Movie Review

10:16 PM Tuesday, November 30, 1999

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Went to the movies today. Apparently close to a million people in Bombay go to the movies each week. Saw Sixth Sense. It was directed by an Indian guy. I came in during the credits and was shown to my seat by a flashlight-wielding usher. Haven't seen one of those since the seventies. In India, you buy a specific seat at the ticket window and that's where you have to sit. It's not a free-for-all like in the US. Everything else about the place was pretty damn normal, right down to the gum stomped into the carpet and the popcorn smell.

I was sitting there watching the scenes of Philadelphia, some really nice scenes, like no Philly I've ever seen, except in postcards and I'm thinking, oh, look at that sidewalk, and that door, and that car. And I realize I'm looking at the movie like an Indian looks at my pictures of home. Never at what I want them to see. They see like an anthropologist sees. So I'm studying this film that starts rather slowly and I'm trying to overhear the Indians next to me and what they think of it. I'm intensely interested. There are quite a few parts where I'm the only person in the theater who gets the joke. That's to be expected I guess. Sometimes I'm embarrassed cause the movie looks like one of those sappy "Diamonds are forever" commercials. You know how Bruce Willis is in love scenes he should stick to Uzi's. To quote Flavor Flav: "Don't nobody live like dat. Don't nobody even talk like dat." But then sometimes I'm proud, like when the kid walks into a really nice church.

So I'm getting into this movie which turns out to be pretty good because of some incredibly good acting by the little kid. We're right at the part where he's gonna tell his "secret". It's the most intense moment of the movie and I won't tell you what he says, cause it's a secret but right when he's in the middle of it they cut the film and the lights come on and they flash "Intermission" on the screen. Everybody starts to get up but I'm sitting there stunned. "What in the HELL?" I say to myself and I look around. People are perfectly calm and then I realize that this must be a regular occurrence. I've been jerked right out of my "willing suspension of disbelief" and presented with a slide show of advertisements. Ads that are nothing more than typing on transparencies and they wobble and float up on the screen because the projectionist is hand holding them in front of the light. I spend a hard earned RS.45 and what do I get? Local commercials. The theater is almost empty.

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I start to get angry. You get your money back when this happens in the US. The only time I've actually tolerated an intermission is during a screening of Lawrence of Arabia in glorious 70mm. So ten minutes later the intermission is starting to feel longer than the first part of the movie and as people start filing back in, the ads get better. The movie starts but it seems to have skipped a little bit ahead. OK, enough complaining about the intermission. They have commercials in the middle of movies here. You've been warned.

Yeah, I cried like a sap at the end. Dead people are sad. It was a pretty good movie for being the latest in the round of the Hollywood "cult of the angel" schlock. So when we emptied out into the warm, sticky night air I decided to get a #81 bus home. The catharsis has tuned my sensibilities and I'm feeling like I could write a review of the movie. Then I saw something that convinced me that I have to write a movie review: I sit down at the bus stand and look at the red pole in front of me. Scratched in the paint, written vertically is I LOVE YOU and then there's a little scratch-drawing that looks like a flower in a pot. It's on the pole in the bus stand in front of the Planet M store by Victoria Terminus if you want to see it. I think it was "I love you ****" (somebody's name) but I can't make out the rest. Now it's for all of us. Go read it if you're feelin a little down.


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