Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sugar and caffeine, therefore twitching

This post reminded me of the summer I worked at a movie theater. On commercial fountain drink machines, you can slide up the piece of plastic with the drink labels to reveal two tabs. Push one and it dispenses carbonated water to clear out syrup. Push the other tab and it triggers carbonated water and syrup. One day, I discovered that pushing on the "both" tab and pulling back on the carbonated water tab caused only syrup to be dispensed. Two seconds later, I had created what I called a Double Coke; a Coke with roughly twice the syrup.

The night I stumbled upon this was a Thursday. On Thursday nights we stayed late to watch the movies that were going to start on Friday. This was mostly for fun, but also to make sure the movies had been built up right.

See movies are split up into about five reels and shipped to theaters in metal cannisters. Then, in a modern theater, a projectionist splices the reels together on a big metal platter from which the film unspools as it is projected. Sometimes the projectionist makes a mistake though and splices a reel in upside down. So the movies have to be watched to detect such errors.

Usually the staff congregated in one theater for a particular movie. When this happened, the theater would pay one person to watch the other movies for mistakes. I was once paid to suffer through the awful Madonna vehicle Body of Evidence.

The night I created the Double Coke, a bunch of us decided to watch Super Mario Bros. For those of you who've blocked it out, in 1993 more than a few people decided that what audiences wanted was a live-action movie chronicling the adventures of Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) as they battled King Koopa (Dennis Hopper!) to rescue the Princess. They were extremely wrong and made a terrible, terrible movie directed by four different people, including Roland Joffe (The Killing Fields, The Mission).

Still, when you and your co-workers are all hopped up on Double Cokes, to the point where your hands twitch, Super Mario Bros. is hilarious. Almost as much as Cop and a Half's infamous bathroom "swordfight" almost-scene between Burt Reynolds and a small black child.

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