Yesterday Angie took me to the movies, ostensibly for my birthday. The truth is Angie and I will use any reason we can think of to go to the movies, including a solar eclipse, religious holidays, and the end of the world.
We pull the "birthday" ruse, so our husbands will think of how "nice" we're being to each other and be less likely to figure out that we are each having about six birthdays a year. (I kid, I kid.)
Anyway, a big thank you to Tim (Angie's husband) and Brett for taking the parental reigns solo and letting the two of us hit the town for dinner and couple $5 movies.
I had only planned on seeing one movie. When Angie and I had talked over the phone, I said I wanted to see The Other Guys (namely, because of the magnificent Mr. Wahlberg). I noticed, however, Ms. Actionista kept trying to persuade me that The Expendables would also be an excellent choice.
I didn't particularly want to see The Expendables, even if every action star ever born was in it, since the script was written by a solid piece of wood known as Sylvester Stallone. Said piece of wood was also the director of this plotless wonder.
But when Angie picked me up from work, she said, "I know you have to work tomorrow, but we could still see at least two movies."
She said it in such as way as to imply that if I didn't want to see two movies, I was a gutless, spiny old person. Washed up at (almost) 32.
I understand, though. Angie and I are true Movie Mavens. Back when Kerasotes had the $5 Club, we'd take a Friday, start in the afternoon, and see up to four movies. Our personal record was five movies in one day! We started at noon (I had taken the day off) and went until 2 a.m.
It was crazy, but it is also a great story to share and glory moment to relive. People are always like, "Five movies in one day! Are you nuts?!"
And we love to admit that we are a little nuts. But you knew that.
Anyway, I accepted Angie's challenge. We went to Panera for a delicious dinner (albeit extremely small portions for the exorbitant price). And then we had to stop at Wal-Mart, because Angie thought she might be cold in the theater. One of the hottest summers on record, and she thinks the theater might be over air-conditioned. Whereas, I, on the other hand, would be willing to sit in the front row hugging the AC vent for dear life.
Ah, well. It is our differences that make us friends.
Angie bought her sweatshirt (a man's Ultimate Fighting something or another – Angie loves the whole UFC thing, and because I listen to her, I actually noticed the logo, and pointed the sweatshirt out to her, despite my distaste for sports and sweaty men. If that isn't friendship, I don't know what is.). Then we headed to the movies.
We did stop along the way to take a photo of a dog driving a car in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Angie used her smart phone to snap the photo and upload it to Facebook while I cooed at the adorable mobile mutt.
At the theater, Angie pulled a surprise by announcing she had even budgeted for popcorn! This is quite a sacrifice, as popcorn at the AMC Theatres is now gone up to $100 per bag. Well, okay, not that much, but it was still a jump. At Kerasotes, we used to get the "Mega Combo" – two large drinks and a tub of popcorn for $13. At AMC, they will only give you a large bag (no tubs!) and two large drinks for a whopping $18! Holy cow!
Anyway, Angie said she had previously decided to offer the popcorn option ONLY if I agreed to two movies (since with two movies she felt like she'd be getting her money's worth of popcorn). So, I was very grateful, because we've been boycotting popcorn ever since the theater switch, even though we both stare longingly at the concession counter every time we see a movie.
So, we settled in with our (not-as-good-as-Kerasotes') popcorn to watch The Expendables. We had to sit through not one but TWO previews for movies about the devil – in one, a bunch of people are stuck in an elevator with the devil (but you don't know who it is), and a second one about an exorcism. No thank you.
Although, I admit I smiled slightly when I leaned over to Angie and whispered, "Why all the movies about the devil?" and she replied, "The end times." And continued to calmly eat her popcorn while I covered my eyes. I can't watch scary movies – or even scary movie previews – they give me nightmares for weeks!
The Expendables had a predictable plot and a horrible script (expected, as it was written by an oak tree), but the acting was decent, and it sure was something to see all those action stars in one movie. Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger showed up for some corny one-liners (but got cheers from our fellow moviegoers). Mickey Rourke continued to prove himself as an actor with some range in that messed up face.
My favorite was Jet Li who had some great dialogue and terrific martial arts action for an oldster. And, of course, Jason Statham was clearly in his element surrounded by his predecessors. It was actually a very cool torch-passing movie.
I could have done without Stallone or Lundgren and all the UFC fighters, wrestlers, Little Leaguers or whatever they were. But Angie thought they lent some real street cred to the movie, so whatever. It was a fun, popcorn movie and that's all we really wanted or expected.
The Other Guys was WAY funnier than I expected. Will Ferrell was pitch-perfect, and Mark was flawless (and funny) as usual. My favorite line in the whole movie is "You learned to dance, sarcastically?!" It's in the midst of a hilarious scene, but Will Ferrell delivered it so perfectly, I felt like I was saying it. I love it when the movie draws you in so well that you can chose a character and can easily follow his mindset.
The movie got a little bogged down in the middle, and there was some smut that could have easily been left out (the movie is poorer for it, actually), but the end came roaring back. Michael Keaton is excellent as the hardened police captain with a side job at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Eve Mendes does a passable job (high praise coming from me). The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson steal the first part of the movie with some jokes and a surprise twist that bump the whole movie up a couple of notches.
Overall, I was really impressed, and Angie and I were both relieved we ended on that movie. It's always better to end on a more lighthearted movie before heading back into the real world.
The late-night car ride home was filled with rich conversation that might just keep me satisfied until our next movie night – which will undoubtedly be next month. When we celebrate Angie's birthday. Again.