Monday, October 26, 2009

FandomFluff: At the Movies

At the Movies

Hoosier Mama

December 19, 2001: I’m standing in line at our favorite theater for the midnight showing of LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring. People are smug, arrogant…rude even. I wonder how many of these people have read Tolkien. Probably most of them since the air is thick with pretentiousness. I don’t care. I can hold my own; I’ve been a Middle-earth fan for decades. Hmmm…does that thought make me pretentious?

A friend of mine finally arrives at the theater. I see him standing alone and wave him over to join us in line. I am told by the people behind me that no “cutting” in line is allowed. I point out that I’ll be saving him a seat when we get inside the theater anyway, so why not let him wait with our little group? “No.” The two orcs behind me stand firm. Whatever. I’ve been anticipating this movie since I read the books twenty years ago, and thanks to the asinine behavior of the people around me, I’m in a crabby mood, the two hour wait is unpleasant instead of exciting, and I catch myself wondering if it’s all worth missing three hours of sleep over.

Flash forward to November 21, 2008: Same theater, same time of day, different book, and, thankfully, completely different attitude.

We excitedly arrived before 10:00 pm to find the theater lobby completely devoid of life. My daughter and her three friends looked at me accusingly. Evidently my anticipation was greater than everyone else in town. Embarrassed, I gave the girls money to get coffee next door at Panera while I took a seat on a bench by the restrooms, the guy behind the popcorn counter smirking at me the whole time.

When they returned, a line had officially formed: a girl and guy from the university were thankfully first, and then…me. My girls sat around me; grins and high-pitched voices betrayed their caffeinated excitement while the line slowly grew.

For the next two hours we killed time. We played the dice game Zilch. We ate overpriced popcorn and candy. We giggled at cell phone-generated photos. We played Euchre. (Everyone in Indiana plays Euchre. You’re not allowed to live here unless you know the difference between a left and right bower.) And we traded Twilight stories with those around us; everyone we spoke to was there because of their love of the books. The university guy in front of us read the series because of his sisters, and was jazzed to be seeing the movie an hour ahead of his family back home in Texas. I convinced him that calling his sisters one hour into the movie to gloat over this fact was not a good idea.

The two women behind us wore Twilight Mom’s shirts. They sheepishly confessed their greater love for the boy wizard, but we forgave them this character flaw, all of us having been fans of HP as well. One of the girls actually got a re-occurring babysitting gig from one of the two moms she met that night.

We shared what we knew about the movie. We debated our favorite scenes from the books, what we were looking forward to seeing in future movies and we rambled on about the actors. And we discussed Edward…always Edward.

I quickly realized that we weren’t just killing time; we were…having fun. A feeling of fellowship was rampant; people were friendly and excited to be there. Everyone wanted the movie to be good; it was definitely a home team crowd, cheering everything right with the film while ignoring the bad.

I saw the movie at least 6 more times in the theater, but the best viewing experience by far was that first time in a packed theater full of excited, devoted, like-minded fans. Will the midnight showing of New Moon be the same magical experience? I hope so. If you happen to be in a theater in small-town Indiana on November 19th and see a lady wearing a Hydraulic Level 5 t-shirt, eating Milk Duds, sitting on the floor having a blast, stop by and say hi.

Often, when people around me ridicule the Twilight fandom, I think about my different experiences at the midnight showings of these two movies. I compare the fun-loving joy and camaraderie of the Twi-fans with the stick-up-their-butt arrogance of the LOTR crowd. I think about that guy from Texas, the Twilight Moms behind us, and our little group playing games, happily anticipating our squeals of delight, enjoying our time together on the messy carpeting of our local theater.

Honestly, which group would you rather be associated with?

This has been a Fandom Fluffy Moment brought to you by
Hoosier Mama


  1. aaahhhh. This makes me happy and even more excited to wear my Team Edward T-Shirt at the NM midnight showing.

    .....and, once again, I'm shown that LOTR sucks salty orc-balls.

  2. I had a very similar experience with both LotR and Twilight. This was great to hear, bb. Some weird stuff has been going on in the fandom, so this was a much-needed reminder of the good. Thank you!

  3. what a great article! yeah, i can totally relate. My RL friends and i just call all this 'having fun' and just eat the whole thing up.

    I'm sending them this now!

    thanks for writing!

  4. I am so excited for this midnight showing! I had the same awesomely fun experience at the Twilight one and hopefully it will be more of the same! I'll be there with bells on! Or, uh, more likely a Team Edward tee shirt!

  5. Lol i lovingly disagree. I watched LOTR's in Zimbabwe & I swear ppl were so excited to get into the cinema. They were actually cheering in the movie at the exciting parts & were so enthusiastic throughout the screening. It was an electric atmosphere. I'm now in New Zealand & not one of my friends is interested in coming to see new moon (although I have to say when I went to twilight the atmosphere was also electric) We're getting new moon at midnight on the 18th & I'm already planning my 3hr wait to get in *grin* & yes I will be wearing my "I'm with the vampires" shirt! :)

  6. I love the Twi fandom, I really do. If I could completely blow off my RL and roll around in Twific and images of Rob and awesome fandom buddies, I would.

    But I gotta stick up for LOTR. That fandom has been around for a pretty long time. It's bound to breed a certain level of pretentiousness. If Twilight is going through a remake in twenty years and some huge bucks have been spent on, you know, real sparkles, I'm pretty sure that a lot of us will be standing in line probs being all pretentious, too.

    I wonder if people would wear wolf suits?

  7. Frenchbeanz...I also love LOTR. In fact I saw the first movie in the theater more often than I saw Twilight. What I wrote above was just my unfortunate experience at that first midnight showing. I would never compare Tolkien to Meyer or compare the two movies themselves. I was only comparing that two-hour wait in the theater lobby.

    I wonder who they'll cast as Edward in that remake?

    Hoosier Mama

  8. I have no idea? It'd have to be someone that's currently an itty bitty toddler. Someone we can bet on being a looker... I'm thinking Knox Jolie-Pitt. lol. You watch, we'll be standing in line, wearing faded and holey HL5/TLYDF shirts, pffting about how RPattz was so much better :)

    There's a good chance that I'll be a Nanna in twenty years time, which creates another problem. TwiNans? TwiGrannies? Nonnacougar?

  9. Frenchbeanz: You crack me up girl! Stop! My Spleen! Oh my...

    Tell you what. In twenty years when the remake comes out, you and I will go to the midnight showing together. We'll tell all those young whippersnappers in line what it was like "in our day" and how much better Robert Pattinson was as Edward compared to Mr. Jolie-Pitt.

    Of course, I'm not sure they'll let us out of the home for a midnight showing...

  10. guys are cracking me up. *Grin* Hope I can join you at the remake, lol :P

  11. I'm so there. We can all wear "Team Robward" hats :)

  12. I loved this. Edward then Rob brought us together, but we have kept each other here!

  13. You are making me even more excited for New Moon at Midnight!

    Your story made me laugh- at our suburban theater there were probably less than 30 people for the midnight showing in a theater that seats maybe 300!! I had bought my tickets the week before (ok, I had tried to buy them even Before then, but the teen at the box office had no idea...)

    ANyway, Emmett & one of the Volturi members will be at our theater that weekend (its very close to OHare airport- A quick entry & exit??) so this time I am expecting chaos! (though I hope not for the midnight show- I just want to enjoy the film)
    ANyway thanks for bringing back the memories & ramping up the excitement! Enjoy the show!


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