Saturday, April 29, 2006

Stick It.

There are two things I love about a movie theatre experience. One of them is not the popcorn. I'm talking about the certain steroids that can juice up an audience like a rock concert. Amazingly enough, the new gymnastics film, STICK IT, is pumped with those drugs.

Of course, this film was not my choice since yesterday was Lyndsey's birthday. The only thing I was expecting was a great performance by Jeff Bridges, and what I got was something more. I was involved. I was rooting for the girls. I was laughing with the guys. Sure I was turned off by the cheese and the formula, but the film's challenge at gymnastics scoring was too cool for school. A great twist in an otherwise standard fish out of water sports film. The most magical moment was at the apex of conflict in the story when Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym), after being confronted with some old challenges, lets her emotions take over in the middle of a balance beam routine. We can tell she's hurting as she almost loses her balance. She goes into a hand stand, stretches her legs out, and then, the camera takes her perspective, looking down onto the beam. In dramatic slow motion (and formula foreshadowing a fall), we see a single tear drop onto the beam; cut to a medium shot of the bar, the tear so heavy it splashes chalk off the beam...I'm squeezing the armrest as we go back in full motion. Haley flips back onto her feet struggling for composure and we see she's just wrecked by the past. It's a beautiful moment that makes a 'who cares' guy like me care for gymnastics. She finishes her routine, and walking out of the arena were told about the past.

The two things I love about a movie theatre experience are:
1. Audience Participation--When a film hits you right where you weren't expecting and you react in the 3rd dimension. For me it was squeezing the armrest. For everyone else, it was clapping with excitement during the final act of the film.
2. Audience Inspiration--When a film hits you right where you weren't expecting and in the end makes you want to tell someone you love them, or apologize for what you did wrong, or research a topic you thought you weren't interested in, or question yourself and others. For me is was about wanting to FLOOR IT with my school work. For everyone else, it was getting on their feet and dancing in their seat after the final act of the film. Or the guy who stuck it to the theatre by offering ROCK! fingers in the form of a shadow puppet over the projector. For Lyndsey, it was saying, "If I weren't pregnant, I'd do a cartwheel down the aisle."

Although, after rereading this, they could be combined into the one thing I love about a movie theatre experience: the audience.

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