Lessons from The Hunger Games

Last Thursday night I spent an hour or so standing in line with two or three thousand other people waiting to see a midnight showing of The Hunger Games.  Here’s what I learned.

1.  Ask the Right Questions

When you show up for the midnight showing of a new release and there is a line wrapped around the building, be careful what you ask the teenage girl in the ticket booth.

“Yeah, I’m here to see The Hunger Games.  Where do I go?”

“You know that big line of people you just walked through?  Okay, the end of that.”

I’m not sure what I was thinking on this one.  Could this many 14-year-olds be standing in line in the middle of the night dressed like characters from, get this, The Hunger Games, so they could see The Three Stooges?  Next time I’m just walking to the end of the line.  If it’s the wrong one, I’ll live.

2.  People are Still Rich

The economy is bad.  Real bad.  But even still, we all have enough money to see movies.  Some even have enough money to dress like their favorite characters from the movie.  By some, I don’t mean third graders.  No, I’m talking about 20-year-old men and women.  Whose idea was this?  When I was a kid and I saw Return of the Jedi in the theater, it never crossed my mind to dress up like Luke Skywalker or a frozen Han Solo.  I would have been beaten.  But now grown men and women can do this?  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  After all, this is the society where it’s okay to wear your pajamas out in public.

In any event, if you’re out of work, you should seriously think about opening up a movie theater or a costume shop.  You may even want to think about doing both.  You could put the costume shop right next to your theater.  But hurry.  The new Twilight movie is coming out soon and you’ll want to be up and running for all of those movie goers that have the audacity to show up to the cineplex without their white make up and vampire teeth.

3.  Digital is Overrated

We all learned this lesson 30 minutes into the movie when the screen started freezing up like you were trying to watch You Tube videos on your old Texas Instruments computer from back in the day.  You know, the one with the green screen.  The people in the theater with me haven’t been this mad since Futurama got cancelled.  There was almost a riot.  I can’t prove it but I’m pretty sure somebody threw a Geometry book at the screen.

The manager came in and looked like he was about to have a stroke.  You can imagine why.  This was his Super Bowl and it’s like he forgot to reserve the stadium.  He took the time to inform us that he made the switch to digital a few months back and hasn’t had any problems.  Well, until tonight that is.

I can’t help but think back to all of those film strips I had to watch in school.  You know the ones with titles like Blood on the Highway and Puberty: The New You.  At some point the film would always fall off the reel and the teacher would spend the next 15 minutes trying to fix it.  We’ve come a long way since film strips.  Well, maybe not.

4.  Audio Commentary on the Cheap

When movies are released on DVD they always come with special bonus features.  One of those features is usually the director and a few of the actors talking about the movie during the movie.  I never watch these because talking during the movie is annoying, even if the person doing the talking is the one who helped make the movie.

When The Hunger Games comes out on DVD, the studio can save whatever it costs to pay the actors for their commentary and just use the lady that was sitting behind me instead.

“Mmmmm.  He is fine.”

“Why did she just do that?”

“Did you do your homework for tomorrow?”

Talking during a movie is low.  But talking during a movie about things that don’t even pertain to the movie is a new kind of low.

I tried to non-verbally communicate my annoyance to this girl in as kind a way as I knew how.  It didn’t work out so well.  Next time, I’m just throwing a Milk Dud at her.  That’s still non-verbal.

5.  They Left Something Out

Any time a popular book is made into a movie, the following conversation always takes place.

“Oh my gosh.  They left out half the book.”

“Wait, The Lord of the Rings was a book?  When’s the dude going to write another one?”

Okay, maybe not exactly like that but you get my drift.  Half of the people are just along for the ride.  They want to see the movie because that’s where the buzz is.  And then the other half read the book religiously and think they could have written it better.  They even used a red pen to correct mistakes in their copy.  This means that half of the people leave the movie really happy and the other half leave feeling like their favorite cult leader just got busted on fraud charges.

If there’s one overall lesson that my Hunger Games experience has taught me, it’s this.  Netflix has really spoiled me.