I figured out my movie watching schedule for the Thanksgiving weekend, and there was one glaring problem: I’d scheduled Ralph Breaks the Internet for Black Friday afternoon, at AMC Century City. This theater is in the Westfield Mall, one of the still standing and thriving shopping centers in the area, with difficult parking on a slow day. Sure maybe I shoulda priorized Ralph over Creed earlier in the week, but I’d just assumed that one of my other nearby AMC’s would hafta pick him up. But alas, short of paying for a ticket (heaven forbid I should pay for an individual movie), this was my one option. With a little luck and prayer, I could make it work, yeah?
Initially, I intended to see The Favourite after Ralph, but having gotten thru my own Black Friday shopping early, I switched it around to free up my evening. The film let out at the nearby theater earlier than expected, and I made the quick trip over to the Westfield. It was now 1:30. Ralph started at 2:00. AMC is known for 20+ min of previews, but I also had to make a quick stop at either Panda Express or Chic-Fil-A, whichever had the shorter line.
I wandered the parking lot for nearly half an hour. The signs kept pointing me to supposedly available parking spots that didn’t exist. I tried to stay moving, avoiding the rows where traffic was clearly backed up. My only hope was that I’d happen to catch someone getting into their car directly in front of me. I wasn’t gonna be that guy that plants behind a loading vehicle for ten minutes, but maybe two would be acceptible. I also didn’t care if I was trying to squeeze my giant pickup truck into a COMPACT spot. I still don’t understand Cali’s obsession with that. Big Boys like my Samwise have it hard enough.
Anyways, it’s getting closer to 2, and I try to turn down an aisle. It should be my turn to go, but the lady to my right guns it across the lane before I can make the left. Annoying. I make my way down and find uh oh, this row of traffic halts at the end, turning off into a row of halted traffic. Exactly what I’d tried to avoid. Noooooooo!!!!!! I’m thinking thru worst case scenarios if I miss my movie time. I’m too far below cell signal to cancel my reservation. Would I ever find a spot?
Just then, a woman walks up to a parked SUV in front of me. She waves at me to let me know that she’s backing out, so that I can stay put and give her space to leave (also allowing me to take the spot). I nod back at her enthusiastically and turn on my blinker. She gets in and I see the reverse lights. Now remember that lady who jumped ahead of me in line? She sees SUV lady and decides that the spot is hers. She backs up towards me, but there’s not enough space for the SUV to clear and get out. No way on earth am I backing up as she’s gesturing wildly for me to do. I consider inching forward, but decide to take the higher ground. SUV isn’t moving. Angry lady inches further and further back. I’m mentally daring her to hit my truck as my anxiety is spiking higher than its been in weeks. After a minute or two, she finally gives up and pulls forward, immediately idling in reverse to try and reverse back into the space once the car is out. Except it doesn’t work that way. SUV backs out and forces angry lady forward. I pull in. Well, I try to. It’s one of those compact spaces, and I don’t have much room. I back up and into it several times and end up less than an inch from the support beam. Still, I squeeze in without Samwise hitting anything, and I run in to make my movie (after a detour to Panda). Even after the film ended, I was still shaken up from the ordeal. I opted to stay and shop because I was gonna make the parking effort worth it (and thankfully finished just about all of my Christmas shopping).
Thanks for indulging me getting that off my chest, but as we all know this is a blog about movies and not about trying to park a big truck in a bigger city. Speaking of a big guy investigating a big place, Ralph! Picking up six years after we left him and Vanellope, the two besties have a rather sweet life of video games and hanging out. Yet something seems missing. When Vanellope’s game breaks, the two of them venture out into the vast internet to find a replacement part, and maybe a little more than they bargained for.
The film’s biggest strength is its insightful observations, which it then turns into humor. Almost the entire thing is a meta joke about the internet, calling out all its flaws and strengths as we know them. Some of it did feel a little Ready Player One (and maybe woulda therefore been more impactful a bit further removed from that film), but it’s that “funny cause it’s true” vibe that made this stand out from the other kiddie fare out there.
The internet wasn’t the only bit receiving some biting commentary. As I’m sure you’ve been hearing about, the Disney Princesses show up to have some fun with Vanellope, and they too get the insightful treatment. The statement being made about them, and they way they’re brought into the present day is so long overdue. We know I’m a Disney kid, but I’ve always had mixed feelings about those ladies. This film made me absolutely love them more than I had before. It’s perfect.
While I was waiting for the post credits scene (and yes, you should absolutely wait until the very last credit rolls), I just had to text my BFFF. The movie just made me miss him so much, and the journey we’ve had is not unlike the one that these movie besties go on. Some people are worth trekking across the internet for. This dude’s worth it (not that I’d ever admit it to him). So is Ralph.
Ralph Breaks the Internet – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/