Posts Tagged ‘O’

One, Please

April 17, 2018

Frank was sitting in his office going over the latest receipts. He was also idly paging through some of the solicitations for upcoming movies on offer. He could hear the printer at the box office and its steady, familiar rhythm. Business was pretty good and it eased his anxiety about running a private movie theater. He had offers from all of the chains to join up but he kind of liked being able to pick the best movies. It made it so he had to worry about his business each week but it was a small price to pay. Besides, it was Monday and the weekend receipts were the best they had been in a long time. It probably had to do with half of the current movies being Oscar nominees. He had slipped away from the office often to rewatch a few of them and they were really good. He often did not care for most so-called Oscar movies but things were looking up.

There was a knock at the door and Frank looked up. There was almost never a problem on Mondays, at least not any that required Frank’s attention. The semi-retired woman who ran box office on Mondays, Sue, was firm and usually could disarm potential problems with a hard look. So, it was a surprise that there was a knock on the door of his private office.

“Come in?” Frank said, a little unsure.

The door opened and Sue poked her head inside. “Hey, Frank. There’s a guy out here complaining.”

“Complaining?” Frank asked. “You can usually deal with a little complaining, Susan.”

Sue grunted. “You know I hate when people use my full name. Something about him is just so… insistent. I think you should talk to him so I can get back to cleaning theater 3.”

“That’s Jimmy’s job,” Frank said. “Wake him up and tell him to get back to work. And you know what? Send the guy in here.”

“Mmhmm,” Sue said and closed the door. A few moments later, the door opened and an unassuming man walked in. He looked a little annoyed but grateful to get to talk to somebody about it.

Frank stood up and motioned to the chair on the other side of the desk. “Please, come in and sit down. My name is Frank Eastman and I own this theater.”

“Eastman,” the man said. “Like the man who invented the film camera. Fitting that you would own a movie theater.”

“I guess so,” Frank said. “I’m not sure if there’s any relation. What brings you to my office, Mister…” It was a blatant attempt at fishing for the man’s name.

“Mister is fine,” the man said. “I have a list of complaints, though. I guess I should get started?”

“Please,” Frank said. “If there’s a problem with my movie theater, I’m interested in fixing it.”

Mister smiled and shrugged. “These are not just problems with your theater, they are problems with all movie theaters.”

“Now you’ve really got my attention,” Frank said. The man seemed incredibly intelligent and warm so why had his complaints unnerved Sue so much? It seemed weird.

The man flipped open a small notepad. “Well, for starters. I had to move my seat because a woman sat down in front of me. She was wearing really strong perfume and it burned my eyes.”

“Alright,” Frank said. “That’s rude. I’m not a fan of people wearing perfume or cologne in public myself but what do you want me to do? It’s not like we can sniff people as they walk in and toss out the smelly ones.”

“Noted,” Mister said. “The couple behind me was talking during the whole movie. Every time I looked back at them, they lowered their voices and whispered but they would only get loud again over time. I had already moved, so I did not want to move again.”

“Well, again, that’s pretty rude but I can’t really stand over everybody’s shoulder and shush them whenever they talk. Movies can inspire people to talk sometimes and I can’t really stop it even if I sometimes want to.”

Mister only grunted at that. “Should I even get into the whole trouble with smartphones? Set aside talking and texting, just checking your phone during the movie can be distracting as the light from the screen suddenly acts as a beacon.”

Frank laughed a little at that. “I hate that too. I really do. I wish I could make the experience great for everyone. I specifically pump the volume to cover up when people talk. I sacrifice more theaters to make them bigger so everyone can find their seat. I do what I can. What do you want me to do? Nail your list to the door like Martin Luther?”

Mister shrugged. For some reason, as he got a little more worked up, he seemed to have more presence. “And why not? Is this not a temple?”

“A temple?” Frank asked. “Wow, I guess I feel the way that I used to feel in church in here sometimes. I’ve never heard anyone talk about it like that.”

“Because this is your temple where you honor me,” Mister said.

“You?” Frank asked. “Who are you?”

Mister sat up in his chair and smiled. “I am the God of Film.”

“What?” Frank asked. “Man, I don’t need crazy today. Monday’s supposed to be my slow day.”

“I can prove it,” Mister said. “There are cameras in each theater, right?”

