Here is my official unofficial report from the Trilogy Tuesday event in Mobile, Alabama! Fans from all over the area came together for what was truly an amazing experience. This is my story of the Mobile event; if you were there and want to add anything (stories, photos, etc), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and well add them to the report!
My day began at
7:30 am. Despite my best efforts to stay up late in preparation for tonight’s festivities, I was so tired from driving all weekend (Pennsylvania to Alabama, woot!) that I wound up falling asleep at 10:30 pm and am now wide awake. Ah well… I’ll just have to caffeinate myself heavily to make it to ROTK. I imagine once it starts I won’t have any trouble staying awake!
8:30. I give up trying to go back to sleep and instead decide to put together a trivia contest for the show. Rummaging through my accumulated LOTR stuff (from conventions, oscar parties, etc) produces two WETA orc medallions (yes, theyre collectible, but they really dont go with my décor), a couple of hundred TORn bookmarks, a few luggage tags, one Saruman and Wormtongue miniatures set from Games Workshop (see above about collectible, but not useful), three Two Towers creatures books, and a partridge in a pear tree. Just kidding the last prize is an extra copy of The Peoples Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien (dont worry, I didnt give away my autographed copy!). I make a dozen Frodo Lives buttons and add them to the pile, whose size leads me to two inescapable conclusions:
1. I have accumulated way too much LOTR stuff.
2. I need some hard trivia questions.
Off to TORns trivia contest (in Greenbooks) for the questions! Everything into a bag and I am ready to meet my line party for lunch.
11:30. I meet Heather, our line party leader, and her daughter Brittany, who impresses me with her encyclopedic knowledge of the films, at the restaurant. We are joined later by Clark and Stephanie, and the five of us geek out happily for an hour and a half (all wearing our TORn shirts go us!) until I get a phone call from my sister informing me that the theater is already seating, an hour and a half before FOTR starts!
Luckily, the restaurant is in the parking lot of the theater, and so we are able to get checked in and seated within about five minutes. The theater (well, probably actually New Line) has provided passes hung from lanyards, which are universally acclaimed as a Good Thing as they make it extremely easy to leave for bathroom and snack breaks. My sister Sarah and our friend Caitlin have saved me a great seat in the center of the second row of the stadium seats and we settle in for the long haul.
1:30 pm. The theater is already three-quarters full and the movie isnt starting for another 45 minutes, so I decide its time for trivia! Heather comes down to help me and we manage to get rid of all the stuff in short order. The crowd is even geekier than Id expected and there isnt a single question that SOMEONE doesnt know the answer to (though the classic How many teeth does Gollum have? does take several guesses).
The funniest moment, however, is when we ask What actor plays Faramir? and before I can call on one of the people with their hand raised, someone positively screams DAVID WENHAM! obviously a committed fan! We hand out all the big prizes and then pass out all the remaining bookmarks and buttons. Everyone seems to enjoy it, and as usual the mention of TORn elicits a huge cheer!
1:45. My fifteen minutes at the front of the theater have made me a fairly visible target for the reporter for the local newspaper, who wants to interview me for an article about Trilogy Tuesday. I successfully manage to pass him off to Heather (though he did corner me later, drat) and spend a few minutes getting to know my seat neighbors.
Wilson and Matthews (I swear these are their first names, I double checked) drove in from Birmingham, Alabama about three and a half hours away and Brad and Steve have come in from Rome, Georgia a six hour drive! Their markets (Birmingham and Atlanta) sold out too quickly for them to get tickets and so they made plans to drive down and join us instead! We commiserate about long drives and the lengths (literally!) we will go to for LOTR.
2:00. A local gym has donated free daypasses to give out to audience members. Some of us have a good chuckle about what is either a brilliant marketing move (target the sedentary geek population) or an absolute waste of time (see above). After those make the rounds, the manager of the theater comes down to brief us on the schedule for the next twelve hours. The plan is: movie, food, movie, mingle, movie, get free stuff from New Line, go home.
2:15. The Fellowship of the Ring begins. Massive cheering at the Lord of the Rings title this is the great thing about seeing films like this on opening night, the audience really gets into it! I note several places when seeing it on the big screen really makes a difference; for example, I can actually see the midges in the Midgewater Marsh on my television, I sort of have to imagine theyre there (Ringers with humongous televisions can just ignore that bit).
6:00. FOTR ends and food arrives. Barbecue sandwiches, yum! A local radio station drops by to give out t-shirts and light-up ring necklaces and for a few hectic minutes, the theatre looks like Mardi Gras (a Mobile tradition) as everyone screams and yells for the free stuff.
6:30. The Two Towers begins. Cheering again at the LOTR title and at the end. This is my first time to see the Extended Edition; graduate school being what it is, I havent had a chance to buy it on DVD, so I ooh and ahh and gasp at all the appropriate moments, prompting chuckles from my neighbors who have obviously already worn out their DVD copies.
10:00. TTT ends and the theater decides to get in on the free stuff act by cleaning out the poster closet and giving away several dozen movie posters. I experience one of the happiest moments of my life when I discover that this theater sells espresso drinks I am a mocha addict and I really need the caffeine, as it is approaching my bedtime! While I am away securing the caffeiny goodness, the radio station guy comes back and gives a prize to the fan who traveled the longest distance my friends from Rome lose out to a fan from Finland!
I chat with several TORn fans in the lobby, including some I met at DragonCon hi again guys! A representative from New Line (at least we assume thats who she was) comes and reads a statement about the collectible giveaway at the end of the film, warning us to proceed in an orderly fashion to get our film frame which seems a bit hasty, as Ringers are probably the best behaved fans in the world, but we nod politely anyway. Finally, after a few false starts to get the film focused and framed correctly
11:00. The Return of the King begins. This isnt a review, so no spoiler worries, but I will say that I cry like a little girl for the last twenty minutes of the film. Truly deserving of every accolade it receives. The biggest cheer of all when the credits begin to roll what a journey for us all!
2:30. The final credits roll by and I only just now realize how tired I am. I wish my new friends a safe journey home, collect my film frame thingy from New Line, and drive home. Somewhere along the way I realize what an amazing experience it was, and how lucky I was to be able to take part in it.
Mad props to:
- Heather, for coordinating this and Wednesday nights line party.
- Caitlin, for physically driving to the theatre and getting the tickets on October 9 when Fandango.com broke.
- Brad, Steve, Wilson, Matthews, and probably countless others for truly going the distance for LOTR.
- Everyone who brought pillows. You are smarter than me.
- The staff at the Wynnsong 16. You guys were absolutely amazing. A better-planned event one couldnt hope for, and a more courteous and understanding staff one couldnt even imagine.
- Sideshow Weta, for the nifty film frame collectibles.
- New Line, for your commitment to the fans.
- PJ and everyone involved in the films. There arent words, so Ill just have to say: thank you.