Chamber Torture

By Michael J. Legeros

Last night I tried to watch THE CHAMBER, the newest John Grisham
adaptation, but had to leave early because, well, I caught myself
paying too much attention to everything *but* the movie.  The
trouble started before the feature started, when three loud-mouthed
college guys slammed into the seats behind us.  My pre-movie medi-
tation (this will not suck this will not suck this will not suck)
was disrupted as three sets of knees began bumping into our seat
backs.  To make matters worse, a quartet of adolescent girls had
also plopped down directly in front of us.  (They will not talk
they will not talk they will not talk.)  As the lights dimmed and
our seats continued rocking, I pulled a chair up to my mental type-
writer and began scripting a solution.  Several possible exchanges
entered my mind, including the polite ("would you please not kick
our seats?"), the hostile ("stop kicking our dogdamn seats!"), and
the politically correct ("just. don't. do it").  I also toyed with
the idea of summoning an usher, but dismissed it.  (No one at
Pleasant Valley is trained in the proper administration of sleeping

By the time the opening credits started to roll, I was busy story-
boarding the inevitable (and, likely, testosterone-fueled) con-
frontation.  I tried to imagine the proper tone of voice for our
hero, the appropriate expression he should wear, and, of course,
how he would communicate the secondary message of "shut the hell
up."  Frustration mounted.  More radical solutions were mulled,
most of which would've resulted in criminal charges.  (Here's an
idea:  if Bozo behind you won't be quiet, try standing up in your
seat until something happens.)  Deciding that *no* solution was the
best solution, I moved across the aisle to an empty seat.  By now,
of course, a good fifteen minutes of screen time had passed.  Chris
O'Donnell was busy talking to Gene Hackman about something and I
realized that my attention was wandering to other offenders:  noisy
wrappers and loud whispers and was that a bump that I felt in my
back?  By the twenty-minute mark, I knew this was a mistake.  I had
no idea what the movie was about, nor why I was watching it.  After
scribbling a note to my companion, I left for the lobby and didn't
look back.  The usher asked "bad movie?" and I replied "no, it's
just not a good time for me to watch it."

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros 


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