“Yeah,” Frank said. “I use it to scan for camcorders but I also save a snapshot of each crowd just in case.”

“Bring up yesterday’s snapshots,” Mister said.

Frank shrugged and grabbed his laptop and brought up the folder. “Which showing am I looking at?”

“All of them,” Mister said. “You’ll find me dead center.”

Frank frowned and started looking through the pictures. The first matinee’s picture showed Mister right where he said he was. The next picture, there was Mister again. The third picture was the same. Again and again and again there was Mister dead center, best seat in the house. Then Frank realized the implications of that. Several of those pictures were taken simultaneously. That was impossible.

“What are you?” Frank asked.

“I told you,” Mister said. “The God of Film. Did you expect me to look more like this?” He snapped his fingers and he suddenly changed into an extremely handsome young man with shiny black sunglasses and a big toothy grin. “Or this?” He snapped his fingers and he was suddenly a tall, platinum blonde wearing a fur coat. “This is my temple and you are my priest.”

“I never did any of this for you,” Frank said. “I bought this building to set up a movie theater because I love movies. If I worship anything, it is stories. If I want to watch a movie in peace, I can watch it in my living room or I can screen it here alone. I’m lucky that way. People come to the theater for the experience. Part of that experience is pushing past the petty annoyances and just getting lost in whatever story is playing out in front of you. And you know what? If you can’t get past that, then that’s on you. I’m not sure I even want you around anymore. I have the right to refuse service to anyone.”

“Not to me,” Film said. “You cannot deny me.”

“Well, to quote a really good movie: ‘I cast you out!'” Frank yelled out. Film looked pained and then he faded away, crossfading to somewhere else. It left Frank alone in his temple to do his receipts.

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Ocean’s Thirteen

April 18, 2017

I am not much of a gambler but there are not so many obvious reasons for that. I was raised as a Methodist by a family that came from the South. The extreme wings of the Church in the American south have always frowned on the gambling industry (and really any kind of fun). The churches we attended never gave sermons on gambling. Really, how can games of chance be thought of as sinful? Instead, I just thought gambling for money was dumb. There is a phrase that always holds true “The House Always Wins”. I have studied enough probability and statistics to know how unlikely it is to win. Everything is not in your favor and the risk/reward calculation will almost never come out right. So, when I was growing up I steadfastly refused to gamble for money. I was kind of a dick about it.

Lately, I have changed my mind about things a bit. While I still think that ambling into a casino and dropping big money or spending your paycheck on the library is ridiculous, I can see the fun in a little gambling. In past years, I have gone to the racetrack at Charlestown to watch the horses run and have dinner with family. That is when I got started on making a few dollar bets on races. Of course, you would think that an educated person would carefully pick the right horse and the right races to get the most out of a bet. Not so. I am a sucker for a horse with an interesting name. Since I am only betting one dollar, I find myself thinking less about numbers and more about the experience. A goofy name with bad odds wins me over every time. I would be embarrassed if it was less fun.

The Ocean’s Eleven series of movies are a throwback to the original movie and the unwritten codes that casino operators had to follow and keep in business. While I have never been to Las Vegas, I always like that old Frank Sinatra feeling of respect and honor. Casinos may have been run by criminals back then (or not what do I know?) but they were run under a code of proper conduct. The large cast of these movies makes a point of mixing older actors and younger actors to drive home the idea of respecting tradition. The bad guys do not respect it while the good guys do. Of course, traditions are only worth following if they are good ones and the movies drive that point home too.

The cast, as I said, is huge. This is the second movie I have reviewed this month starring George Clooney who is always super charming. I love the familiarity he now has with Brad Pitt and Matt Damon’s characters forming a core of characters who talk to each other like friends do. They bust each other’s chops and know each other’s minds. You can look up the whole list of awesome character actors on your own but once again this movie had a super impressive cast. This time, the guys are up against Al Pacino who is putting in a good performance. Recently he has been doing cartoony roles in Adam Sandler movies so it was nice to see him return to form.

Overall, I really liked this movie. It was a cool little popcorn movie to watch on a lazy afternoon as I put up my feet and relaxed. The values of honor, trust, and standing up for your friends are good messages to put out there even if the main characters are criminals. The world is full of shades of gray and I will always favor the lesser evil over the greater evil. Besides, the heroes never enrich themselves unjustly and there is a Robin Hood mentality. The bad guy falls because he bets against them and that is when the house finally loses.

