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By Randal Stevens · September 23, 2010
Dear Press Screenings,
I love you. Having said that, I hate you. Having said that, let me explain the dichotomy. You see, I love the fact that you allow me to see movies for free. More specifically, I love the fact that you often screen films I may be on the fence about, such as Green Zone, for free. I also love that you expose me to films I would've never normally heard of, such as Let the Right One In or Timecrimes, that turn out to be so excellent I go out and spread the word about them. I love the jealousy that your existence elicits from my friends because for free I can see highly anticipated films we're all excited about ahead of time, like Shutter Island or The Dark Knight, whereas they have to wait impatiently and spend their hard earned money. I also love how even though you may occasionally rob me of my otherwise worthless time with wasted pieces of afterbirth like The Love Guru, I can at least take solace in the fact that I did not contribute money to an aborted cause.
But on the other hand, I hate you. I hate that because you're free, you whore yourself out to any waste of space that may know somebody who knows somebody who knows you. I hate that because of this, gigantic theaters in gigantic venues like the AMC Lincoln Square in New York City are already filled by the time I get there from work, forcing me to sit in one of three the neck-abusingly close front rows that are the only ones free because they fucking suck and nobody wants to sit there. I hate how the people who know somebody who knows somebody can request a plus 1 or a plus 37 with their RSVP so that a seat I could otherwise occupy in a preferred row is instead occupied by an elderly woman who can barely hobble to the aisle and pee herself in the time it would take me to boil rice, eat it and digest it, then have it vacate my bowels. I hate that because the competency of your security guards ends at the functional* metal detectors they wave over my genitals, they still allow guests in after the film has begun, thus making sure that I will have to inconvenience myself at least three times during the first 15 minutes to accommodate some fat woman with a bucket of soda and a trough of popcorn who sat in the very middle of the row.
Finally, I hate that I'm not on the list that allows me to suit in the roped off seats positioned in the prime area at the center of the theater, but when I ask how I can get on that list, I'm told I just have to "be on the list." Thanks, PR assholes.
Do you see now, press screenings, why you are, like so many ex-girlfriends, the best and worst thing that could happen to me? Do you see how I'll use you to my advantage at every possible chance I get, but then go and publicly complain about you? I don't want to hate you so much; I want to love you more, but you won't let me be close to you. Maybe someday you'll figure your shit out and we can finally be happy together. In the meantime, I won't hold my breath.
*unconfirmed – they have never once detected my metal keys, metal belt buckle, or cell phone with metallic elements.