I had just dropped off a car in Jackson, MS and had a few hours to kill until my next pick up was scheduled. My boss Riff had been calling me in a particular surly mood, reminding me over and over to be sure to get there on time. Seeing as how I am very punctual on my job, it was more than unnecessary to keep telling me repeatedly.
There was a movie theater near the next pick up point, and I had been wanting to see TED. It looked like a good, silly, rude, crude, and socially unacceptable comedy, and that is exactly what I was in the mood for. But when I got to the theater, TED was all sold out. It was opening weekend, a Saturday early evening show. So I decided to get a ticket for the other new movie which had opened, called MAGIC MIKE. Yes, I knew it was about male strippers, but the appeal to me was Director Steven Soderbergh. He has made many movies that I liked very much, including ERIN BROKOVICH, CONTAGION, and all of the OCEANS movies (11, 12, 13). And Channing Tatum continues to happily surprise me with his acting range. So I went.
Inside the auditorium, there were mostly women, ranging in age from early 20's up to middle-age. They seemed to be frisky and ready for fun, and I thought this might be a really interesting moviegoing experience. I went up the the very back row at the top of the stairs, where I always sit. Because if all the people who are talking in the movies are not behind me, it doesn't bother me as much. Plus if no one is sitting behind me, no one can kick my seat or put their feet up on the back of the seat next to me.
There were a few other people in the back row with me, but most of the women making up the majority of the audience were sitting closer to the screen. I presumed that they thought the nearer to the movie, the better view they felt they'd get of the male strippers in the movie.
Just as the previews of coming attractions started, a group of elderly men climbed slowly up the stairs to the back row. There were 8 of them total, and they took up most of the seats that were still available in my row. It was funny to watch them move so slowly in the dark, especially the one guy who shuffled agonizingly slowly just like Tim Conway's little old man character on the Carol Burnett Show from the 70's. I had to wonder what these old gents who looked to be in their 80's would think of this movie with young men stripping. Had they perhaps walked into the wrong auditorium at the multiplex?
I got my answer in the first scene of stripping. I heard one of them shout, "Shake it boy!"
Another old voice said, "Dance for me, only for me!"
Yet another said, "Bend over and show me where the sun don't shine, you young stud!"
Also, "Take me home and make me smile."
And finally a voice that sounded electronically modulated, like a patient with throat cancer. "Shake your moneymaker! Do it, do it, do it!" This went on for the duration of the movie, and with each new scene of stripping, these old fellows seemed to reach a new level of excitement and enthusiasm.
As for me, I thought that the movie was well made and less exploitative than it could have been. There was a good story, and surprisingly good acting performances. But I'm afraid I will forever connect this movie with the 8 old men, who came to the movies to be turned on by the beefcake on the silver screen. I almost expected them to start pulling out cash and throwing it at Channing Tatum.