Olivia Hunter, Monster Hunter Go!

April 17, 2015

Olivia stretched out on the lawn, laying down on a towel with her sunglasses on. She had been reading her book but Tracy had stopped by and kept interrupting so she had given up and pretended to take a nap. As the sun warmed her skin, that pretend nap was quickly becoming a real nap. Any minute now it would reach critical mass and she would be sent off to dreamland probably until she got hungry or one of the ultimate frisbee people tripped over her. She was thankful she had remembered to pack extra strong sunscreen.

She thought that maybe she would get a smoothie after the park and stop by and see what Janey was doing. Maybe she would see if Scott was at the gym. Maybe he wanted to do something together. She was having trouble working up the nerve to talk to him. If she could summon the courage she would ask him out but her face slowly turned hot and crimson whenever she thought of such things.

Suddenly all of those plans were canceled as what felt like an explosion rocked the earth under her. She sat bolt upright and jumped to her feet in time to dodge the crowd of people fleeing from the direction of the Revolutionary War Monument. She took in the scene but couldn’t see much through the trees. All she saw was people running in a blind panic and a plume of smoke coming from somewhere in that direction. Maybe it was the monument or maybe it was just something in that direction.

“Bolt Magic Unleash!” Olivia yelled out and touched the bracelet on her left wrist and it shimmered and then shined and began to spark. Instantly more fabric formed around her even as her bikini changed and stretched. She could feel a tugging on her long blonde hair. After a few moments she stood there in what looked like a yellow sundress with yellow and gold boots. Her messy hair had been tied into a more manageable pigtails. She felt a surge of energy run through her body and then she was sprinting towards danger faster than any human being. She was Lightning and she was a monster hunter and a superhero.

The pavillion at the monument was flooded with what looked like little goblins. Olivia slammed her fist into the nearest one’s face and it tumbled through the air and landed with a thud. It disintegrated into a pile of sparks and smoke as Olivia started punching and kicking some more goblins. The sundress was easy to move in and made hand to hand combat easy. It also magically kept in a modest position which was a definite plus.

“Lightning Shock Wave!” She shouted, pointing her palm at a crowd of goblins. Her palm crackled with light and then a huge wave of electricity launched from her hand. The goblins were engulfed in the energy blast and one by one they exploded violently. Olivia couldn’t help but grin at how awesome it was to wield the awesome power of lightning.

“Careful, Lightning! Take these goons out fast so they can’t surround you!” A voice echoed in her head. She could feel it coming from the bracelet but knew it was Ariel, the strange being that had given her these powers.

“Relax, I’ve got this. Lightning Bolt Go!” She shouted as she unleashed an arc of electricity that took out several more goblins. There weren’t so many more goblins at this point so she set about punching and kicking her way through them. It felt good to get a little action out of her system. She was definitely going to need that nap now though.

A huge two-headed goblin burst through the treeline with a terrific roar. It collided with a column on the pavillion and sent chunks of stone everywhere.

“Hey! That’s city property, Jerk!” Olivia shouted. She hated to see a great monument damaged like that.

“That guy is bigger than the other ones were! Shift into Dragon Armor Mode!” Ariel shouted.

“Right! Lightning Mode D Activate!” Olivia shouted. She traced a lightning bolt across her chest with her left hand and the bracelet shined brightly and then became more of a high tech watch. She slammed the big gold button on the watch and there was an explosion of light around her. She was always amazed at the speed that the armor formed around her body. She was equally amazed that she was never injured in the process. When the light cleared she was dressed head to toe in golden armor. She drew a golden sword.

“Lightning Blade Go!” Oliva shouted and charged the two-headed goblin. Everything seemed to go into slow motion as she ran past her target and slashed her sword hard. She felt it as she made contact and she slid to a stop a few yards behind the monster. There was an agonizing moment and then the goblin exploded. She grinned and pumped her arm. “Yes!”

“Good job, Lightning! Another threat eliminated. Of course, you could have waited for the team to arrive.”

“Eh, I work better alone anyway.”

(Yeah I threw Sailor Moon, Ronin Warriors and Power Rangers into a blender.  I kind of love it though. It’s really fun to write.)


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