The Anatomy of an Audience

When Husband and I went to the 3:30 am showing of “Dark Knight Rises” opening day, we were fairly certain we would run into at least one or two odd characters there; after all, what sort of people actually even WENT to 3:30 am showings? We figured there would be people in homemade costumes, the types of people who knew more about Batman than the masked man himself, so we prepared ourselves for all the weirdness that may ensue.

As it turned out, things were perfectly fine. And, in Utah at least, the types of people who go to a 3:30 am showing of a movie are a whole lot like us; they couldn’t get decent seats any other time but felt this innate need to catch said movie during opening week, on an IMAX screen, in a theatre that had reserved seating. You know, the particular types.

Image courtesy of
I see today at 6:15 pm is a pretty good time to check out the movie in case you haven’t yet

What we did not anticipate were any sort of audience oddities when we decided, on a whim, to see “The Avengers” (yeah, I know, I know, we’re such losers for not seeing it when it first came out) on a Saturday around 11:30 am.

And yet.

To tell you the truth, I think my subconscious began to realize something was up during perhaps even the previews, but what occurred was so out there that I don’t think I really got a clue till about 30 minutes into the movie. Because what I’m about to tell you is seriously so weird, guys. Since the movie had been out for the entire summer already, and all my friends and coworkers had seen it once, if not twice, indicating we were the last few losers in the country, the audience was pretty sparse. But during a particularly quiet part in the movie, I realized there was a very distinct clipping noise coming from the gentleman t0 our right.

clip clip

clip clip clip

clip clip

And when I turned to Husband to say, “Is someone actually clipping their (okay — I know, this is really grammatically incorrect, but seriously guys I was in a movie and I was DISTRACTED, okay) nails right now?” I saw out of the corner of my eye the gentleman, to our right, clipping his fingernails — and here’s the really wild part — without taking his eyes off the movie screen. Not once.

As a particularly compulsive individual, I thought I’d give the guy a break — perhaps his fingernails were freakishly long and his wife forced him, at gunpoint, to go to the movie with her RIGHT THEN, causing him to leave home without having time to clip them down. I mean, it’s possible.

My favorite quote from a really wonderful movie: “It’s possible. It’s possible we’ll find your husband neck-deep in potpourri investing things.” – Shall We Dance

But after about 45 minutes (or perhaps even an hour or an hour and a half) of him alternating between clipping his nails and then cleaning them out and then — this is horrifying — cleaning out his teeth with his clippers, something had to give, people. I am curious as to how long his nails really were, seeing as they kept him ocupado during a fairly lengthy period of time, proving my original assessment of “Well, he’ll run out of nails at some point” completely wrong.

Photo courtesy of

I didn’t really want to see, though.

So, children, the moral of the story is: don’t be worried about the 3:30 am screenings. Be worried about those middle of the day screenings because you just don’t know who in the heck is going to show up. But it’s probably going to be pretty good. And by good I mean awful.




I am pleased to report that when I very calmly said, during another quiet part during the movie, “Please stop” that he did, in fact, cease and desist. But then I cursed myself for not asking sooner — had I KNOWN it were so easy …


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