The Batman in Arkansas

Before I get to my spoiler-free review of The Dark Knight, which I had the pleasure of seeing Saturday night in Mountain Home, Arkansas, I’d like to tell a quick story of something that happened while I was watching the movie. Something that will forever define me. Something that transformed me from a simple North Dakotan beet farmer into the [Bat]man I am today.

Caroline and I went to a 10:10 showing of the movie last night for two reasons: One, her grandfather (who we were visiting) was fast asleep by then, and two, I figured there wouldn’t be much of a crowd that late. I was wrong about the latter. The theater was packed with Mountain Home natives, including a row of irksome young scoundrels behind me. The entire row consisted of 10-year old boys and girls—the boys were the most focal, starting with the previews and continuing into the movie, but the girls were talking too.

I’m actually still piecing together the plot of the movie because my attention was divided between the screen and the talking behind me. I kept getting more and more pissed off; finally, I resolved to say something. I waited until the right moment, when the soundtrack wasn’t too loud or too quiet, and when the boys made some disruptive, unnecessary comment. I turned around in a flash.

“If you guys don’t quiet down, you will all be thrown out of the theater,” I said through gritted teeth, locking eyes with each of culprits behind me. “All of you.”

“He did it,” one bespectacled boy said, pointing to the kid next to him.

“I don’t care,” I growled. “All of you will be thrown out. Got it?”

They got it. As a sort of truce, I scooted down in my seat after I turned around to give them a better view of the screen (they had been complaining about the “giants” in front of them for most of the movie). And I didn’t hear from them again.

Seriously, as much as I rant about people talking in theaters or texting on their cell phones or breathing loudly or clapping too much, I never confront them. I should, I really should, because I otherwise end up seething and thinking about what I would say instead of watching the movie. But last night I said something, and it made a difference. It was my George Costanza moment.

So I’ve decided to be The Dark Knight of movie theaters.

No more will people get away with any of that crap, because they’ll have to face vigilante justice in the form of one 5’10”, 145 lb guy with small hands and his girlfriend’s black stretch pants and shawl. Cower in fear, annoying little kids. Wait for the DVD, neglecting parents. Watch your back, guy who already saw the movie and talks about the next scene before it happens.

The Batman is here.


(This is long enough, so I’ll post my review of the movie tomorrow. In short, it’s an incredible achievement.)