Ever since I watched Lady Gaga’s documentary Five Foot Two on Netflix, I’ve been dying to see A Star is Born.
Gaga got the gig during the filming of the documentary, and I was anxious to see how it turned out. I was also curious to see her without her wacky costumes and make-up, which often detract from her beauty and incredible voice.
But the stars were not aligned for me seeing this movie, which has been in theaters since Oct. 5, 2018. A friend who initially planned to go with me in early November couldn’t make it. The Curmudgeon refused to go. My children politely declined. And most everyone else I know has already seen it.
So I did something I’ve never done before: I went to the movies alone.
I took my seat at the end of an aisle during the 4:05 show Saturday, and was stunned by the packed theater. Like me, these folks probably assumed this movie would be on Netflix by now, and they could watch it at home. But there are apparently a lot of hold-outs like me who got tired of waiting for it to stream.
I assumed I’d have the theater to myself because the film has been in theaters for three months. But no. Nearly every seat was taken. It didn’t hurt that it was a rainy and miserable Saturday in New England.
As I settled into my seat, I took comfort in the number of people who appeared to be at the movies alone. Growing up, I always went to the movies with my sisters or friends. When I got a little older, it became synonymous with date night. Few people except the most die-hard movie buffs dared to go alone for fear of being perceived as a loner.
But people do a lot of things alone today, and that’s a good thing because they would miss out otherwise. I’m always impressed by people who eat out alone, though I haven’t mustered the courage to do that yet.
As the film rolled, I began to relish being alone watching my chick flick. I could hear all of the dialog, and wondered why the woman next to me had to continually ask her husband to repeat lines. I was relieved that I didn’t have the Curmudgeon next to me making snide remarks like all of the men around me. The most irritating:
A guy in back of me: “Where do they come up with these stupid movie ideas?” during the previews about Beautiful Boy, which is based on a true story about a father trying to save his heroin-addicted son.
Another guy in back of me: “This is really starting to drag on,” about half-way through the movie.
The man two seats over from me: “Who is that guy?” about a background character. I was relieved when his wife snapped, “I have no idea!” and he finally shut up.
I didn’t hear one woman’s voice before or during the movie. We were too busy focusing on how different Gaga looks without make-up, the incredible voice coming out of her tiny body, and Bradley Cooper’s dreaminess despite his drunken ways. The guys? They felt the need to comment, perhaps because some were there under protest and wanted to make their presence known.
What I noticed watching the movie alone is that I was fully engrossed and could enjoy it because I wasn’t worrying about someone else accommodating me and suffering through something he didn’t want to watch. There’s nothing worse than feeling guilty dragging someone to a movie they don’t want to see.
There’s a great divide in what men and women want to see at the movies, and it’s gotten worse with time in my marriage. I don’t like blood, gore, war movies or action thrillers with violence. I refused to see Dunkirk despite the Curmudgeon trying to tempt me by noting it had some cute actors in it.
He went to see Dunkirk with our son and a couple of his friends. I stayed home, proud that I finally held my ground and refused to see a film I didn’t really want to see. We don’t go out to the movies much any more, mainly because we can’t agree on a film that appeals to both of us.
A recent exception was a family outing to see The Mule. I enjoyed the movie starring Clint Eastwood as an elderly drug mule and thought I might build a little good will with the Curmudgeon sitting through it. But he had no interest in accompanying me to A Star is Born.
“I have a great idea,” he said. “Go on Saturday afternoon. It’s supposed to be lousy out, so go see it then.”
When I came home and told him that the movie theater was filled with men who accompanied their wives, he was defensive and unapologetic.
“I know why it was so crowded,” he said. “There wasn’t a football game on TV yet. If you went to the later shows, you wouldn’t find a guy in there.”
I pointed out that I often accompany him to events to keep him company. For example, on Sunday morning I agreed to go with him to a nearby tennis club to watch our son compete in a match.
“Why should I go to the match when you wouldn’t go to A Star is Born?” I asked.
“Because (our son) is a star and he is already born,” he said.
“Listen, I’m not crying or holding a grudge because you didn’t go to Dunkirk,” he said. “And you were never that clear about when you wanted to go. You always just floated the idea, but never suggested a specific day or time.”
He does have a point, but I think a part of me wanted to see this film alone. I didn’t want to be distracted, and I wanted to soak it all in – everything from the love story and Gaga’s nose to the fluffy dog and the songs. I got my wish, even cried at the end.
I can’t wait to go alone again.