So on Wednesday night I made my way over to the Mall of America at about 9pm and got in line to see the midnight premier of Star Wars Episode III. I was the 211th person in line, along with my buddy Jon Gilmore.
We were waiting next to 3 Padme Amidalas, a few Jedis, a Darth Vader, and one guy dressed as George Lucas (flannel shirt, puffy vest jacket, and light-blue tapered jeans). Jon and I did our best to avoid eye contact with these folks, but it was too difficult. Suffice to say, by the time they started tearing tickets, I was holding hands with a 300-lb Obi-Wan Kenobi.
When we finally got let into the theater, we found some good seats, and thus the wait was on. We tried to bide our time with challenging movie trivia, like the “Who Am I?” game: “He sailed on the ‘Titanic’…He’s part of a ‘Gang’ in New York…”, then it shows a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio when he was about 16 and says, “Who Am I?” (I kid you not, a woman was overheard saying, “Oh, THAT’S who it is!”)
Because of some issue with the projector, the movie didn’t get started until 12:25am. While the crowd was waiting, it was really starting to get ugly – people were chanting, clapping, and shouting out in wookie languages for the film to roll. A few brave dorks ran up to the screen area and had a lightsaber duel for the crowd, which went nuts in approval. After a few minutes, however, it got old, and three unfortunate gentlemen in the front row were beheaded.
Once the movie started, I sat in my seat and enjoyed the show. As I was revelling in the amazing space battles and craptacular proclaimations of love, I began to notice that it was getting a little warm in the theater. As the minutes wore on, the temperature steadily rose. As it got hotter and hotter, the geeks in the heavy jedi gear began to sweat profusely. Soon, the entire theater was filled with the warm, heavy musk of acne-ridden Star Wars fans. It smelled like a calzone filled with spoiled butterscotch pudding and bursting with millipedes.
Did the sweaty ambiance and earthy frangrances ruin my Star Wars experience? Hardly. You’d have to gut my dog with a carpet knife to distract me from the festivities. It did, however, teach me something new. I learned that no matter how dorky somebody might look, and no matter how socially feeble they might be, they still smell absolutely awful when you pack a theater with them and turn off the AC.