Thirty-One (30 of 31)

JonMartin and I went to see King Kong at the Showcase Cinemas in Lowell on Friday night and it had to be the most frustrating moviegoing experience I’ve ever had. It was a mark of the film’s quality that, despite the people talking on their cellphones, the gang members laughing at inappropriate moments, and the Ritalin-abusing child sitting next to us who asked, when Kong slipped from the top of the Empire State Building, quite dead, ‘Why’d he do that?’ — well, it was a mark of the film’s quality that, despite all that, I still really enjoyed it. I’d gone in wondering how exactly Peter Jackson could make a three-hour movie about a giant monkey, but he truly did answer the call.

To steal and paraphrase a line from the film, it was beautiful.

Also, stuff blew up, Kong fought dinosaurs, and disgusting worm-like creatures swallowed Andy Serkis’s head. Oh, and Kong threw one biplane into another. Really, it was the sort of film that little boys dream of making, the kind of story you tell to yourself when your playing with your action figures all by yourself on your lonely front lawn. Except that it had heart, too.

With moviegoing on the brain, I present to you the penultimate throwback entry in the Thirty-One series, a memory of another evening Jon and I spent at the movies, one on which we bumped into someone we hadn’t seen in ages.

A Visit With Andy

When JonMartin and I were headed to Lowell to see Terminator 3 he made a prediction that, since he had been back in the country for over a week, it was about time for him to bump into Mr. Andy Hicks — our former guitar player and present radio god at WBCN in Boston. As we were departing the movie, which was quite okay, Jon’s prediction came shockingly true. There, standing across the way with a couple of friends, was the one and only Andy.

The ensuing hanging-out that took place has nearly wiped all of my memory of the film we saw away. I realized later that it had been nearly five years since I last saw Andy. Though I was initially nervous that maybe he had been reading this page not taking kindly to it or something, I was eventually set at ease by the coolness of the cat I’d come to know as my friend in years gone by.

We talked for a very long while in that hallway in between the theater we had come from, which was showing T3, and the theater they had come from, which was showing LXG. Before I go further I should note that “they,” in this case, refers to Andy himself, two female friends, and the slightly wiser and older authority figures for one of the girls — or at the very least they were the people she’d arrived with. I don’t recall their names. Even if I did, I wouldn’t be sure of them because I’m bad with names the first time I meet people.

I think the ushers were looking at us funny as Andy and I discussed music and theater and JonMartin discussed Middle English with the wiser older female authority figure who had a very unique name which I cannot remember. I should also probably stop using the term authority figure, because in spirit she and her male counterpart seemed to be more like older versions of ourselves than servants of “The Man” sent to keep us down.

So, I was saying that the ushers were looking at us funny and they were and eventually we moved on to the 99 Restaurant just down the street from the theater. There we had much more interesting and jovial conversation. At some point they were talking about the Bush administration and how the press was handling the whole “intelligence” thing in terms of the CIA and stuff and evidence of weapons and ‘Did we know this?’ or ‘Did we know that?’ and all that nonsense. Someone said something to the effect of, “They have all this intelligence coming in,” and I, seeing as I had been mostly quiet and felt the need to finally interject, said in response, “Yeah, they have all that intelligence coming into the White House and no intelligence coming out of it.”

Needless to say, everyone roared. They thought I was pretty cool since when I did talk I said funny things.

There was more talking half in and half out of the rain outside the restaurant after that and then we all said our goodbyes. Jon and I did some driving around the old haunts and then we hit the one sour note of the night — his car started being funny. Hopefully it will be okay and hopefully it will now dampen his spirits too much, for just before the car’s mishap he had confided in me how much he needed a night out amongst interesting and lovely people.

I had needed it too. I, certainly, had needed it too.