Saturday, June 03, 2006

I saw the movie Over the Hedge today. I was alone. With every passing day I feel that the business of molesting children is lying more and more in my future. The movie was a stinky bucket of turtle urine, and I still felt like a pervert when I exited the theater by myself behind a family of four with two young boys. I’m sure the mother gave the two kids a good talking-to in the car about staying away from people like me if they ever see one hanging around the local pool with their trousers down or waiting in the trunk of their car wearing nothing but an uneasy smile.

But back to the movie. I would rate it two smelly, Wanda Sykes-voiced animated skunk poots out of a possible five. In retrospect, I’m not exactly sure what convinced me to see it in the first place. Consider its plot:

“A scheming raccoon fools a mismatched family of forest creatures into helping him repay a debt of food, by invading the new suburban sprawl that popped up while they were hibernating...and learns a lesson about family himself.”

I don’t know what it was about that story that made me say, “Well that deserves 650 of my pennies and 83 of my minutes.” Maybe I wanted to witness the heartwarming character arc of RJ the raccoon learning a lesson about himself, but that was about as predictable and engrossing as an episode of That’s So Raven. Perhaps it was the shallow social commentary on immigration, but that was almost as boring as VH1. Yes, the entire channel. After sitting for about 20 minutes in the awkward theater, I started to wonder if the movie was even supposed to be a comedy. It seemed like all four members of the “Blue Collar Comedy Circus” had one of their traditional down-South inbreeding sessions and the greasy, smoky, morbidly obese offspring they produced wrote this sad, humorless movie.

Apparently the movie hit right-on with its target audience, as the young girl seated behind me was quick to comment, “That’s a turtle!” when, you guessed it, and turtle appeared on screen. I almost turned around to give her a sarcastic high-five and congratulated her immense knowledge of the animal kingdom before I realized that children under the age of three likely don’t understand the art of sarcasm, let alone the high-five. So I sat there, staring at the screen, waiting for something humorous to happen. It didn’t. Instead, I was repeatedly slapped in the face like the baseball coach's kid who sucks with children’s movie clich├ęs, such as evil humans, a fast-talking character who is obviously under the influence of several illegal narcotics, and the ever popular fart. In fact, many farts. I suppose that because one of the main characters was a skunk, the writer (his name is Larry The Asstard, and the resemblance to his fathers is uncanny) figured he needed to fill some sort of a “Fart-Per-Minute” quota. Considering the movie only ran for a little over an hour (those children have an attention span only slightly higher than the an MTV viewer), Larry did a fantastic job of cramming in enough fart jokes to make the parents of the young audience horrifically beat their kids after the ride home includes 25 minutes of hand-to-mouth farting in imitation of “Stella the skunk”.

When the movie was over, I sat silently in the theater while the credits rolled and all of the happy families filed out around me. One group of at least one child (the turtle fan, as mentioned previously) and one mother stayed around for the credits with me. They were seated directly behind me, and after some consideration I don’t think they were watching the credits, but I think they were watching me. Watching as in, “I’m going to try and silently text message my husband now because there is a strange person sitting in front of me and my child and I think he may have both his hands and mind down someone’s pants and I think he might try to follow me home and steal my child.” When I realized that I was being watched, I felt even more awkward than I had before and quickly made the decision to leave. So I rose from my chair and walked out, but when I got to the door I was greeted by three movie theater employees who had their brooms ready to go sweep slimy baby poop off the seats. I did my best to avoid eye contact with them, and prayed they wouldn’t notice my erection. Swiftly I exited the theater by means of the side door, surely being followed by a gallery of the creeped-out eyes of parents and sweepers alike.

I had nothing better to do after seeing the nasty deer scat quality film, so I set my sights on Mr. Barnes and Mr. Nobel’s Wonderfully Wacky World of Books. Everything was going fine at first; all five of my eyes and legs were working. I browsed here and I browsed there, even finding myself in their DVD department, where a movie will cost you $460 plus a kidney and testicle. After looking at the overpriced goods with no intention of purchasing anything, I left that section of the store and headed for the section that has shelves of paper covered in words printed in black ink and miniature font. Specifically, I went to visually digest (again, with no intention of spending any money) the graphic novel section. No, not comic books. Graphic novels. There’s a huge difference. If you don’t believe me, I’ll go to your house, call you into the street, get a rowdy crowd going, and have a heated discussion with you on the matter. Anyways, I wasn’t alone in my browsing. There were two people standing in front of the tall shelves; one a man, the other a wo-man. They were both black (but not the pitch-black variety, more of a cinnamon flavor), and they were both rather large. Now, I expected someone browsing this section of the store to be rather large, but the other descriptor was a startling surprise. So I silently looked at the things on the shelves, all while these two were having some sort of incredibly awkward (and equally pointless) argument. I’ll try my best to paraphrase the exchange.

“So you’re saying I don’t like music?” Queen Latifah confidently asked.

“No…” Al Roker responded with a sigh as he kept his eyes focused on the spines of the collections held on the shelves.

“Well then, what?” Latifah wasn’t ready to let this go.

“When people think of Best Buy, they think of computers and TVs.” Al replied.

“Who does?” The monarch said, becoming defensive. “Best Buy is a CD store. Where else do you buy CDs? I guess Circuit City, but c’mon. When people think of buying a CD, they go to Best Buy.”

“You think they make their money on CDs?” The jolly weatherman was now taking an active interest in the discussion. I was listening quite closely (and obviously), while trying to remain hidden by staring at the books. “What happens when you’re in there? They try to sell you computers and TVs.”

I was voicing my own opinions on the matter in my head, and I was siding with the portly fellow. Queen persisted, “Yeah, but nobody says, ‘I want a refrigerator, I’ll go to best Buy.’” My right eyebrow automatically squinted in a “What are you talking about?” fashion, and I think the couple may have noticed. Suddenly I was thrust into the center of the storm.

“Excuse me,” Ms. Brown Sugar asked, looking at me, “What do you think of when you hear ‘Best Buy’?”

“Actually I’m on his side,” I said while pointing at the enormous gentleman. When I was looking at him, I realized what I good decision I had made. If I disagreed with him I was likely to be deep fried and eaten or punted across the store like a baby.

The man smiled and laughed, and I felt an odd sensation of bonding with this stranger. “Exactly,” he said.

But the lady wasn’t done yet. “So when someone gives you a gift card to Best Buy, you think, ‘I’ll buy a refrigerator’?”

I was tempted to reply, “Ma’am, if you hadn’t noticed yet, I’m not exactly of ‘refrigerator-purchasing age’. And who the hell would give me an $800 gift card?”, but I didn’t. Her delicious southern sass was beginning to shine, and I was starting to become scared that she was going to hit me in the face with a frying pan.

“Well, then I’d use it on a CD or DVD. I guess it’s both. I mean you can buy the refrigerator or a CD there.” After reading that, I think I’m going to call Best Buy in the morning and demand at least $400 for my spectacular advertisement.

The man wore a large watermelon-like smile and laughed when saying, “Right, right.”

Her majesty also nodded in agreement when saying “Yeah.” She quickly uttered some sort of a thank-you as the two of them left. I felt good knowing that I had both settled their petty argument and prevented the large man from beating his girlfriend that evening.

Comments are welcome.