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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 gas.) 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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