Dinner, a movie and a large can of martinis

Thumbnail image for al-martinez-photo.jpgI have a fantasy that someday you will be able to buy a dinner and a movie in one quart-sized microwaveable container, take it home, warm it up, pour it in a screen-sized dish and eat it along the way as you watch it.

I suspect we are coming very close to that with the current rash of dine-in movies where you watch and eat at the same time in certain comfortable theaters throughout L.A. and maybe even in Oakland. I tried it and became so confused by the combination that I felt at one point I was watching the coconut chicken tenders and eating Matt Damon.

I have the limited ability to do one thing at a time, which is not untypical of a man. I am thrown by the occasional need to, for instance, drink a beer while simultaneously scratching my crotch. In addition to which my mind tends to wander away from whatever I'm doing and/or watching and I don't know what in the hell is going on.

The other night illustrated my limitation. I took four of us to an AMC dine-theater in Marina del Rey to have dinner and watch "Elysium," a move that stars Matt Damon as a serious face. It is about a futuristic world in which, say, Malibu, a place of sweet air, clean water and rich, happy people, floats above Earth in a separate orbiting satellite, while all of the rest of us live on the ground in shacks and trailer camps and eat pizza and do not wash our hands after using the toilet.

There is a certain sameness about the movie which, I suppose, is why I began losing interest in it about halfway through my Gray Goose martini. One salvation is that you can buy booze at the dine-ins, so even if the movie is bad, it becomes tolerable while viewed through the light haze of good vodka. Every once in awhile, as I worked my way through an entrée of tenderloin tips, I would lean over and whisper to Cinelli, "What is this movie all about?" She'd reply, "Shhhh."

By the time I had taken the last sip of pinot noir and finished off my cinnamon apple crumble, the film had ended and I could ask again what it was all about. She replied that it was about Matt Damon, a beautiful young man, making several million dollars for playing a serious face. I replied that I thought I had seen it before so it really didn't matter.

"By the way," she added, "you weren't eating chicken or beef, you were eating shrimp pasta, do-do. I'm leaving you home the next time."

That's all right with me. I'll order a large can of martini and eat in.

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