Tales of a Thirteen-Grade Nothing III: Stay out of Midtown

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In which freshman correspondent Dan D’Addario explains the perils of (gasp!) leaving campus to watch a movie at Midtown.

On a recent Sunday night, I decided to indulge a strange passion of mine – going alone to the movies. I think I decided this was a great idea when I read a New Yorker essay a few years back by one of the literary Jonathans in Brooklyn entitled “Alone at the Movies.” Going alone to the movies is more than just socially awkward and weird; it’s both an act of rebellion and a means of more fully experiencing the film through one’s own eyes. I’m going to assume, though, that Jonathan Franzen / Ames / Lethem / Safran Foer did not go to the 8:35 showing of Little Children at the AMC Lincoln Square.

The Lincoln Square itself is a great theater. The seats are roomy, the bag-searching policy is lax enough to provide for cheap Raisinets to be munched at pivotal plot points, and the random displays of costumes from films from the late eighties and early nineties will make you think you’re at the Planet Hollywood in Omaha. Indeed, it’s what a movie theater should be.

However, one disadvantage to physically going to see a movie as opposed to getting a bootleg of reasonable quality is the ambient noise. When I saw Little Children, this ambient noise took the form of a large thirtyish man, holding a laptop in his lap while juggling popcorn, Sour Patch Kids, and a large Coke. We’ll call him “Louis.”

Louis: “So, what’s this movie about?”

Dan: “Um, it’s about the suburbs.”

Louis: “Wow, that sounds boring. Hoo-wee! Bor-ING!”

Dan: “…Why’d you pay for it?”

Louis: “Well, it was the only thing playing at this time. And I wanted to go to the movies at 8:30. You see, I’m a screenwriter. My movie’s coming out next year. It’s about… well, it’s a biography. Of a man called Reginald. You probably don’t know who he is.”

The trailers started, blessedly, and I thought they’d cut Louis off. (Though I was sad he’d distracted me from “Screen Scramblers” – who’d have guessed “Ujlia Orberst” was “Julia Roberts”?!). But he kept talking through the trailers, and then talked through the movie. He questioned every action Kate Winslet made (“She needs to take better care of her KID. You know?”), and shouted “What the FUCK!” during her sex scene… to me. I was expected to respond in kind, and after a certain point, polite half-nods weren’t doing the trick.

“Would you please… quiet down? I’m trying to watch the movie.” Our bond had been broken. After the movie had ended, I ran out. I actually ran the two blocks to the subway stop, for fear Louis had been following me with more intelligent critique of Todd Field’s directing at 120 decibels.

The moral of this story? Only weird people go to Midtown to see a movie. Next time, I’m going to the Magic Johnson. Unless I decide to brave midtown to go to the Lincoln Plaza – I’m guessing that there aren’t many chatty people at an art theater. Maybe they’ll screen Louis’s biopic of Reginald there; surely it’ll have some good dialogue.

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  1. um...  

    one could get more midtown for a movie than lincoln square - times square? yeah? I mean... this freshman could also go all the way downtown, too. with all of his involvement in the various campus publications, I'm a bit shocked that he hasn't found an upperclassman to instruct him about these things.

  2. this post  

    was idiotic, filler at best.
    just sayin.
    quickspec, anyone?

  3. london calling

    i don't understand the point of this post. idiot student goes all the way to scary scary upper west side (...certainly not midtown) lincoln square cinema and finds herself near a moron while trying to watch the show. and we're supposed to believe this is somehow related to the cinema. which is alien to students as it exists outside of the protective iron gates.

    fake edit: this post was made be a he? wow. i'm speechless. abosolutely speechless. idiot probably paid full price forgetting the $5 student discount.

  4. hey  

    i liked it, dan. and the brooklyn jonathans need to form a bowling team.

