Watching Schindler's List

by Charles Miller on December 2, 2001

Inspired by shut the fuck up and watch a movie which was linked to by lonita, I present my wonderful movie-watching story. A couple of you will have already heard this, it's one of my more commonly told tales.

Schindler's List

It was the day after "Orientation Day" in 1994, my second year of University. Orientation Day is when you go into University the Friday before classes start, sign your name up for various clubs, and then spend the rest of the day in the pub catching up with the true meaning of University life - drinking heavily. (For our American viewers, the legal drinking age in Australia is 18. My birthday being in December (or to be more precise, tomorrow) this was the first opportunity I had not to worry about being thrown out of the tavern. For most of first-year, my friends had this joke where when I'd been too annoying, they decided it was my round and sent me to the bar, knowing I'd get thrown out. Anyway...)

I arrived at University at 10am, mainly because I didn't have my own car at the time, and that was the latest I could get a lift in. On arrival, I ran in to Simon Dean, who I had known from high school, and we decided to start early on the whole drinking thing. Being penniless students, the only choice of poison if we were to still be able to afford beer later when the tavern opened was a substance known as "goon". Goon is a Western Australian term for the kind of wine that is so bad, it is sold in six-litre cardboard casks. It is so bad that the only way to consume it is to mix it with lemonade. As such, it is a long-time favourite of winos and students.

I've strayed somewhat from my point, so I shall fast-forward to some time that evening. Or perhaps late that night. I had finished the goon. I had spent most of the afternoon in the pub. I had then gone with my brother to the University Dramatic Society party, I think. Or maybe that was the end of year party later. I did this sort of thing rather frequently at University. The point is that I don't really remember much, so let's fast-forward to the morning after.

Headache. Nausea. A strong urge to strangle anyone speaking higher than a whisper.

I stayed in bed most of the day. My mother, thankfully, was rather sympathetic. She gets much worse hangovers than I do, with sufficient frequency that she didn't really dare make fun of mine. And anyway, she's far too nice not to be. She did, however, get rather impatient with me as my moping around looking green and pale stretched on into the afternoon. It was her suggestion that we go to the movies.

Probably entirely unsuitably for my state, we decided to go see Schindler's List.

The movie was awesome. It really was. I could quite see myself having been spellbound through the entire thing, it was that good. Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed that luxury. There were two octogenarians behind me, grey haired women that I can only liken to the Monty Python "pepperpot characters". And they talked through the whole fucking movie

Oooh! Look, that girl's wearing a red dress!
But why is everything else black and white?
Who was that person again? Was he the bad person from the other place?
Ooh that was close!
Do you think that's a gas chamber?

I hate people who chat during movies. You are not in your lounge-room watching a video, nobody else around you knows who you are, or cares what you are saying. What you are doing is disrupting an experience that everyone about you paid a premium for. Once upon a time, I went to a cinema next to a concert hall, and because of the bass bleeding through the walls from the Metallica concert that was on that night, I got a free ticket to another show. If you talk throughout a movie, you should be forced to buy everyone in the cinema a ticket to another movie, as compensation.

I tried everything. There's a patented Miller glare that usually works so well in cinemas, passed on from my father to my brother and myself. I used it many times through the first act, to no avail. I was tired. irritable. headachey. still a little nauseous. I turned around and hissed at them in my most aggressive tone: "Will you please shut up?"

There was silence. Blessed, blissful silence, but for Ralph Fiennes and the John Williams score in front of us. Joyfully, they had stopped their chatter.... Then...

Is he drunk?
Oh no, they're going to shoot them!
No they'll get away dear...

I wanted to wait around after the movie and give them a piece of my mind. My mother dragged me away, and luckily for them, I never saw the two ancient movie-goers again.

Very luckily for them.

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