By Matt Collins
Surprisingly sober I purchased my $17 IMAX super special High-Frame-Rate ticket to the Hobbit; a full-fledged movie adaptation of a book I’ve bragged about reading but never truly understood and at times fear. It was a decent line to get into the theater considering the 3:50 p.m. weekday afternoon showing I had decided to attend but in hindsight I should have seen it coming, being the holiday season and all. Broken-walleted fathers stood with their families wearing the stoic expression of a jailhouse prison guard shanker, hands still warm with blood. I had come to the movie alone, because… reasons.
I sat in the back row in order to hide my bald spot, and an ogre of a man sat with his brood just a couple chairs from me. The plan to hide my hairline was working perfectly. The ogre seemed nice enough of a Harley leather-clad monster, apart from his flippant use of the three-letter F word as if it were a sentence from the Hell’s High Court. At one point he remarked that if there were a fire in the theater those of us in the top row would certainly be killed. I interjected myself into the conversation and pointed out the fire exit behind us, and assured him I would push him over the balcony before he had a chance to use it. This made him laugh, which in turn made me feel better about how deadly serious I was.
The Son of Anarchy mentioned that he’d never seen a 3D movie before— I assume he wouldn’t have waited so long if Duck Dynasty was shown in all three dimensions. The previews started and this guy is just in awe of the 3D experience, as if in the presence of God or the bass player for .38 Special. This Easy Rider, sitting gaped-jawed, slurred words of pure amazement like, “oh wow” and “oooohhh wow”. It was like watching a baby take it’s first bite of watermelon, you just feel jealous.
15 minutes into the three-hour movie the fellow begins with a fit of the wettest, loudest smoker’s coughs I’ve ever heard. It was like his lungs were boiling spaghetti. He must have been quite exhausted from all the coughing because 45 minutes into the movie he fell asleep, and as luck should have it, the poor bastard suffers from sleep apnea. So in between sawing logs like Noah in the very hilarious, very famous Bill Cosby bit (look it up, kids) he completely stops breathing, forcing his family to shake him awake. He snaps awake but with this being his first time experiencing Middle Earth in all three of it’s glorious dimensions he’s goes right back into “oh, wow” mode. After a couple minutes the actual content of The Hobbit puts him right back to sleep, and so the cycle begins anew. Falling asleep, snoring, stops breathing, shaken awake, brain melts with visions of mountain monsters and Goblin Kings, gets bored and falls back to sleep.
Being the dynamic man-of-action that I am it only took me two hours to work up the courage/self respect to move seats. I may have not wanted to leave my warm, comfy chair but forces beyond my control sent me on an unexpected journey of my own. I’ve never felt closer to that little Hobbit.