Max Payne

The joys of the Mann Agoura Hills 8

A movie made enjoyable by the act of completely ignoring it.
Reported on 26th of October, 2008

I love the Mann Agoura Hills 8. Not counting the extremely lame Malibu Twin, which has seats up to six feet away from the screen, and no left aisle, which I’m fairly sure is illegal, and totally sure is annoying, the Mann Agoura Hills 8 is the closest theatre to my house, but more importantly, no one ever goes there.

Max Payne

21 October 2008 @ The Agoura Hills 8

$1.50 or, if one must be prosaic, and one must... 
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆


When Return of the King came out, we first tried the Calabasas 6, since it had an earlier showtime (9:30a), and, much more importantly, a Cold Stone Creamery in the complex. I like to pre-sweeten my peanut M&Ms with a little ice cream. We were sad, briefly, since the film was sold out for two days straight. Driving home, we thought, we’ll try the 10:20a at the Mann Agoura Hills 8, but they’ll be sold out too.

It was half full on opening day.

Half full.

There will be more on the Agoura Hills 8 in the future, but as I have said many times, and will continue to say forever, when you’re really good, you get to see a movie by yourself. It’s the best feeling in the world. You may as well just take all your clothes off and bask in the glow of the screen. To be clear, may as well.

What’s less fun than seeing people in slow motion shooting each other? Not seeing it.

I’m not a little proud to say that I’ve seen every video game movie in the theatre. This includes, but is not limited to, Super Mario Brothers, Double Dragon, all the Mortal Kombat films, all the Resident Evil films, all the Alien v. Predator films (a video game based on two films, which then became a film (series) based on neither), and the entire, that’s right, the entire Uwe Boll oeuvre. Not many people have a Postal ticket stub, but I do. More on the misunderappreciated Uwe Boll later.

In any case, I was fated to see Max Payne. This was not a case of free will – at this point it’s can only be called a compulsion. I am nothing, if not a completist. Given the enthusiasm of my friends for this venture, I would also be seeing it by myself. And if you’re going to see a movie by yourself, this is the way to do it: really by yourself, in an empty theater. It’s so…regal.

The film itself. I think it’s about Valkyries that aren’t really Valkyries or something. The point, by the way, of having an elaborate alternate universe that no one believes exists at first is that eventually that the characters will believe that it exists. If it turns out to be a hallucination from a drug that apparently implants you with 7th C. viking mythology, well I’d rather see a movie about the drug trial. I mean, did they reject the drug that made you hallucinate the Celtic Christian ethos because the tattoos weren’t cool enough?

Unfortunately, I’m making the movie sound way more interesting than it is. The charm of Max Payne is that the video game was based on the bullet time bits in The Matrix. It was a character who could freeze time and shoot guys, which can be vaguely fun if you’re playing the actual game. It would have been less fun seeing it, but, oddly, the bullet time concept does not show up in the re-re-translation back to film. What’s less fun than seeing people in slow motion shooting each other? Not seeing it.

There wasn't even anyone there to tear the ticket.

There wasn’t even anyone there to tear the ticket.

And, being bored at a film that really should have been about 15 minutes long (family is killed, Max, very, very slowly finds out it was the one person that it couldn’t possibly be), I got to call all the people that should have been seeing it with me. There is no greater joy than calling someone in the middle of a film and describing it to them. Or talking about something else. At some point in the conversation, Chris O’Donnell shows up, looks ominous, and then disappears. You may remember Chris O’Donnell from the misunderappreciated Head Cases, which held the record for quickest cancellation of a TV series (2 episodes), until the execrable Quarterlife (1 episode) That’s going to be a tough record to beat, but when it happens, I’ll be there.

The point being that Max Payne is a movie that is made enjoyable by the act of completely ignoring it. While carrying on a conversation, I not only understood everything that was going on (Beau Bridges is evil; he does, after all, work for a corporation, some of which own movie studios, that make movies about corporations being evil), but found a level of transcendence that was just the right amount of attention to make the movie, well, distracting. So if you’re buying your ticket, bring your cell phone.

And leave the ringer on. As high as you want, Timmy.

As high as you want.

The Take

Injectible Viking Mythology
Being the Only One in the Theater
Total Profits
Basing the Video Game on The Matrix
Basing the Film on the Video Game Based on The Matrix
Not Using the Only Thing You Stole from The Matrix in the First Place.
Total Losses


Thoughts on Max Payne

  1. mike says:

    This means that you were the other person that saw Bloodrayne in the theatre as well? You must’ve heard of the crazy booking snafu, which is why it only played in Culver City and the ikea parking garage Burbank 6 theatre. After seeing that, I’ve decided that Uwe Boll films are hard to enjoy in the theatre. I think it’s because there are so few people there, it’s not like the theatre is roaring with laughter. And the people are too far apart to make jokes to one another…

  2. Scott moviegoer says:

    I was there – hopefully have the ticket stub up soon enough. I love both those theatres very much, probably for the reasons that they’re so unpopular. And few people did not stop the audience from greatly enjoying In the Name of the King: a Dungeon Siege Tale at the Highland Park 3, which is basically a step below a porn theatre.

    Uwe Boll deserves his own film festival. Until that day…

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