Underground Film Journal

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Movie Review: Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels

We sat down on the sidewalk and tried to figure out what to do. We’re both really bad at making plans. Or I should say I know I’m terrible at it.

But I sort of have a bit of a problem because I’m desperately trying not to dip into my savings. I’m able to eat well and pay my rent and all my bills with my unemployment checks, but it doesn’t give me much left over for frivolous expenses. That’s what Holly and I said to each other. If both of us were financially stable we could just go find a club and go dancing or try out some strange punk band or check out a performance art event. Instead, we have to debate where can we get the cheapest meal and what will be the cheapest form of entertainment. It’s these times I feel like a horrible boyfriend. I feel like I should be a more exciting person.

Our early dates were somewhat easy cause all we did was go out and explore the city a bit since we were (and still are) newcomers. One night was especially insane. It had rained all day, so we didn’t go out until the early evening.

Friday night is the free night at the Museum of Modern Art, so at least I had the idea to take Holly there. I had already been twice but it’s fun to see free art and, as I was to discover, I had skipped an entire wing. The museum doesn’t look like all much on the outside, but it’s monstrous on the inside. We explored in full the first two floors; which is a tiring activity in and of itself.

Afterwards, it had pretty much stopped raining and we went in search of some cheap grub. Except, if you go to MoMA, you’re stuck in Midtown Manhattan and there’s no such thing as “cheap grub”. I mean, there’s “relatively” cheap, but there’s no “We-don’t-have-jobs” cheap. That’s not to say we didn’t try, though. MoMA’s on 54th St. and first we wandered up to 57th St., then we circled back down to Times Square at 42nd St. We could have gotten pizza, or there was one kind of icky Indian place, but neither option seemed appetizing.

Again, since we’re both trying not spend any money, we didn’t want to waste an extra $1.50 in subway fare to go down into the Village where we knew the cheap eats were. So, we started walking. For a boost of energy, we shared a chocolate donut from Dunkin Donuts and went in search of a burrito place listed in my guidebook on 12th St. That meant a 30 block haul downtown. To get the full picture, remember, that’s 30 blocks on top of the tour of MoMA and the 15 blocks we had just crossed to get to Times Square. By the time we got our burritos, we were so exhausted but so hungry we scarfed them down in two bites.

It’s kind of ironic that I moved to New York because there’s supposedly so much more to do than I had in Pennsylvania. But here I am with the same old problem of not having anywhere to go. The only difference is that now I have somebody to do the nothing with, so that’s making it bearable. Well, more than bearable.

Ultimately, though, Holly figured out we should go to one of those Mexican fast food places that are run by Chinese people, then go see a movie at the $3.50 second-run theater. Yeah, I don’t know, it seems like we eat a lot of Mexican food for some reason. I think because you get a ton of it and it’s very filling. For example, we both ordered a side order of chips and salsa that was so enormous we put half of them in a bag to go to chomp on in the movie.

It was kind of late by the time we got to the theater and the last movie playing was LOCK, STOCK & TWO SMOKING BARRELS. I didn’t know anything about the film except that it was about English gangsters. I had read no reviews and nobody I knew had gone to see it. But, for $3.50, what the hell, right?

Before the film started, two ushers were running a concession cart in the front of the screen. About five minutes before the movie was going to start, the ushers say they’re going to give away free drink tickets to whoever can answer trivia questions.

First question: What does AT&T stand for? “What a stupid question,” I thought. “Why don’t they ask movie trivia?” A guy sitting in the row in frot of Holly and me had the answer—American Telegraph & Telephone.

Second question: What was the name of the spaceship in the original ALIEN movie? My hand shot up like a rocket. “The Nostromo,” I confidently said. The guy who answered the first question only got one free drink. I got two. One for me and one for my woman. I’m good for some things, I guess.

LOCK, STOCK turned out to be a freakin’ hilarious movie, too. The opening seemed to be a major rip-off of TRAINSPOTTING and I initially thought, “Oh, no, here we go. Let’s be trendy and hip.” However, as the story progressed, it developed an ingenious little plot with a ton of characters that you weren’t quite sure how they were all going to come together. But they all did in clever ways.

Lots of good one-liners, some very brutally funny scenes (i.e. scenes that were funny due to the excessive brutality in them) and engaging characters. Just a good, mindless diversion that seemed somewhat intellectual, but only because all the gangsters and lowlifes all spoke with British accents. Holly and I both felt we lucked out by chancing upon such a fun movie.

Or maybe we were just happy to be doing anything that we enjoyed it. But I don’t think so. I think it was a good flick.