I have seen the movie Throw Stuff at the Screen 199 times – tonight marks my 200th viewing, and it will be extra special because it also is the movie’s 10th anniversary, which means so-called “mainstream” theaters finally will be screening it. Time to introduce the uninitiated masses to what watching this film is all about.
As with every great interactive movie, the plot is negligible: what really hooks the dedicated fans is the borderline acting, the awkward directing, the random editing, and the intrusive soundtrack. Individually, each detail is an isolated abomination, an assault upon the senses from which there is no true recovery; together, they create a terrible magic that draws in the observer like a fly to a pitcher plant, and the destruction is bliss each and every time.
My pal and I always make sure one of us brings the props, or else the viewing doesn’t count. By props, I mean the stuff we throw at the movie screen at appropriate moments (hence the title). The 200th viewing is my turn, and I fully restocked our supply: tissue packets, paper airplanes, and rubber erasers are just several of the items in our celluloid arsenal.
It takes a while for the movie to get there, but at about 30 minutes in is when it’s our time to demonstrate our devotion. Once it cuts to the blue sun in the orange sky, my friend and I throw our rubber balls, aiming for dead center and just missing them bouncing off the screen (better luck next time). I notice that we’re alone in our participation at this viewing, but no worries: the crowd will warm up to the festivities if given enough motivation by us. During my musings, I almost miss shouting “Don’t do it!” when the main character walks into a dark room, without a flashlight, where the killer is waiting, for the third time – good thing my friend reminds me with our predetermined signals (we’re each other’s backups in case of such distractions). I can’t believe it when someone “Ssh”s us – don’t tell me they’re actually watching this for the story!
After the fifth launch of our gear, we have to promise the usher that we’ll clean up afterwards and that we won’t hit anyone else in the back of the head (a rare occurrence, but unavoidable). It boggles the mind how everyone is this unaware of the requirements for watching this movie. You cannot sit through it unaided by projectiles and/or phrases to shout at it – the movie is unviewable otherwise. Once it finally ends on an abrupt cut to a peanut and my friend and I start collecting our belongings to be used at the 201st viewing, I briefly wonder if the filmmakers are depressed that their passion project has become fodder for people such as us. I then realize that I need to buy a new slingshot – I’ve had this one since my 23rd viewing, and it’s all worn out.