I'm four weeks into my cool new summer routine of seeing a movie in an actual movie theater every weekend instead of sitting in my apartment cursing about the weather. So far I've seen Pitch Perfect, Iris, Mad Max: Fury Road, and now SPY. Out of all of them Mad Max was my fav, because it's wildly inventive and expertly made and I had no clue what was happening most of the time yet that had zero impact on my enjoyment of the film. It felt like a pure experience, somehow, just adrenaline and noise and confusion and the magical combo of surly Tom Hardy and an even surlier Charlize Theron, who uses axle grease for makeup/war paint and made me feel when I left the theater that I could be anybody and do anything. I stopped short of setting anything aflame but strode home like a real cock o' the walk that day. The first female character who ever made me believe such a thing was Princess Leia, when I was seven years old and Star Wars was released. It's a powerful thing to give a kid (or adult), that sense of wide possibility and endless confidence that you can almost literally feel driving up through the ground into your feet, even if it lasts just the amount of time it takes to walk 20 blocks or approximately one city mile. In my case about 20 minutes, give or take, depending on how well or poorly pedestrian traffic is flowing and whether or not I check in at Gray's Papaya for a hot dog. There's some complicated math involved.
Anyway, SPY. Whilst I was waiting in the snack line (peanut M&Ms) I heard the guy behind the counter tell another customer that Paul Feig had been in earlier that day to check out a screening. Paul Feig!! I knew this was extra special, me and Paul Feig seeing his movie in the same theater on the same day. I patted myself on the back for being so proactive and for once in step with the zeitgeist, since that's not my usual style at all. I usually don't catch up with things until long after the circus has left town. The theater at 4:00 was packed with adults, a good mixture of ladies and gents, not seeming to fall too heavily one way or the other, but it's the first movie I can remember sitting through where I could hear women laughing as loudly as the men. Historically the only times women are louder than men in public is when they comprise the studio audience of some raucous daytime talk show or if the movie is a "women's picture"; i.e., weepie. I myself have contributed more than a fair share of extremely vocal sobbing in movie theaters over the years, since I'm such a deep and sensitive soul. But I strolled home after SPY with that sound still ringing in my ears and felt equally powerful just for the memory of all of these women yukking it up around me, like real proud motherfucking maniacs, and it made me think maybe things are on the right track for a change. No doubt somewhere trouble was brewing, but I was immune.
p.s. I wrote this whole post on a phone, another new thing I'm attempting this summer. Look at me, breaking all this ground.