There must be something about hiking out to an outer suburb of Melbourne, going to the local pub for a pint and watching a Melissa McCarthy movie, because I've done it twice now.
I was wondering why I was getting a sense of deja vu on my trip to the Melbourne outerlying territory of Hawthorn to go to Lido Cinemas for the first time, and it was because it reminded me of a similar trip in 2015 out to Classic Cinemas in Elsternwick.
Both trips involved beer and Melissa McCarthy.
In 2015 I was taking in the cinema for research purposes, as they had a job opening in their -- marketing department? I think that was it -- and I wanted to apply for it. I figured if I'd never even been there I would be a poor applicant indeed, and I guess I was anyway because I never even got a rejection from them.
Anyway, the movie that was playing that night was Spy, one of my favorite comedies of that year and the movie that turned me around on McCarthy. I should say, I chose it from a number of films playing, in part, I would guess, because I had indeed stopped at a pub to drink a beer while there, and something like Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief didn't seem likely to provide me as many yuks (or not intentional ones, anyway). Don't ask me why I can remember three years later that this movie was also playing there that night. (Along with a half-dozen others I don't remember.)
The beer? The train got me out there with a good 90 minutes before the movie, so dinner and that beer seemed like a good way to pass the time. I almost never drink before a movie because, you know, sleep. But that wasn't a problem with Spy.
Similar circumstances arose on Thursday night. This time I arrived by car, and the purpose of my trip to Hawthorn was to buy a book for my son's birthday. It wasn't just any book, because otherwise I would have just bought it at a local book store. Rather, it was a book that I'd loved from my childhood that was more or less out of print -- the wonderful viking adventure Erik the Viking, written by Monty Python alum Terry Jones. Despite his history (and the book's misguided cinematic adaptation), it's not a comedy. Somehow, there was a copy of this on the shelves at the Readings in Hawthorn, the website told me, and after a short hunt I actually found it, even though the guy who helped me expressed surprise it was even there, given how long they'd had it in stock. Score.
The bookshop closed at 8, and I got there by about 7:30, leaving me plenty of time to kill before the movie. I'd eaten dinner at home, so that wasn't necessary this time around.
I'd planned to drink two beers, figuring that the running time of the movie would be enough to ensure my sobriety on the way home, but I'd selected a pint that ran a whopping $14 (Melbourne is pricy) so I didn't choose a second. It got me plenty buzzed anyway.
Which wasn't much of a help on The Happytime Murders, McCarthy's new movie that had come out that very same day.
I wanted to laugh. Really I did. The beer was cheering me on. The beer wanted me to just kick back and enjoy this movie.
No can do.
It's really bad. Nay, it's awful. This movie needed to watch Deadpool 2 or something if it wanted to figure out how to be crass and have heart simultaneously. But who knows, maybe it didn't want to have any heart, and if not, they certainly succeeded.
I do want to tell you about Lido Cinemas, though. It's either brand new or recently refurbished in the past couple years, and I can't even tell you how damn classy the place is. It's got a great black and white tile aesthetic, plus a good place to sit and eat or have a drink beforehand (making me kind of wish I'd saved my drink for here). But the thing I really want to tell you about, or in fact show you, is the wonderful way they do the movie titles on the marquee, both inside and outside the theater.
This picture will give you some idea what they look like:
But not what they sound like. And that is, the same as the sounds those old destination signs in old train stations made as the switched themselves from one destination to another. The marquees at Lido are constantly unspooling the titles and gobbling them up again through a de-population and re-population of the dot letters you see above, and they make that little shuffling sound that you would expect to go with that kind of action. I don't think I'm describing it very well but I imagine you get some idea what I'm talking about.
Maybe McCarthy will get back in the win column when some new theater opens in 2021 and this occasion arises for me again.