One UrbanDaddy writer and his boys went to go see the new adaptation of the critically-acclaimed, box office smash hit, It. This is what happened.
Disclaimer: this story contains a few small spoilers.
Part 1: A Strong Recommendation from Richard Roeper
Me: It all started the week before, really, when my boy Sean and I saw a special screening of Rob Reiner’s 1986 classic coming-of-age movie, Stand by Me, presented by famed Chicago film critic Richard Roeper.
My boy Sean: Roeper took a few questions in the beginning, and some guy in the audience asked what he’d seen recently that was good. And he said the new adaptation of It was “just fantastic.” That’s a direct quote.
Me: The thing that got me was when he said it was really a coming-of-age movie with a horror element. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a fan of coming-of-age movies with other elements.
My boy Sean: Same. We were jazzed. We could hardly sit through Stand by Me, which had some homoerotic undertones I never picked up on before, and I’d seen this thing five times.
Me: Leaving the theater that night all we could talk about was how much we wanted to see It. Also, the strange touchy-feeliness between River Phoenix and whoever plays the dweeby writer kid. That struck us as poignant.
My boy Sean: At that point, it was really just a matter of, okay, how can we get enough boys together to see this thing?
Part 2: Getting the Gang Together
Feelers went out to several of my bravest boys. Some were too scared; others were “working late”; others still had even lamer excuses. Eventually, though, a group came together. We settled on Wednesday.
My boy Joey: At first I wanted to bring my girlfriend. But then I thought it wouldn’t be great for our relationship if she saw me so spooked.
My boy, Ross, was especially skeptical.
My boy Ross: My coworker’s cousin had told me she’d seen the movie and couldn’t sleep for weeks. How that was possible, given the movie came out on Friday, is beyond me. Still, I was frightened.
My boy, Andrew, was a late add.
My boy Andrew: I was going to try to be productive that night but the prospect of getting spooked with my boys was simply too great to pass up.
My boy Sean: This was tough for me on a few levels. I knew I wouldn’t have time for dinner. I also knew that my girlfriend was out of town, so I’d be sleeping in our creaky loft all alone. Because of my daily water intake I get up to pee 6 or 7 times throughout the night. Just the thought of the spook-jungle I’d have to traverse all night was enough to give me pause. But then I thought: boys.
Me: I went over to Ross’s place after work to shoot some hoops. There was a whole weird argument about whether or not we’d come back to his place first or Uber to dinner and then the movie straight from the courts. I thought the former made more sense, so he could drop off the ball.
My boy Ross: To be honest I just wanted something to hold during the movie.
Me and my boy Ross got some Japanese food prior to the movie. I got a bowl of ramen and asked for it “extra-spicy.”
My boy Joey: I was honestly alarmed when I heard Sam had ordered an extra-spicy bowl of ramen before seeing a nearly two-and-half-hour scary movie. That just shows a complete lack of judgment.
My boy Andrew: It was reckless.
My boy Ross: I got a small bowl of ramen and edamame with the express purpose of not having a tummy ache during the movie. Sam, meanwhile, added “fiery” sauce to an already spicy bowl of broth and downed every drop.
Me: I do not know what I was thinking.
At 7:30pm, me and my boy Ross showed up at the movie theater and waited for the others.
Me: Ross noticed Home Again was playing at 9:20 and expressed a suspicious amount of interest.
My boy Ross: It’s true. It crossed my mind that I could bail an hour in if it was too scary and see a charming Reese Witherspoon rom-com.
Me: What struck me was how many separate groups of boys were filing into the theater. It was the first time I was really, like, wow, we’re not alone in this, anymore.
My boy Ross: There was a strange comfort in so many other people going to get spooked with their boys.
My boy Andrew, arrived next.
My boy Andrew: Ross was literally shaking by the time I got to the theater. I wasn’t sure he was going to make it.
My boy Sean came next.
My boy Ross: There’s always one kid in a friend group who wants to sleep over but then gets all fucking nervous and has to call his mommy to pick him up. That same kid is the one who you have to drag to see It, circa 2017. That kid was me.
Me: Sean was wearing a new shirt. I thought that was telling. It was like he required that extra boost of confidence.
