Monday, December 05, 2005

Down in front

My wife Kara and I finally got with the times. We just came back from seeing the movie “March of the Penguins,” which everybody else waddled into several months ago. One thing is for sure -- that movie has forever changed the way I look at seals. I used to think seals were all cute and cuddly, balancing beach balls on their noses while clapping and saying, “Ork, ork, ork!” The truth is that they are actually bloodthirsty beasts, many-toothed devourers of cute little innocent penguins. The only thing that sets seals apart from nature’s other ferocious carnivores is that I’ve never seen Steve Irwin wrestle a seal.

The seal in “March of the Penguins” was the scariest movie character since Samarra in “The Ring.” I think I’m going to have Kara check for seals under the bed before we go to sleep tonight. Or maybe I’ll just rub some tuna on her slippers.

Morgan Freeman, who did a fine job narrating the film, kept saying that “March of the Penguins” was all about love. I found it to be more about penguins. Perhaps there’s more love in the unrated DVD version.

Regardless, anyone who’s seen the movie, which features numerous scenes of penguins using their stubby little legs to trek seventy-five miles back and forth from the sea to their Antarctic breeding grounds, most likely stopped complaining about their commute for a couple of days.
We saw the movie on a whim at one of my favorite places in the world – the second-run, cheap seats theater. For two bucks, you can see all those movies that don’t quite seem worth ten bucks to see at the real theater, but still seem worth wasting two hours of your life on, like every movie with Will Ferrell in it.

The thing I love best about the cheap seats theater is that when a seat breaks or has something nasty spilled on it, they just throw a trash bag over the seat and move on with life. Also, they don’t waste money on things like heat, which helped to bring the Antarctic experience that much closer to home. It’s like the cheap version of IMAX – when you see your breath and you can’t feel your fingers, you really feel like you’re right there beside the penguins.

Our most memorable cheap seats experience came the day that Kara and I made the severe miscalculation of going to see a Harry Potter movie during a Sunday matinee. The theater was overflowing with little wizard wannabes, who would have done well to have studied up on the spell for, “Open a bag of Skittles without sending the entire contents bouncing across the theater floor.”

About halfway through the movie, a baby started crying. A normal muggle father would have simply taken the baby outside, but this one was not normal. For a good fifteen minutes, the baby tested out its new lungs in creative and ear-shattering ways. I have no idea what happened in the movie, but it was well worth my two bucks to watch the theater patrons slowly turn into an angry mob. One mother started taking up a collection, offering to head over to Kmart and buy them out of pitchforks and torches.

Finally, someone from across the theater politely asked, “Sir, could you please take your baby outside?”

The man stood up with his baby in his arms, proceeding to unleash a string of obscenities that would have made a pirate blush, making clear his intention to stay, while giving a free vocabulary lesson to dozens of children. Those words should only be taught to children by a parent who is trying to fix something.

The movie kept playing as an army of theater employees came to evict the man from his seat. We missed the whole movie and were out two bucks each, but sometimes you get more entertainment than you pay for.

You can throw popcorn at Mike Todd’s head online at


  1. I haven't seen MOTP yet. I was going to take my daughter.... who is an EXTREME animal lover.. but someone told me it might be to sad for her. I'll wait til it's on PPV later this month to buy it and watch it then.

    I have an invisible baby that follows me to every, single store I ever go to. I'm in the store about 5 mins and it starts screaming. I'm not making this up.... I really think it's out to get me.

    Funny, funny post!

  2. Ah the dollar movies...I remember those when hubby and I were dating. We could drink beer at our favorite place.

    but still seem worth wasting two hours of your life on, like every movie with Will Ferrell in it. I am glad someone else feels this way about his movies!!

    And big Woo Hoos to you for mentioning Harry Potter!

  3. So you're afraid of seals...join the club.

  4. Funny. I was going to see H.P. I think I'll wait week or two.

    By the way, I believe the skittle spell is: pronto-ca-pe. (anagram for eat popcorn)

  5. Dang -- y'all got plays on words and anagrams and what not. I can't compete. Ha. Thanks for dropping off your kids in the pool. Of comments.

  6. This was hysterical... once again.
    Reminds me of this joke a friend told me...
    "Soooo.... this seal walk into a club and..."