I should have read the Rotten Tomatoes critics’ and audience’s reviews more thoroughly before taking Mary to “Showing Up” in Sag Harbor on a recent rainy Sunday.
Well, the seats were comfortable, but it didn’t take long before I turned to her and said, somewhat plaintively, “Is anything going to happen. . . ?”
Not that I crave action, certainly insofar as fiery explosions and rampant bloodletting are concerned, nor do I mind — in fact, I rather like — slow-paced slice-of-life films, “Living,” with Bill Nighy being one. But “Showing Up” beat all. It has now vaulted into second-place, right behind “Memphis” — a movie I took Mary to in the city some years ago that she remembers chiefly because she was so mad when I woke her up — onto my all-time most awful list.
The critics loved “Showing Up,” so who am I, an average, everyday, ordinary person, as Tammy would say, to gainsay them. I’m a paying customer, that’s who, and on our return home I found on the Rotten Tomatoes website that I had company among other moviegoers. “Excruciating,” said one. “Ridiculously bad,” said another. “Akin to staring at out-of-date wallpaper in a deceased relative’s home,” said yet another. Ninety percent of the critics liked it, 50 percent of the general public did. My antennae should have perked up at that, but the prospect of holding her hand in the dark for 120 minutes overrode any other consideration.
“I hear the pigeon’s up for an Oscar,” I said to a friend of Mary’s as we walked out of the theater. Midway through, and still with nothing having happened, I suggested we leave, though Mary wanted to stay until all the cheese at the art opening had been eaten.
We learned once back on Main Street, having been freed from ennui so enveloping that it had oddly brought us even closer together, that the rain and gloom had given way to bright sunshine. We laughed all the way home.