The Highpoint Hoyts movie that was involved has long been forgotten.
But the consequences of asking for the smallest possible soda pop drink and smallest possible container of popcorn at the concession stand have been in force for quite a few years now.
So exorbitant was the price quoted, so great the shock, that I have maintained the momentum ever since of NEVER, EVER paying for in-house moving crap.
But today I relent – only to find my own personal willpower has all the rigidity of a wet noodle.
As with our family and friends gathering at Grill’d a year before, this is a Bennie birthday celebration, although in this case somewhat belatedly.
For company, we have our mate Rakha, who was enlisted for Consider The Sauce duty in our appraisal of Yummie Hong Kong Dim Sum.
While I know it’d be easier and maybe cheaper to merely wander around the corner to the Sun Theatre in Yarraville, that simply doesn’t have the same frission or buzz for a boys’ day out.
So Highpoint it is.
And it’s Grandma’s shout!
We have preserved money allocated by her and her loving ways specifically for this purpose.
So Highpoint and over-priced movie munchies it is.
As part of some sort of mid-week daylight hours deal, all our tickets cost a reasonable $11 each.
Without being too heavyhanded, I convince the boys that the “medium 2-drink combo” at $18.80 is the deal for them.
I still consider it a ripoff, but in truth and given the outing’s context, this deal doesn’t seem too bad at all.
I utter stern words about confiscating their drinks for a while in case they get carried away with salt-inspired slurping that may require even more soft drink expenditure before the popcorn is anywhere near finished.
After we are seated, I lose it completely.
I have a mouthful of popcorn.
Before I know it, popcorn lust has completely consumed me.
And I am taking hefty slips of Bennie’s Coca Cola stuff along the way, between popcorn sorties that are tantamount to elbowing my movie mates out of the way.
It is Bennie, not I, who – while the trailers are still running – proclaims: “No more popcorn until the movie starts!”
After a few minutes, I hear Rakha mutter something along the lines of: “Hey how about some more popcorn?”
I almost whimper in full-blooded sympathy.
MORE. POPCORN. NOW.
The popcorn and soft drinks last some way into the movie proper.
I am shocked, however, by the really high amount of unpopped corn that becomes part of our scarfing as the bucket goes lower than a quarter full.
These are hard little grenades just waiting to detonate into oblivion Very Expensive Dental Work.
I go slower and more carefully.
Eventually, even the boys give it up.
As for the movie, I have done my research and the portents all look good.
John Carter has been cheerfully slagged by such august figures of the film critic world as David Stratton and widely reported as being the biggest, most expensive movie flop of all time!
Moreover, it is based on a story by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
I have been gently trying to entice Bennie from his otherwise admirable fondness for vintage period Marvel and DC comics into the sometimes noirish otherwordly realms of his dad’s fantasy and scifi interests.
I even bought a cheapo paperback version of the The Land That Time Forgot trilogy to see if he’d rise to the bait, so this flick’ll do us fine!
I am entirely correct – this is a beaut popcorn-style movie.
While we all find it hard to follow at times, we all groove on its whacko, campy mix of scifi, (wild) western, fantasy, sword and scorcery epics, Star Wars and more.
The computerised landscapes and their stark beauty evoke, for me, not just Burroughs but also the writing of the likes of Leigh Brackett and Robert E. Howard.
On the way out, I ponder once more the potentially calamitous threat posed by all that unpopped corn.
What if … one of them did its worst, with the result my dentist was heard to say: “Sorry, Kenny, that’s root canal for you – and another $15000!”
What if … that happened?
What would Hoyts have to say about it?
Does the company even have a policy regarding unpopped corn and dentistry?
The Highpoint in-house Hoyts junior management representative, Jessica, fields my queries with grace and humour – but confesses such issues are well out of her area.
She gives me the number of a Melbourne-based Hoyts media staffer, from whom I am awaiting a return call as we go to press.