February 14, 2009

Movie theater verbal diarrhea

There seem to be several things that will suddenly happen to me when I turn 40. Besides the obvious physical changes, I will suddenly do everything Oprah tells me to do, for instance. I will find Hugh Jackman attractive (how does he have such a stranglehold on moms?!). But what I am looking forward to the least is the onset of movie theater verbal diarrhea.

This is something I start to notice every year around Oscar season. You'll get a lot of thinkpiece movies, ones that feature cutting dialogue and verbal sparring. Frost/Nixon and Doubt are good examples from this year's crop, particularly since those films are based on plays. When I'm sitting in the audience for films like that, whenever Meryl-Streep-as-Sister-Aloysius or Michael-Sheen-as-David-Frost gives a good jab, a stunning punch of logic or morals, I'm inclined to mentally give a little "oooo" or "yeah!" The key word here is MENTALLY. Verbal diarrhea describes the process of the brain-to-mouth filter eroding, and consequently verbalizing every single thought you have about what is unfolding in front of you.

I saw a Sunday matinee of Doubt, and the theater was awash with moans and grunts. Women particularly would give a big "Oooooo" or "mmmmm" after every line with any weight - so, like, the whole movie. I started to dread those moments in the film because I knew their power would be somewhat diminished by some obligation to give a noise to what the audience was feeling. It was happening when I saw The Wrestler too, after every single moment of emotion.

This isn't to say that people aren't allowed to react to movies. You can and should should laugh when it's funny and cry when it's sad. But verbal diarrhea is the equivalent of someone saying "THAT WAS DEEP" after every line that was. It doesn't let a film breathe.

Am I being completely hypersensitive or does this bother other people too?

1 comment:

nutmeag said...

There's a reason I only see the more thoughtful movies in a home setting. I'll keep movie theaters for alien landings and stunning visuals--no moaning necessary. ;-)