I had a chance to see The Dark Knight last night, at a screening on the Warner Brothers lot. It was for employees, mostly executives and their assistants. Usually when I see movies ahead of time, it’s with LA Weekly or Campus Circle; the crowd is mostly wearing flip flops and t-shirts. Last night was a more staid affair, with most people in shirts and ties (or skirts and heels).
I won’t go much into what I thought, other than to say that the audience cheered, actually cheered, at a certain point in the movie. It’s quite a compliment to the filmmakers that this bunch of jaded studio folks could still get excited. (You’ll know the part I’m talking about when you see it.)
Screenings are free and plentiful in LA, which is why I went to a lot of them as a poor film student. Besides the movie itself, there are often guest speakers, too. I saw Kevin Spacey at a screening for American Beauty in my first month at school. I even got to ask him a question! If I recall correctly, it was something along the lines of, “Mr. Spacey, why are you so awesome?” (This was before 21, mind you.)
A couple years ago, I went to a screening of King Kong. We weren’t expecting any special guests that time; just a big monkey, some dinosaurs, and maybe Naomi Watts in a skimpy white dress. But while we were waiting in line, I heard a voice I definitely recognized. It took me a minute to place it, and then I realized it was Brad fucking Bird!
I pointed him out to my friend, who responded, “That’s not Brad Bird.”
“Yes, it is. I recognize him from my Incredibles DVD.”
“I don’t think that’s him.”
“I’m sure it is.”
It went on like this for a while, until I finally went up and asked the guy, “Excuse me, are you Brad Bird?”
That’s pretty much the end of that story. I said I liked his movies, he said thanks, the end.
In any case, my point is, if you start going to these screenings, you too can meet minor celebrities and prove to your friends that you listen to way too many commentary tracks.