Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

The chocolate bar that no one wants and it’s chocolate.

Turns out nothing's that average.
Reported on 5th of December, 2016

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

22 October 2016 @ The Mann's Chinese

-$0.30 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


This is largely about the destruction of the great Chinese Theater, but in regards to Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, when one sees the title ‘directed by Edward Zwick’, one can comfortably relax: it’s going to be average. Turns out nothing’s that average.

Never Go Back is an unremarkable subtitle, and yet the only remarkable thing about the film. No one returns to, or threatens to return to anything bad. No one is admonished to avoid returning, or encouraged to stay where they are. Pretty much everyone goes to a new place, and when they do finally return, it’s actually a good thing. Think about how hard this is. The reason the title is so forgettably something or other, is that we generally go back to something every day, twice if we forget our keys, and four times if we forget the goddamned remote that helps us find our keys. The movie tops its non-existence by not even be able to do something generic.

The Take

There is nothing to recommend this film, other than Hr. Werner Hertzog from the original, who you remember fondly throughout.
Here’s the thing about most movies. There’s a good guy. There’s a bad guy. They fight three times, and each time, one of them has to get away and they can’t kill each other until the end. Fine. Given the number of times this has been done, if you pull this off, you are a genius. The film, again like most, simply sends in henchmen and saving the main uninspiring you’re just like me baddie for last. This counts as profit because after sending four henchs whom Mr. Cruise defeats handily, they decide, strategically to send in…three. It’s kind of awesome, but…
Total Profits
…then you realize, every time the main baddie doesn’t show, it means you got at least another ten minutes left in a two hour wouldn’t merit the B-story of NCIS. Seventh season. I wonder who they could get to direct that?
Total Losses


But this is about the loss of the great, great, great Mann’s Chinese, which was not just the most original theater in Los Angeles, but just a good place to see movies. The audience was full of loud talky crazies, they’d show pretty much anything and the screen was so big I had to sit in the eighth row.

The eighth row.

I was especially sad that the crappy chocolate store was gone. They paved a parking lot and put up a mall without snacks.

I was especially sad that the crappy chocolate store was gone. They paved a parking lot and put up a mall without snacks.

I was in Los Angeles for the first time in three years, of course I was going to the Chinese, even if it did mean seeing Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Giving myself thirty minutes to get two miles, I discovered traffic, local residents’ denial that it has changed dramatically (it has), and tourists standing around photographing, well there’s so goddamn many of them, there’s no way to see the footprints. So they were photographing themselves. Looking at footprints. No way to fake that for the folks back home.

Of course the admins had moved the box office; why would you want to buy tickets at a theater? So backtrack did I with a jaw set in a clench that I hoped might act like a psychic cowcatcher. The mask of rage worked to a point. I was able to reach the box office, but the slack-jawed yerds did not magically fly into the air to either side like cartoon coyotes as I plowed through and back.

It was an augur of things to come. Or it would be an augur, if I had thought to put this paragraph at the beginning. Now it's just a metaphor, and nobody wants that.

My magic cartoon moment was ruined. but I would soon get to see the trailer for Inferno and get to fantasize about murdering everyone in the world.

That’s what Inferno‘s about, right?

But before the trailer, I thought about snacks. The pickings were slim, but then I noticed: Batman vs. Superman chocolate. The almonds symbolize destroying cities and then talking about how no one’s in them!


Six months after the film came out, the concession guy remarked, ‘About as popular as the film.’ It was a prepared remark, but he sold it. Because it looked disgusting, I demurred, but the concession guy said, ‘Just take it.’ ‘Which one?’ I asked.

‘It doesn’t matter.’

It was an augur of things to come. Or it would be an augur, if I had thought to put this paragraph at the beginning. Now it’s just a metaphor, and nobody wants that.

The augur aspect was that I would now discover that this former museum of my life had undergone a second, significantly more tragic, transformation. The first, about a decade ago, pushed the concession stand into the theater, causing it lose about twelve rows. Depressing but the remodel left the exquisitely ornate ceiling and light fixtures intact.

Sometime in the last three years, however, it was made into an IMAX, meaning less seats and, naturally, destroying the ceiling. The most beautiful place to see a movie, possibly anywhere in the world, and that’s me saying, was gone.

But here’s the great thing about the end of the world without Ben Foster not telling his girlfriend where he hid the virus. Having turned the theater into IMAX, some pride, murder or gaggle of corporate drones then decided it was appropriate to charge $21.75 for a matinee. Thus, on a Saturday, with the streets teaming with the stink of humanity (I may have mentioned that), there were seven people in the theater.

Yes, I’m aware that’s probably down to which film it was, but the idea of overpaid nitwits making things worse, getting paid more and more until the company goes out of business because of their nitwittery and then being hired to do it again was frustrating. If only there were consequences for idiotic decisions. You know, like in the movies.

And yet…

In the still cavernous yet wounded Chinese theater, as I sat down to debate whether I should photograph or eat the Batman v. Superman chocolate bar, a eighth person arrived, an older Asian woman in an inappropriate for the weather trenchcoat and dirty golf hat. She sat, promptly, two seats down from me in an empty theater, in one of those awkward lack of space-awareness moments, like when the parking lot’s empty, and the next guy parks next to you and glares, waiting for you to get out so he can get out. I smiled, and wrote in my notebook.

There’s still crazy.

There’s still hope.

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