene where the heroic robot has given its life to protect it’s human friends… that moment when the majority of the audience is weeping or tense and I’m cheering because I’ve figured out the plot twist that is going to save the day/hero. It also means I sometimes giggle at inopportune moments.
This leads me to my list of suggestions that will make the movie going experience more pleasant for all involved:
- When they pick the story apart and point out all the plot holes, nod sagely and say three words to them: ‘Suspension of Disbelief.’
- When they squirm in their seats at cheesy dialog remind them: ‘Not everyone is Shakespeare’
- When they wince because they see the set-up coming a mile away, send them out for popcorn.
- When they are about to blow a gasket because something that worked earlier that would solve the problem suddenly ‘can’t be done’ or worse is simply forgotten, remind them to ‘sit back and enjoy the movie.’
- If they lampoon the story afterwards, laugh. Don’t take it personally – They probably did enjoy the movie.
- Praise them for not blurting out who did it, or what the surprise plot twist was when they had seen it coming since the second act.
- When the hero and heroine are being chased and running for their lives, and suddenly let their passion overwhelm them, thereby allowing the bad guys to catch up, just nod knowingly and say “I know, I know… it’s just a movie.”
And remember: when things are at their darkest, no one can see you cringe.
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