You know how it is. You hear, read, catch wind of a new movie coming out and all your little arm hairs stand at attention. Could be it’s based on a beloved book or maybe it’s just the subject matter that grabs your attention. My little willies get themselves all agog over almost any science fiction film, add in time travel, robots or a futuristic slant and I practically pee myself like one of those nervous, little dogs. So, you hear about one of these films that gets you in a tizzy and you anxiously await its release date, in the meantime reading any little snippet of news you can find. And finally, the big day arrives. Maybe you (like me) avoid the reviews because you just want to experience the thing cold. Possibly, you just check out a paragraph or two (and things sound good), or you might devour every last film critic’s words, amping up your expectations even more. You buy your ticket online, stuff your secret snack pockets to the brim, put on your happy pants and head out the door. Walking up the theater steps, that mildly exhilarating feeling overcomes you—you’ve been waiting all this time and now the moment is finally here. You know anything can happen in that darkened, popcorn-scented, sticky-floored room; it’s a film! Your mind settles in as you scan the rows of cushioned seats, calculating where you’ll have the best view and the least neighbors (though if it’s opening night, you almost don’t care about the excessive audience). As you slide your ass into the chosen upholstered cradle, while balancing a drink and popcorn, your mind just lets go and relaxes into that movie-watching zombielike state. The lights dim and the barrage of commercials and trailers barely phase you, because you know you’re finally going to see what you’ve been waiting for.
And then…things start to go south. The story becomes dull, the actors are wooden, the plot is stupid and nonsensically convoluted. You fidget in your seat, your legs feel wiggly and you cross them back and forth, fruitlessly trying to find comfort. The people on the screen say things that make your eyes roll. There’s excessive CGI or ridiculous situations or deviation from the story and you start feeling the urge to walk out. But, by gum, you waited all this time and you’re going to see this thing through. No matter how dismal things seem, you keep waiting for something to get better—some resolution to make sense—but it never happens. And then the credits roll and you feel deflated. You march angrily from the theater, brushing past your fellow patrons as snippets of their comments catch your ear. The horror! Some of them actually like it. You whip out your smartphone and start texting the expletives, fury and rage exploding from your fingertips. Biggest.Disappointment.Ever.
So what was it? J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek? Citizen Kane? Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Watchmen, AI, Inception, one of the Star Wars prequels? (It had better not be Inception, ain’t no way JGL is disappointing.) What movie did you head into with high expectations, only to be left with that feeling of wasted hours and a big, old, steaming plate of regret?