Don't read any further if you plan to go to a movie this summer. I'm going to give away the ending to all of them. Stop reading NOW if you don't want to know. Here it comes. STOP!
Here's what will happen at the end of any movie you see with your spouse this summer: You will look at each other and say, "We should have waited until it came out on DVD."
It's been months since Sue and I went to a movie. We went to something around Christmas, but afterwards, we couldn't figure out why the morning and afternoon talk-show hosts had been so giddy about it. Probably because the stars of the movie had shown up on their shows to push the film.
Summertime is when the studios release the blockbusters, the cream of the crop, the best they have to offer. So we figure it's time to try again. We man up and leave the house -- braving freeway traffic, texting drivers, inconvenient timing (why do movies start at 4:40 instead of 5?), barely lit multi-story parking garages, and roving gangs of cellphone-addicted teenage mall rats -- to sit in a theater that smells of carpet cleaner, fake butter and Febreze and watch a talkie.
The couple behind us thinks no one can hear them. They are talking in an absolutely normal tone of voice, as if the rest of us are invisible and there is no one else in the theater.
"At five minutes to 5, she asks me to type this report. Can you believe it? She knew I was going out tonight, too."
"Yeah," says her partner, "you give someone a Harvard degree, a Rhodes scholarship and a Nobel Prize and they think they know everything. Where does she get off?"
In front of us, two high school kids are necking. The guy is scraping the back of her throat with his tongue stud. It looks like he's trying to reach something she had for lunch. Yesterday.
"It's right out of a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie, isn't it?" Sue says. I wonder what the proper etiquette is. Is it rude to ask another paying customer to please stop making us sick?
Finally, blessedly, the lights go down. A notice appears that this preview has been approved for all audiences. Then, in Dolbyized quadraphonic sound, we hear an agonizing human scream and see a shiny carving knife plowing through a chest. The movie we have come to see is a lighthearted romantic comedy. A filthy hand reaches into the blood-pulsing body cavity and pulls out a still-beating human heart. The hand throws the heart on the floor and a large black boot stomps it flat then kicks it away. A voice announces, "You've never seen anything like it!" Like that would be a bad thing? I've never seen a man fall into a wood chipper. That doesn't mean I want to.
Once again, the green notice: "This preview has been approved for all audiences." Then: "He's unpleasant and stupid! She's topless most of the time! Lots of body-part jokes! From the man that directed 'Straight to Cable' and the producers of 'Expensive, Celebrity-Filled Crap' comes the laugh-free comedy, 'Obscene Gesture!' It's the movie your whole middle school will be talking about!"
Will the movie we paid to watch ever start? Remind me to come 10 minutes late next time. The two in front of us finish necking and light up a joint. "Isn't this a no-smoking theater?" I ask Sue in a stage whisper.
The guy in front of us turns around and says, "They mean cigarettes, dude."
"We've really got to do this more often," I say.
"Do you mind?" says one of the women behind us. "We're trying to watch a movie here!"
"Some people are so inconsiderate," says her friend.
Even before the film we'd come to see starts, Sue says, "We should have waited for the DVD."
It spoiled the whole ending for me.
Contact Jim Mullen at JimMullenBooks.com.