Snarky Saturday: Cinema de Torture


My friend Jen, who I seem to mention in about every post, went to a blogger’s conference not too long ago, where one topic of discussion was, “Why do you blog?” There are many reasons why I blog. I’m bad at keeping a diary because I get hand cramp; I desperately want people to care what I think; I enjoy practicing writing because I dream of being published; and I live for people who laugh at my jokes.  Today one obvious benefit I had not yet considered came barrelling at me. In 3D, no less (more on that later).

Blogging gives me a safe outlet for rage.

I am one of those people who doesn’t grasp the concept of releasing anger positively (or at all). I know it’s important for your anger to be positively released, and not negatively. But I really have no idea what that means. I mean, I do, sort of. Violence is negative. But what exactly is positive anger? Isn’t anger negative (and/or) violent by definition?


As a child, I didn’t learn how to incorporate anger into my repertoire of emotions in any way. Mine was a staggeringly passive-aggressive family, whose worst offenses included slamming doors and possibly giving someone the silent treatment for a couple of days while struggling to maintain a furrowed brow. We avoided, and then we ignored.

If I ever expressed any anger as a child (which is to say, behaved in any way similar to the ways they expressed anger towards each other and other people), my parents would say, “Why are you acting?” As if to say, this is not a valid emotion. Sane, normal people don’t get angry. Why are you putting on a show?


Another adolescent rite of passage I feel I may have missed out on: I have never been in a fist-fight. I mean, even some of my sweetest girlfriends have at least cut someone’s eyebrow with their pink ice ring in the seventh grade, in order to claim some peach-fuzzed boy as their exclusive property. And rightly so, as their pecking order in the food chain depended on it. Power and greed; greed and power. The lead characters in girl-empowerment tween movies these days…they’re not afraid to kick a little ass. But when I was at that age, I had not yet felt the rage — the one that makes you do stupid shit. I was a late-to-bloom superbitch. I was too pampered to be angsty. I love that word. And I can honestly say that I’ve never had the desire to physically hurt another person. Ever.


This is why I find it so interesting that when I am exceedingly, most enraged mad, the only thing I can think of to make myself feel better is…to throw things. This occurs when I have reached that level of anger that supercedes being hurt. Hurt = tears. And those hurting tears feel good. They make the hurt more intense momentarily, so you can wallow in it and feel worse before you feel better.  Worse makes better better. But no tears could soothe the type of angry emotional explosion that makes me do stupid shit.


I tend to throw benign objects, like pillows or writing utensils, but I have also been known to shatter the glass of picture frames by violently ripping them off the wall and hurling them to the floor. While screaming. It feels so good, so right, so just in that moment, and I am intensely satisfied by the sight of the glass shards in the carpet. For about 20 seconds. Until I realize my dog is about to walk across the living room, and I have got to get that cleaned up before she cuts a paw. Even the choice of picture frames is somewhat calculated — they are easy to replace. They usually don’t hold any sentimental value.  And usually the person in the picture (or the person who took that photo) is the subject of my rage.


But I always feel really bad the next day. Now I have to go buy new picture frames. Birdy could have seriously injured herself, either by walking over or licking up pieces of glass. Why did I think that was a good idea?  Why did it make me feel better? Why did I become a thrower? What do you do when your anger is directed at someone you aren’t close to, and you have no pictures of them in your house? Isn’t the topic of “anger” just so fascinating? Even on an evolutionary level. I love psychology. I’m getting off topic.

Wow, if you’re still reading at this point, I’m seriously impressed, and you really need to leave a comment just to commemorate the fact that you made it halfway through this diatribe. Oh, yes…there’s much more. Muahahaha. If you’re still reading, you must really think I’m funny. You must really like me. Ha! I mean, I am just now getting to the original point of my post in the first place. Jeez.