My boy Sean: To be fair I would not have blamed Ross for dipping out to see Home Again. It sounds like a pure delight.
By 8:10pm, ten minutes after the movie was about to start, my boy Joey had still not arrived. Unfortunately, I had his ticket on my phone. I wondered aloud whether he had bailed.
My boy Joey: In truth I had decided to bring my girlfriend last minute, spookiness-be-damned.
Ticket Usher at Arclight Theaters, Chicago: This group of boys was just loitering around the entrance, waiting for their last remaining boy. Then one of them had an issue pulling up the tickets on his phone. I just told them to get in there, because they were missing the start of the movie. I knew what it was like to watch the new adaptation of Stephen King’s It with your boys, and I didn’t want them to miss out.
My boy Joey: He just looked at me and it was like he knew, deep down in his soul, that I was here to see It with my boys, never mind that I’d also brought my girlfriend. It was actually weird.
Me: That ticket usher was oddly benevolent.
My boy, Andrew: That was a ticket usher? I just thought he was another one of Sam’s boys.
Part 3: Me and My Boys See It
We came in to find the movie had already started. And it was already, very, very scary.
My boy Sean: I was in the theater all of five seconds before I witnessed a creepy clown biting a little boy’s arm off.
Me: I was discombobulated. It was supposed to be an assigned seating situation, but our seats were taken. So I was trying to find us seats but was also super spooked because a clown was taking this dude’s arm off.
My boy Ross: I was this close from simply turning around and exiting the theater.
Eventually, we found spots and settled in.
Me: My boy Andrew and I audibly screamed during the first real scare, when the chubby kid is running through the library and Pennywise calls him “egg boy.”
My boy Andrew: That was fucked up.
The scares kept coming.
My boy Ross: At one point I turned to Sam and said, This is relentless. The scares simply would not stop.
My boy Sean: Joey offered me his vape pen and I said, “what are you, crazy?” He then took a long toke right in my face and that even gave me a little spook. The scares were coming from every direction.
My boy Andrew: I was aghast at the Rock War. These kids were just throwing rocks at each other from across a small strait. It’s like you’ve got a scary clown coming after you and now you’re throwing rocks at each other, too? Take it easy.
Me: A combination of nerves, ramen and the giant beer I’d purchased from the concessions were conspiring in my tummy, to the point where I was concerned for my health and the health and well-being of those around me.
My boy Andrew: That Sam did not fart once during the entire movie is a feat of exemplary strength and focus.
My boy Ross: At one point I went up to go pee and Joey followed me. We hit his vape pen in the hallway. I immediately regretted that decision.
My boy Joey: I knew Ross would immediately regret hitting the vape pen mid-movie and yet I could not resist. Admittedly, we also got some raisonettes.
My boy Ross: Joey and I came back in and Pennywise was literally crawling out of a projector on the screen, but I could’ve sworn he was crawling through our screen.
Me: I was sitting next to Ross throughout the movie. Every so often he would turn to me with this shocked look on his face and just shake his head. It was a potent mixture of fear, resignation and residual effects of the vape pen.
My boy Andrew: I actually screamed “Holy Shit” after Bev killed her dad with the upper lid of the toilet and then the frickin’ clown came out of fucking nowhere.
My boy Sean: I was sitting next to Andrew the entire movie. After every scare his fear would dissipate and he’d let loose an insane-sounding cackle. It sort of freaked me out, to be honest.
Me: About two-thirds of the way through something clicked and I realized It was just Stand by Me with clowns and patricide. Fucking Roeper.
Walking out of the theater, me and my boys were all pretty stunned.
My boy Sean: I was scared to walk home by myself. Me and Sam roped Joey into giving us a ride.
My boy Andrew: I did, in fact, walk home by myself. I saw a lady in an electronic wheelchair rolling down the street and was sure she was going to turn into a clown.
My boy Ross: It’s only been one night but I already feel as if I haven’t slept for a week.
Me: What was there to be scared of, really? At the end of the day, It is really a story about boys staying together and having each other’s backs through thick and thin.
My boy Joey’s girlfriend: These guys are fucking pussies.