I should probably turn in my man card before starting, but I won’t because I think I lost my man card when I went to see The Nutcracker and sat in a seat designed for Emmanuel Lewis without complaining. (Okay, I complained, but it was more like a whine which isn’t really how a man complains. A man says, “I’ll be in the bar drinking whiskey when all of this dancing is over.”)
I have been following John Green for about a year now. I read Looking for Alaska last summer and have been a regular viewer of all of his Vlogbrother offerings, so I was actually looking forward to seeing The Fault in Our Stars as it became a movie, but I guess I didn’t think through when I should go. Opening night was a poor choice. The theater was packed with 13-17 year-old girls, 35-50 women, and two dudes: me and some guy with a chin beard that looked like something he forgot to wipe off. Most of the women appeared to be out on a girls’ night with 10 of their closest friends and they were ready for a good cry.
At the Rose Theater in Port Townsend, someone always comes to the front of the theater and tells you something interesting about the movie you are about to see and builds a little background. (For instance, when I went to see Get Shorty 800 years ago I learned that Danny Devito’s character was based on Dustin Hoffman. Which is very funny. Next time you watch Get Shorty think Dustin each time Danny shows up on screen.) The crowd at The Rose is always polite and listens to these little insights because movies are richer when you know a little background, but for the first time ever, there were people in the crowd who talked during the introduction. Little things like this upset me. I would hope that if a global pandemic were wiping out the human population and we all had three hours left to live, we could sit quietly and listen to the movie dude tell us that John Green had written this novel in response to work he had done with children in a cancer ward.
The lights went down, the ladies behind me started talking loudly during the previews, I said even louder to my wife, “I hope they aren’t going to talk this loudly throughout the whole movie,” and by doing so confirmed that men are the problem in the universe.The movie started and within 30 minutes 10% of the audience was crying. When we reached the hour mark half of the audience was crying. One hour and 30 minutes into the film almost everyone was crying, and a few of the ladies were crying like you do when you are 10 and your dog gets run over. That gasping crying thing? You know, the difficulty breathing crying thing? Anyway, by the end of the movie pretty much everyone in the theater was crying. I have never been to a movie where this much crying was taking place. People didn’t cry this much at Schindler’s List. They didn’t cry this much at Old Yeller. They didn’t cry this much at Brian’s Song. They didn’t cry this much when they saw that The Expendables 3 had been given the green light for filming.
Did I cry? No! Well, tears did not escaped my eyes. There were a few close calls, but it wasn’t like Life is Beautiful. (The one movie I have seen 100 times and cried every single time. Damn you Roberto Benigni.) The strangest part of the evening was that all the 13-17 year-old girls went outside the theater after the movie and cried some more. It was in this moment that I decided that if women ran the world there would be a lot more crying.
Was the movie good? It was better than I had expected, so I guess that means it was good. I assume the crying theater phenomenon will be an opening night thing since most of the people there had read the book and were huge John Green fans, but take a couple tissues just in case.