All right, I’m going to tell you the story of my rage for the day. I will freely admit that a lot of this rage is probably related to PMS. It’s not an excuse; it’s an explanation. I am generally the type of person who does not get enraged unless there is some big, serious, dramatic issue at hand that I cannot stand for morally/or and philosophically. (“This aggression will not stand, man!” Love you forever if you can identify the movie.)  If said issue doesn’t fit that description, chances are good that I just don’t give a shit. Does your opinion have the potential to upset the balance of things? Usually not. Thus, usually not worth getting upset over. This is my philosophy. Sometimes, though…there is justification in raising my voice, or acting out of character, or revealing a side of myself that few people have seen. Sometimes I release onto people, and I always feel stupid afterwards. Whether it was in person or by phone or by email, I always feel stupid and guilty and ridiculous afterwards.

Okay. The thing that happened several hours ago seems ridiculous to me now that I have philosophized on the topic of anger and the human response for so long.


Jen and I went to see Coraline at the movie theater this afternoon. Neither of us ever sees movies in the theater anymore. Too expensive, too inconvenient, too loud (yes, we’re old), can’t agree with your SO on what to see, can’t agree on what row is optimal. We were swayed by the promise of 3D glasses. It does not take much to please us. Especially since, as we discovered while waiting in line for concessions, the only 3D movie either of us had ever seen in the theater was something Muppets-related at Disney World. That was back in the olden days, when 3D glasses were flimsy paper frames with colored lenses, and they didn’t stay on properly because they seemed to be designed for adult-sized craniums, and you worried whether you were seeing the right thing or if your glasses were about to fall off, and if it was really supposed to look that way, and wasn’t 3D technology supposed to be cooler than this?


The film itself was amazing. It’s based on a book by Neil Gaiman, who is sort of a horror-fantasy writer that I think is way more creative than Stephen King. Not that I’m a huge Stephen King fan. I have taken too many creative writing classes to be willing to admit he’s a relatively talented writer (albeit perhaps for the wrong reasons — money before Pulitzer). Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Haha. I liked The Shining, but that is all.


The last movie that was made from a Gaiman novel was Stardust, starring Claire Danes. It wasn’t great, but it was sort of novel, because the only thing I could think to compare it to was The Princess Bride. That film has become such a cult classic for my generation that I’m somewhat suprised Stardust was not more of a hit. Maybe it will turn into The Princess Bride for the next generation. Most people I’ve mentioned it to have never even heard of it. Which is a shame. Their marketing people must have been too old to know that my generation has lifted The Princess Bride to cult status. They could have really used that to their advantage. Anyway, I didn’t even know it was written by Neil Gaiman until the end credits. Having liked two films based on his novels makes me want to read his stuff.


All right, so I loved the movie. I loved the fact that it stimulated interesting conversation on the way home about age and parenting styles . I loved how the morals of the story were things like, “It could serve you well to be an individual,” and “Sometimes you do nice things for people you don’t particularly care for, because it’s the right thing to do,” and “Even though your parents seem like big meanies right now doesn’t mean they are big meany people in the grand scheme of things.” I realize that’s not true for all children. Some kids actually do have terrible, mean, insensitive, cruel, abusive parents. This is probably not a movie you should take those kids to.


The thing that angered me throughout the entire movie was this kid sitting a few seats away from us on the same row, who did not understand movie theater etiquette, which applies to people of all ages. And his parents, who apparently refuse to teach it to him.

1. If you don’t understand what’s happening in the movie, and you feel that compelled to ask someone else, please whisper. If you are incapable of whispering under any circumstances, you need to have your hearing checked. And rent DVDs until that shit is cleared up.

2. If you’re going to a potentially scary movie, and you’re worried you (or someone you love) might not make it to the end without soiling their seat or making at least one person question their sanity, please devise a plan for early exit with your companions so that nearby movie-watchers do not have to endure you talking yourself through the humiliation.