  5. what the hell

    is everyone's problem with going around the city? I don't understand the fear -- that you'll get lost? that a big bad new yorker will mug your scrawny ass? that you might have to risk food poisoning by eating from a street cart? I don't understand how such ignorant people make it past Columbia's what..12% acceptance rate? Just how witless are the 88% of the population that DON'T make it in?

  6. Literary Jonathans

    Jeez you guys, trying to ape the whole Brooklyn vibe is just gonna fuck you in the end. Do yourself a favor: Keep it to Columbia, pretend all the shit you're trying to inculcate yourself into doesn't exist.

  7. Anonymous  

    Didn't anyone understand that this post was sarcastic? It's a parody on freshmen... and quite funny. All of you people asking yourself whether the writer of this is witless might want to point your fingers in the opposite direction. I don't even know who this writer is and it was obvious to me that he was making fun of himself...

  8. Muze

    Muse, obviously you're the writer... Just chill out, write about Columbia. Anything else is done better by other people...

  9. Dan  

    Actually, I was the writer, not Muse...

  10. Muze

    Point still stands, Dan. This shit sucks, go back to what you do best. you do it well

  11. Jose  

    What the fuck does "Keep it Columbia" mean? Some of us couldn't keep it Columbia if we tried. Speak for yourself. There's a whole city out there worth exploring and people willing to do it so don't pretend everyone is like you.

    • Gothamist

      That's what sites like Gothamist are for. People read Bwog for the inside scoop on Columbia. If you deviate, your stuff is going to suck. Compare Bwogs posts on Columbia stuff to stuff outside of columbia and see if you agree with me.

  12. Kean  

    Comments have been particularly bitchy here lately...midterm stress?

  13. CML

    It's depressingly easy to be mean on the internet because of the anonymity. Just ignore it. Or really, compulsory registration with UNIs would be best.


  14. well  

    CML, compulsory registration with UNIs will kill bwog's popularity, though the site's sluggishness recently may have already done that.

  15. Dan  

    Not that this will dissuade anyone's criticism, but I know for a fact that there is no student discount at Lincoln Square OR Lincoln Plaza. I know because I asked for the discount at both theaters.

  16. sorry to disappoint!

    Students get $7 tickets, a $4 discount, at all AMC and UA screenings by purchasing passes in advance at either the DoubleDay Center (in Lerner) or Barnard Ticket Office (in Mac). Wrong again, Danny.

  17. Not Dan

    I thought the article was great!

  18. on a different note

    i saw little children last night and was not a fan.

  19. Well  

    Just because some of the "outside Columbia's gates" posts suck doesn't mean what goes on outside of Columbia immediate vicinity is "not Columbia stuff". Most obviously, it's relevant if only because there are believe it or not students who enjoy the city and came here for it. Actually I really like the photo posts Sumaya does sometimes. like the one she did on Borough Hall a while back, I actually went to check that out. There was also something about the Cloisters which I've never been to and because of the post, will check out.

  20. Wellagain  

    Forgot to say, it's different than the Gothamist in that sometimes it's interesting to hear the takes of your cu peers, why they enjoyed it, etc.

    Also this post was at least honest about the experience/inexperience. It's a freshman venturing out, there's nothing wrong with presentng that in all its honesty and not just having "I know my shit NYC-wise" posts. Really, there are upperclassman that still don't venture beyond morningside, he's a freshman and he's feeling around already.

  21. whatev

    well... the lincoln center theatre is amazing, i go allll the time, and of course you get bizarre people--you saw a movie on SUNDAY NIGHT. best thing about it: quickest subway ride of any midtown theatre, and less crowded than times square. unless you want to venture up to 125th...

  22. Anonymous

    WTF bwog, why do you keep on deleting posts? You don't even have the notification that the post was deleted by the moderator, you just strike it from the record! WTF!

  23. solo moviegoer

    dude, what's wrong with going to a movie by yourself? it really is the best way to see a movie. also, i've never encountered morons at lincoln square amc or at any other theatre for that least not when i'm seeing a movie that is at all intelligent. little children was excellent btw...go see it.

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