Last month, my 16-year-old son decided it was time for one of those rituals of growing up: going to a movie by himself. He seemed right on schedule. I was 17 when I went to my first movie alone. My mother took me to the Showcase Cinemas in Bloomfield Hills, MI. She saw SAME TIME, NEXT YEAR (1979) starring Alan Alda & Ellen Burstyn (rated PG). I saw ALIEN (1979) (rated R). Ben wanted to see a movie alone. We decided to go to the multiplex. My wife & I chose OBLIVION with Tom Cruise (rated PG-13). Ben wanted to see THE EVIL DEAD remake (rated R).Wikipedia
Like most teenagers, Ben had seen several R rated films at home (all subject to our approval). EVIL DEAD looked violent but no worse than, say, VHS (2012) that I’d watched with him six months earlier. When we got to the theater, I would buy the tickets for both movies and we’d be fine. I could not remember the last time I’d seen a theater enforce the R rating to any movie.
We arrived at the multiplex. Ben & Betsy went to get the popcorn. I went to get the tickets. Ahead of me in line were a father and two teenagers. He wanted two tickets to EVIL DEAD and a ticket for something else. “Who’s gonna see EVIL DEAD?” the middle-aged cashier asked. He pointed to the two teens. The cashier shook her head. “One of the people seeing EVIL DEAD has to be 17.”
Just as I realized what was going on – that they were enforcing the R rating -- she waved them aside and looked at me. “Can I help you?” she asked with all the sympathy of a lunch room monitor.Entertainment Weekly
“Two tickets for OBLIVION and one for EVIL DEAD.” I said.
Her eyes narrowed. “Who’s seeing EVIL DEAD?”
I held up my hand. Yep, lying to a theater cashier. Taking one for my son. I got the tickets and we headed to the usher station. We’d present the tickets together and we’d all be in. Ben could go to his theater. We would head off to OBLIVION.
The usher studied our tickets. “OBLIVION is seating right now but EVIL DEAD won’t be seating for about 15 minutes.”
The scenario flashed through my mind. Ben left alone in the lobby and then busted when he tried to get in when EVIL DEAD seated. That was no good.
We opted to wait. My wife rejoined us from the concession counter. We retreated to the lounge to figure out our next move. Huddled over our popcorn, we conspired a new plan. (Naturally, the theater manager decided this was the perfect time to come empty all the trash cans in the lounge. Was he onto us???). Holy cow, I was 16 again!
My wife came up with the new plan. She’d buy another EVIL DEAD ticket from the ticket kiosk. I’d go in with Ben. She’d go to OBLIVION. I’d walk Ben to EVIL DEAD. Once he was there, I’d go to OBLIVION.
Unfortunately, while we were conspiring, the theater moved the usher station. Instead of one in the lobby there were now two stations: one leading out of the lobby to the left where EVIL DEAD and the other movies played and the other leading to OBLIVION on the right. I was going to have to pass through the one station then come back out and pass through the other one. Oh well. Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!
My wife headed to OBLIVION on the right. We went off to EVIL DEAD on the left. Looking good. Until we got in the EVIL DEAD theater. We were the only ones in there! I instantly feared leaving Ben alone. If he were the only one in the theater when the usher came in 20 minutes into the film to see if anyone was there (they turn off the film if no one is there). I could see the usher seeing Ben alone. Asking his age. Cue DRAGNET theme.
I thought about texting my wife but discovered that neither Ben nor I had our phones on us. Mine was back in the car. Ben assured me he would be fine. I decided to go (four customers entered just after I left).
Easy peazy. Walking back to the lobby, I just had to blend in with the crowd in the lobby and head off to OBLIVION. As I passed by the usher station, the perky blonde usher waved at me. “Hi again!” she chimed. Great! She remembered me.
No problem. Blend into the crowd and you’ll be fine. Only I discovered there WAS no crowd in the lobby. Just one couple and me. The ushers were waving and chatting with each other across the lobby.
I rolled my eyes. I left the theater to get my phone from the car. Only when I got out there did I discover that I had not left my phone in the car. I had left it back HOME. I could only laugh and shake my head. I’d gone from seeing one movie to seeing another to maybe seeing no film.
I slipped off my jacket and threw it in the car. I walked back into the theater. Through the lobby. I walked up to the usher on the right. I presented my OBLIVION ticket. And in I went. “Enjoy the show,” She told me as I passed by.
OBLIVION was just starting as I entered the theater. My wife sat in the row by the entrance. “What happened?” she asked as I sat down beside her. “I’ll tell you after the movie.”
I could only shake my head. I didn’t have this much trouble sneaking into IT’S NOT THE SIZE THAT COUNTS when I was really 16!!!!!!