As soon as I walk up to the flagship Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, it is very clear to me that I am doing something important for America. Police officers and security staff stand guard outside the building. Local news reporters are ready and waiting to ask filmgoers questions like "Why are you spending your Christmas watching this movie?" and "Shouldn't you be spending the day with your family?" Luckily, I thought ahead and dragged my parents along with me, because it's the holidays.
Once inside the theater, we are greeted with an array of little American flags and even more news cameras. The place is in a tizzy. Reporters awkwardly push their cameras in the faces of people in their seats, waiting for the movie. Conveniently, the bright lights from the cameras help illuminate the drink menu a little better. I opt for a Bloody Mary in lieu of their drink special, the "Supreme Leader Rita", because it's only 1PM, and I have class. I quickly become distracted by Seth Rogen and James Franco's "Bound 2" parody, which is quickly followed by a series of North Korean anti-United States biological warfare children's cartoons.
I momentarily panic. Is something bad happening for real?
When I step out briefly to head downstairs, I am greeted not only with more newscasters, but now several firemen. I momentarily panic. Is something bad happening for real? Nobody will tell me what's going on, but I see a fire truck outside. More firemen come in, carrying large tools. It turns out the elevator is stuck, which is weird, because I have never even seen someone use the elevator here. Crisis averted.
Once the situation becomes clear, the cameramen quickly find something else to focus on: Tim League, owner and founder of the Alamo Drafthouse has made his entrance in the lobby. He talks to several journalists about the extra security they have in place (though the police officers I had previously seen standing outside have now disappeared), and how this is all about "freedom of speech, freedom of expression." He says he feels proud to be a part of the film's hard-fought distribution.
"You can only get this in a democracy, my friend."
League then disappears — apparently to make a quick outfit change, because when he reappears he's onstage wearing an American flag onesie, throwing prizes out into the audience. He invites 16 "true patriots" on stage, by which I mean he bribes 16 people with Budweiser and Four Loko ("you can only get this in a democracy, my friend") to come sing Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" (which he calls "our true national anthem") with him. "You guys are true American heroes!" he praises. This is shaping up to be the best Christmas ever.
After a quick preview of the Entourage movie, The Interview finally begins. I won't rehash what you can read in other reviews, but I will say that the movie itself is much more entertaining with a large group of people than it would have been otherwise. Also, there is an extremely adorable puppy who is easily the best character in the film. Audience members cheer and wave their tiny American flags throughout the film. I think a "U-S-A" chant might break out towards the end, but it never does.
The movie ends, and I can't help but feel like a true patriot. I have done a service for my country. I'm not sure what that service is, but I've definitely done it. And it's pretty clear everybody else there felt the same way.
"It blew away our expectations, and a dictator!"
"We were staying home anyway, so we decided to come see this. But also, like, freedom of speech."
"Did you know the FBI admitted North Korea wasn't behind the hack and it was just some guys who ended up doing it?"
"To us it was important to come see it in theaters to show them we're not afraid."
"It was funny."
I have done a service for my country. I'm not sure what that service is, but I've definitely done it
A reporter stops the man next to me. "At what point did you realize this was an American movement?" he asks.
"I just wanted to see the movie."
Great response, random dude. You're blowing this for America. It's like you don't even care about this country.
"Could you feel the patriotism in there?" another reporter asks.
You know what? I could. I really could. Because there's no truer form of American patriotism than the kind that involves being as lazy as possible. Bonus points if beer is involved.