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Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

Last October I wrote a post about how I’m not a huge fan of Halloween. My feelings on the matter still stand and so instead of writing some sort of ~spooky scary~ post about today’s holiday I’m going to tell you all about the only time I’ve even been to a midnight screening of a movie. I mentioned it in another earlier post and said that it would be “another story for another time.” Well, that time is NOW. Get excited.


Midnight screenings seem to have always been a big thing for huge franchises, like “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” “The Hunger Games” and “Star Wars.” They know that there’s a gigantic fan base there that’s dying to see the movie, ideally before anyone else. They become huge events, full of prizes, activities and people decked out in costumes representing their favorite characters. (Hey, in a way it’s like Halloween! There ya go. You’re welcome.) But my midnight screening didn’t have any of those things, because my midnight screening wasn’t for one of those big franchise movies. It was for “Larry Crowne.”


Now before you ask, yes, the midnight screening I went to was for the Tom-Hanks-is-going-to-community-college-on-a-vespa-with-his-teacher-slash-love-interest-Julia-Roberts movie known as “Larry Crowne.” How did I end up in such a surprising and unexpected situation, akin to a middle-aged man deciding to go back to school at the suggestion of his neighbor, Cedric the Entertainer? It was simply a matter of being in the right place at the the right time, with the right people.


I was on vacation at the beach with my parents and my cousin. Usually at some point in the vacation we would end up seeing a movie at the local theater, a questionable but lovely place that smelled as much like the beach as the actual beach itself. (Since then it has become a very fancy theater with lounge chairs and assigned seats, so there.) They had a big sign outside of the theater that always listed the movies they were showing, and on this particular day one side said “LARRY CROWNE MIDNIGHT SCREENING TONIGHT.” I remember saying, “What? That’s insane! We have to do it.” Luckily, my mom and cousin are both pop culture fiends like myself and agreed to the seemingly ridiculous activity. We pulled into the theater lot, bought our tickets and eagerly awaited our return that night for the very special screening.


When we got there that evening, it looked like the theater staff were just as surprised as we were that a midnight screening of “Larry Crowne” would be a thing and that anyone, much less three women of varying ages would want attend. We were encouraged to go into the theater where the special event would occur, where a regular-time screening of “Bridesmaids” was just wrapping up. And then it was time for the big show. It was the closest I ever got to living out my dream of being the only person at a screening of a movie. I don’t count it because the poor, kind movie theater staff who had to stick around for our screening came in and watched the movie with us.


The movie itself was…fine? It didn’t really get the most amazing of reviews, but I found it to be charming. So many movies are so dark and twisty. Don’t get me wrong, I love the dark and twisty, but sometimes it’s nice to see something that’s light and fluffy and fun. To me, “Larry Crowne” was all of those things. It also has a surprisingly impressive cast outside of Hanks and Roberts, including Rami Malek, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Grace Gummer, who have all gone on to do great things in film and on TV.


So in conclusion, is “Larry Crowne” the greatest movie ever made? No. Did it need to have a midnight screening? Probably not. But did I enjoy the hell out of myself going to said midnight screening? You bet I did. Not only was it fun, but it’s also a great story I get to tell people, including all of you right now on this blog. So next time you see a sign promoting a midnight screening of a movie that most definitely doesn’t need one, consider going. It might not be as riveting as a “Hunger Games” or a “Harry Potter,” but it might end up being a darn good time.


Did you see “Larry Crowne”? Have any great weird midnight screening stories? Mad that I didn’t write something Halloween-related today? Boo-hoo, get over it. You can complain in the comments if you want, but it doesn’t really matter to me. Now before I go back to watching cheesy Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel (it’s never too soon), I’ll leave you with this…


Stay classy.