The worst job in the world

I learned a terrible thing tonight. I was chatting with Don, who is the studio rep for many of the press/promo screenings here in Portland. He’s there to make sure the screening goes smoothly, and to jot down audience comments as people file out of the theater afterward. (That last part is pointless, since everyone loves everything if they saw it for free.)

Even without the comment-writing-down afterward, he still has to stay for the whole movie, in case there’s a problem. Like last night, during “Red Eye,” a fight broke out between two audience members, a man and a woman. An actual, honest-to-goodness fistfight, with yelling and screaming and everything, right there in the aisle. Luckily, there was a studio rep on hand to get security personnel immediately. If there’d been no rep, you just know we’d all have ignored the movie and watched the fight until it had run its due course.

(By the way, if you live in Portland you probably will not be surprised to learn that the above-mentioned fistfight occurred at the Lloyd Center.)

Anyway, some movies have multiple advance screenings, to build more word-of-mouth. For example, tonight we were seeing “Four Brothers,” and it was the third time for Don. Luckily, he thinks it’s a good movie. He had to sit through “Stealth” FOUR TIMES, and that was a bad movie. And I said, “Wow, and I thought my job sucked sometimes. At least I only have to see these things once!”

And that’s when he told me: Remember “Are We There Yet?,” starring Ice Cube and two evil children? Don had to see it ELEVEN TIMES. ELEVEN!! I think that may be a violation of the Geneva Convention. I wept for Don when he told me that, and for the parts of his soul that were destroyed.