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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

dispatches from the ‘Righteous Kill’ premiere

My first movie premiere. So glamorous. Or not, actually. But that makes me sound so jaded and blasé and cool, doesn’t it: “Oh, sure, I went to the Righteous Kill premiere last night. Yeah, it wasn’t really a big deal.”

Waited a looooong time on line to pick up my tickets — way past the 7:45pm cutoff that the publicists had insisted was the drop-dead time beyond which no one would be admitted. Not so, of course — the line of folks in their party clothes was still stretching around the block of the Ziegfeld theater at 8pm (and I felt really bad for all those women in skinny stiletto heels who’d been standing on them for an hour or more). Only the people walking the red carpet got to avoid the line… and probably some of the really big-name critics. Because I was in a small screening room across the street for a 6pm screening of Igor, and someone very famous was sitting right behind me at that screening, and even though my friend Bonnie and I dashed right from Igor to the Ziegfeld, that famous critic sure as hell was nowhere in sight near us on the line (and we knew he’d be attending Kill because we overheard him talking about it). But I’m not complaining. Really. Though there did come a point at which I would have said fuck it and left and just caught the movie when it opens on Friday, if I didn’t have a deadline with one of my print outlets for a review of the film today.
We got to talking the woman in front of us on the line, who was wearing some extremely cool shoes (see, I can be girly when I want), and it turned out she was waiting for her husband, who — we discovered when he showed up — is one of those Hey, It’s That Guy actors that you always see playing cops and soldiers. You’ve seen him in a million things, but of course I can’t remember his name (his first name was something completely common like Robert or William, so I can’t even begin to IMDB him). He’d been in a movie with DeNiro before, his wife said, but he wasn’t in this one, or else, I guess, he wouldn’t have had to queue up to get in like the rest of us.

Finally got to the front of the line, and was given an envelope with my tickets, but then, when we got to the actual entry to the theater, it transpired that I had been given only tickets to the after party, and not for the screening itself. So back to the ticket-pickup, where I was handed two random tickets pulled from other envelopes for seats on opposite ends of the theater (it was all assigned seating). So I couldn’t sit with Bonnie.

I ended up sitting next to Donnie Wahlberg, who’s in Kill. But he had to leave 10 minutes into the film to catch a flight to London to promote the movie. And then when his seat was empty some suit came and filled it, and was on his Blackberry through the whole movie, just like the other suit on the other side of me — those little screens lit up in a dark theater are really distracting.

So that’s the tale of my first premiere. The (nominal) highlight was: I sat next to Donnie Wahlberg for 10 minutes. He seems nice, but on the whole, I’d rather have seen the film in the same tiny screening room where I’d seen Igor.

(Bonnie and I did not go to the after party. It was way the hell over by the West Side Highway, from which getting home afterward would have been a major pain in the ass. And it was already pretty late, since the movie didn’t even start till 8:30. Also, as my critic pal John McCarthy — of Cineman Syndicate, which runs some of my reviews — noted when I ran into him outside the Ziegfeld after, and said he wasn’t going to the party either: When would we have time to write about movies if we were going to parties all the time?)

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