3. If you are a parent…please be conscious of the level of horrendous images (severed limbs, eyes sewn shut) that your child can tolerate before combusting (figuratively or literally). Act accordingly before deciding your trip to the cinema is necessary. It is entirely possible that someone else’s 6-year-old can successfully process the idea of discovering an alternate reality in which their parents are evil beings, and conversely your child will be frightened by such an improbability, considering the fact that you give them whatever they want, and they have no reason to be frightened of you or anything else for that matter, ever. It is also possible that they will be confounded beyond belief and will question you for two-plus hours on your psychic abilities to predict what will happen next in movie-land and the laws of physics which they understand to prevent much of what they have seen occur within the last several hours.


Had I not been sitting in the middle of a room full of children, I would have made my profane protestations to this inept parenting more audible. I couldn’t even muster so much as a “Shh!” when he spoke up (in his outside voice) for the 23rd time. All I could picture was irate, crazed Caucasian parents sitting in court, suing me for damages after their completely normal and well-adjusted child suddenly began throwing framed photographs around the house and questioning the physics behind life and death.

Seriously…when I was five, I knew that you were supposed to whisper at the movies. Didn’t you? This kid was way older than five. And it’s not as if he was outright defying his parents’ instructions. They just weren’t giving him any. Silence is acquiescence to a kid. Or a pet. I’m not a parent, and I don’t plan to ever become one, but I don’t think you have to have children of your own to understand that sometimes you have to draw the line and say no.

I mean it. Don’t make me turn this car around.



  1. Jen said,

    February 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    I, too, am a thrower. I have to be TRULY angry, and in my adult life, anger-related throwing has only happened a handful of times.

    For the record, I think it would have been awesome if you had thrown your Fanta icee at the kid. Heh.

  2. brooke said,

    March 1, 2009 at 9:41 am

    I. am. laughing. so. hard.

  3. Jessica said,

    March 1, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I’m a thrower too. I adore Neil Gaiman, but haven’t seen Coraline yet. I’d have been twitching if I was near that kid for sure!

  4. grantmasterflash said,

    March 2, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    “I do mind… the Dude minds. This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.”

    During two recent visits to the doctor’s office, I’ve endured the full-volume play of some cretinous little hellions. I cannot fathom how the mother could sit there and allow this while I and others attempted to read our magazines and books.

    It was different in our day, I tell ya. Our parents taught us how to act. 😉

  5. meggitymegs said,

    March 2, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Wow, I’m so proud of you guys for reading that entire post! Way to go!

    I’d like to point out that grantmasterflash’s anecdote would be The Male Experience. Whereas my diatribe was The Female Response. Same basic story. One took a paragraph. One took 20 pages. I blame the PMS.

  6. Aaron said,

    March 6, 2009 at 3:54 am

    Wow, there’s a lot there… 1st, if you’re going to love someone forever for recognizing a movie, you should probably choose a less popular movie. I’ve seen that persian rug soiled more times than I care to admit.

    And I have a newly found outlet for rage. Like Jenny, this doesn’t happen very often, but it is therapeutic. But I have a neighbor several streets over and we have a feud going on. It happens like this. I walk my 2 precious dogs every day. Sometimes we go down one street, sometimes a different way. There’s a guy who lives in some townhouses on one of the back streets who prides himself in his yard (a strip of grass between the sidewalk and road, which I believe actually belongs to the city). When I’m in a bad mood, I take my dogs by his place. They invariable pee in the same place every other dog pees, which happens to be on his ‘yard’. He then comes out of his house and we get into a knock-down, drag-out cursing match. After about a thousand fuck yous and even more cocksuckers, I feel SOOOOO much better. I usually smile for the rest of the walk.

  7. meggitymegs said,

    March 6, 2009 at 4:07 am

    I’ve seen “The Ego Strikes Back” more times than I care to admit.

  8. Aaron said,

    March 6, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Youch. touche…

  9. watcat said,

    March 16, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.

  10. matt said,

    March 28, 2009 at 2:45 am

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

  11. June 22, 2010 at 9:35 am

    […] having some anger issues lately. I’ve written about this in the past for humorous reasons. But I’m starting to realize that I have a lot of pent up anger and frustration about people […]

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