the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Trilogy Tuesday: Fragments and Impressions

Okay, this will be my last Trilogy Tuesday post, I think. I want to just try to record some of the impressions, moments, and little things that I will want to be able to remember long, long into the future, the little things that really added flavor to the day.

I think list-style is the way to go, as it will reflect the little bits-and-pieces better. Be forewarned that thar be spoilers here, matey!

  • As the day approached, I started to stress about the weather, thinking that it would be pretty miserable to have to dig the car out of a day's worth of snow at 2 AM. The day turned out to be balmy instead, much to the delight of all.
  • Few things get me out of bed in the morning like Trilogy Tuesday. Damn, but I was perky, much earlier in the day than I had any right to be.
  • I had to turn driving duties over to Liz, as I was having a hard time concentrating on little things like, oh, the road, other cars, finding the right exit, that sort of stuff.
  • We spent the day with Patricia Leebove and her assorted motley crew. Truly, great company for the day, fine people to share the experience with. We picked up Patricia and everyone else met us there.
  • Arrived at the theatre around nine o'clock, three hours before seating began, and were only 30th or so in line. I would have expected more people to have arrived super-early...
  • I also would have expected more people to dress up. Sure, there were a couple of Gandalfs, at least three or four Aragorns, two decent Galadriels, some miscellaneous elves, and a lady in a "Haldir LIVES!" T-shirt, but I again would have expected more from people. I don't think I saw anyone as Gollum... But then again, it was December in Cleveland, and that doesn't mix with the tattered loincloth look.
  • Some people playing four-way chess. Some people with a laptop playing a movie trivia game. A couple of people watching various Rings-related things on portable DVD players. Chatting happily with random strangers in line.
  • The energy in the air, the anticipation... Palpable. Wild. You could tell that everyone knew what kind of a rare occasion this was.
  • Very impressed by how the event was run, overall. I really liked that your seat was your seat for the whole day (enforced with a seating chart, even).
  • Great seats--we were just about where I like to sit. And comfy, too, which was a big plus.
  • Great Audience Moment #1: Before Fellowship began, the theatre ran a MPAA-sponsored anti-movie-piracy ad, about how internet piracy is taking food away from hard-working film crew members. When the title "Help Stop Piracy" appeared on screen, the entire audience let loose their loudest, cheesiest, most piratical "D'Y'ARR!!" Everyone. It was a thing of beauty, and it assured me that the audience was going to be a hell of a lot of fun.
  • Great Audience Moment(s) #2: Any time the New Line logo appeared at the start of a film, the entire house would cheer boisterously. Moments later, replaced by the Wingnut Films title, the audience erupted in a chorus of "Sssh!", followed seconds later by subdued giggles as people quietly shushing their neighbors, whilst being shushed themselves. Like some sort of cosmic joke that required over 550 people to properly tell.
  • I ran into Julie Kleinhenz between Fellowship and Towers, pretty much completely out of nowhere. Hadn't seen her since graduation in 1999. She's at NASA Glenn and working on a PhD, and apparently has become an anime nut in the intervening years since I'd last spoken with her. We didn't spend a whole lot of time catching up, but it was extremely cool to cross paths again, as she was one of the first people I met at Case as a freshman.
  • Small, crappy, but free sandwiches were served between Fellowship and Towers, but Liz and I opted for PB&J; sandwiches snuck inside in her purse. Yum, peanut butter spiked with habenero pepper! Nothing like a mouthful of "dear sweet GOD that's HOT!" to keep you awake during an 11-hour movie marathon.
  • Ate a cheap lukewarm pizza between Towers and King, not because I really wanted to, but because if I didn't, I knew I wouldn't make it through the end of the night.
  • Great Audience Moment #3: Since we'd already seen all of the between-film slides several times, it was pretty obvious which bottled carbonated Coke product would win the little rat-race, despite Cherry Coke having a tendency to pull ahead. Oh yes, it would be Sprite, Sprite would win the race! And thus began the cheers. Five hundred and fifty of us, all shouting variations on "Go, Sprite! Come on, Sprite! You can do it! Sprite! Sprite Sprite!" And oh, there was much rejoicing when Sprite pulled through and delivered the goods. Huzzah!
  • Great Audience Moment(s) #4: Trailers. There were a few that they couldn't separate from King, so we had to watch them. Most were forgettable, though Spider-Man 2 got a little applause. The big winner was Hidalgo, Viggo "Aragorn" Mortensen's next picture, which got some cheers, especially from the ladies. The big loser was The Mask 2, which has giant CG crapfest written all over it. At first there was a stunned silence as a computer-animated baby jumped out of its crib and started dancing; as soon as the film's title appeared, the entire audience booed derisively, as loud as possible, for the remainder of the trailer. With a rep from the responsible film studio in the theatre. Now, if close to 600 people had just done that to a film trailer, I would reconsider even releasing it to video, let alone to theatres. More people should publicly boo such dreck; it was incredibly satisfying.
  • Return of the King was greeted with the same cheers and shushing as it began, and then, for the next three and a half hours, we were almost completely silent. It was pretty clear that none of us wanted to be distracted, that we felt guilty about having to blink every so often. Brief cheers and applause for the really big hero moments, like Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli's arrival at Osgiliath with the army of the dead, at Eowyn's "I am no man" slaying of the Witch-King, at Sam's wedding to Rosie Cotton. Sniffles at all the right places. Stunned silences at the right places. Five hundred people simultaneously drawing a sharp, terrified breath as Frodo turned toward the tower of Cirith Ungol, unaware of the menace that was about to strike him. Lots of sniffles at the end. (And at the end. And at the end. And at the end. And at the end...)
  • I was basically in tears from the arrival at Mount Doom until the end of the thing, even through the credits. Liz asked me if I was okay, and I nodded mutely; she asked me what was wrong, and all I could do was shake my head and soak in the bittersweet beauty of it all. I reacted much the same way to the end of the book, so I wasn't surprised... Just incredibly, indescribably pleased.
  • As we filed out, the New Line rep presented us each with a collectible plaque containing a random frame from each movie of the trilogy. They were created specifically for Trilogy Tuesday participants, and aren't for sale (except on eBay). So that's awfully decent of them. And pretty cool, too. Liz's has one frame of Aragorn from the battle at Helm's Deep where he's showing off his scary, scary teeth. It makes me laugh.

In all, a profoundly exciting, moving, and memorable day. The kind of day that I think will be looked back on in a "where were you when..." sort of way, except that it'll be one of the happier variety, the kind that we seem to be woefully short of these last years.

If you, dear reader, are one of the Trilogy Tuesday survivors, I hope you had a good time too; it was a h ell of a party here in Cleveland.

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