Saturday, January 13, 2007

An open letter to the women who sat next to me at Babel today,

To the elderly ladies who sat to my left, you two are the exception to my rule that people over the age of 65 can do whatever the fuck they want and no one can tell them otherwise. During the entirety of this film, which, by the way, is a movie about how people fail to listen to one another and improving personal and international communications, you traded comments amongst yourselves about obvious things that were happening in the film. It doesn't matter if rifles are "the key" because a. they aren't and b. Babel is not a mystery we have to solve; it is clear from the beginning that the stories are interconnected. At one point, in what I assume is a reaction to the violence onscreen and the potential peril of several characters, one of you turned to the other and said, "I am never coming to see movies like this again." I suggest, if that's true, that you never see anything rated R ever again. If you want happiness and sunshine and puppies, why don't you go see something rated PG-13 or lower? Babel tried to make a point about violence and undue hardship being a result of people not listening to each other--something which you may have picked up on if you hadn't been constantly talking.

Also, whichever one of you was wearing the blackberry, lavender and vanilla perfume needs to stop wearing so much of it. Normally, I like that combination of scents and I have had a perfume that smelled exactly like that before, but please don't wear so much of it! I had to breathe through my sweatshirt for the majority of my Babel-watching experience! My nose is very sensitive. I can discern a variety of scents in a glass of wine. I can definitely smell your fucking perfume overload and it makes me queasy.

Oh! And then, then one of you decided to file your nails during the movie! I wanted to murder you! Can't you fucking wait to file your nails at home? Where are you from? Jersey?

And to the middle-aged woman sitting to my right, I fucking hate you. I hate everything about you. You constantly vocalized your emotions about the film, going so far as to grimace and groan loudly as Gael Garcia Bernal wrings a chicken's neck. Let me ask you now if you are a vegetarian. Because I am. And that didn't bother me at all. So please, I want you to remember that scene the next time you're eating delicious chicken wings at Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch. And maybe you will choose not to eat meat and spare chickens that neck-wringing fate. But otherwise, I also tell you not to see rated-R movies. They are rated R for violence, language and sexuality. And if you are squirmy about violence, perhaps you shouldn't spend you money on something that's going to make you so uncomfortable--and me by extension if I am unfortunate enough to sit next to you.

Also, I'd like to let you know that no matter what desperate plea you mutter to yourself, the characters can't hear you. Gael Garcia Bernal is not going to stop the car because you ask him to. The Moroccan doctor is not going to stop sewing up Cate Blanchet's wound because you're afraid of needles or think Morocco is unsanitary or what have you. It is commited to celluloid and it is not going to change because you will it to. You are experiencing abject horror. Deal with it.

So, collective horrible movie-watching ladies, please get Netflix and stay the fuck away from me.

Thank you.

Addendum, as of 16 Jan 07: I found this quote from Inarritu in an AP article about his film winning last night's Golden Globe for Best Picture, Drama that really sums up my earlier points about why Babel is definitely a movie you shouldn't talk during.
"I think the power of cinema is universal and at the end, emotion doesn't need translation and that's the beauty of it." --Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu


Drew said...

this is great. you have done a great thing. great.

Batalla said...

I really enjoyed that movie as well. As far as movie audiences go, I rank the grumpy elderly beneath gangs of teenagers and minority groups. At least the latter two find enjoyment in the film, no matter how over enthusiastic they get at times.

Bri said...

What? No one complained about it not being all in English? That's the one that really grinds my gears...
When I went to see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon way back in the day...

Ticket Guy: "You're aware that this film is not in English, correct?"
Me: "Umm... yeah. It's only the biggest Mandarin-language import EVER."
Ticket Guy: "Sorry. My boss makes me ask now since so many people have demanded their money back because it's not in English."

People, man.

Drew said...

me, at a screening of "the ring."

a cell phone rings. "hey what's up. naw, i'm in a moo-vee. yeah, there's some white chick in a VHS. huh? a VHS. huh? a VHS. ya know -- like they had before dee-vee-dee. oh, ah dunno. tacos would be good."

w.pham said...

babel was probably the most intense movie-going experience i've had in the past year. i felt like i had been punched in the gut when i walked out of the theater, and i owe at least part of that to the relative silence of the audience.