What was your worst holiday movie-going experience?
I love going to see films during the holidays. Is there anything better than stretching out in a darkened cinema and watching some mindless, big-budget Hollywood movie while suffering from a Thanksgiving Day food coma or New Year’s Day hangover (other, of course, than doing the things that put you in those film-welcoming states in the first place)? I think not!
But things don’t always go to plan. Three years ago, I spent Thanksgiving Day dog-sitting my friends’ beagle-basset George, a hound with the noble good looks of a Roman aristocrat and the demented temperament of the emperor Caligula. I’m not kidding. The list of things that sets George off into a howling, maniacal frenzy merely begins with squirrels, skateboarders, and dogs with pointy ears (i.e. around 50 percent of all other dogs). He is also deliberately incontinent, by which I mean that the moment you leave the apartment he takes it upon himself to decorate the place with his “business” like he’s getting paid by the pound. Frankly, the amount this dog defecates is unbelievable — or at least it would seem that way if you were unaware that he will eat anything that is, or is not, nailed down.
After a thrill-filled morning of yelping (on his part) and waste disposal (on mine), I fled, sans George, to a nearby cinema to see Southland Tales, the second film by writer-director Richard Kelly after his sublime Donnie Darko. To say the confusing, shambling, and unfunny Southland did not live up to the standard of Darko is putting matters mildly indeed. To be honest, I would rather have been clearing up dog poop, although, as I discovered upon returning home, this wasn’t an “either/or” situation.
Desperate to cleanse my cinematic palette, and once again escape George’s guttural yammering, I returned to the multiplex that evening in search of something to turn my now-quite possibly feces-speckled frown upside-down. What I found instead was Frank Darabont’s Stephen King adaptation The Mist, a horror film with an ending so shockingly downbeat and depressing that, had I encountered Darabont in the foyer afterwards, I would have been sorely tempted to punch him in the face. (I recently had the opportunity to relate this reaction to Walking Dead head honcho Darabont himself, who didn’t seem the least surprised. I also pointed out, truthfully, that after several more viewings I now regarded The Mist as an extremely under-appreciated, if not exactly Thanksgiving-friendly, venture.)
How could things get worse? They couldn’t. Unless, of course I were to return home to find George had left another present for me on the floor (which he had) and then, while I was distracted cleaning that up, the damn dog ate the tragic turkey sandwich I had bought for my Thanksgiving Day dinner (which he did).
I should probably point out that I do love the little guy and continue to dog-sit him at the drop of a doubtless-soon-to-be-pooped-on hat. But that isn’t going to stop me posting the hilariously embarrassing photo below.
So much for my worst pop culture holiday experience. What about yours?