My daughter asked me to go to a movie last night. She’s seventeen and rarely asks me to do anything, so I dropped my husband like a hot potato, denied the dog his walk, and went out to see The Fault in Our Stars. I was so delighted at the prospect of an evening with Allie, popcorn for dinner, and a nice cool theater. Our closest theater is new, and fairly spectacular. They have two cafes serving beer and wine, gourmet treats, plus the traditional movie fare. You choose your seats when you buy your tickets, or you can buy them on your phone and just show the ticket taker your QR code. The whole place has a hip vibe. We each ordered a large popcorn (It was dinner. OK?) and a soda and went to our favorite seats – F 6 & 7.
After just having paid $26 for our seats and another $25 on concessions, I was a little bit miffed to find the coming attractions preceded by car commercials. But oh how I love coming attractions. I could just skip the feature film and just watch two hours of trailers. And after each one, Allie and I will whisper our intent to either see or skip the advertised film.
I must admit, I was not familiar with The Fault in Our Stars. It’s based on a work of teen fiction that I have not read. I assumed it would be like a typical Nicholas Sparks teen romance. However, when the opening scene showed a teenage girl wearing a nasal cannula, my heart sunk a bit. Crap. This was a cancer movie. Having several friends in various stages of treatment for various cancers, I knew the napkins I had brought to deal with the buttered popcorn would soon be put to another use.
Many years ago, when my father had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, my friend Mary took me out to a Bette Midler movie to cheer me up. Funny, talented Bette Midler. Neither of us were familiar with the movie’s premise before heading into the theater. I was just grateful for the opportunity to forget about the medical saga at home, have popcorn for dinner, and enjoy the cool theater. The movie started as a delightful tale of a long time friendship. And then one of the lead characters started fainting. Beaches. A freaking cancer movie. As soon as we realized the turn the movie had taken, Mary turned to me and apologized. And then we both laughed, which was probably not cool during a cancer movie.
I’m not sure why our society is so attracted to the cancer movie genre, or sad movies in general. It seems to be mostly women who like them. Men don’t generally care for cancer movies, with the exception maybe of Brian’s Song because it was a football player doing the dying. Why do we pay exorbitant ticket prices to go cry in public?