Strange Tings A Gwan

Larisa and I spent Saturday cruising New Kingston–we went shopping at Sovereign Centre, saw The Simpsons Movie at the movie theater there, and walked all the way down Hope Road to Half Way Tree for more shopping. Here are some funny sights along the way, followed by a report of the bizarre world of movie-watching in Jamaica after the jump.

Our cab driver is, as you can see, a proud fan of the Memphis Red Sox.

The theatre was a member of NATO! Maybe the RIAA should take a leaf out of this book: make your acronym sound like a really terrifying pan-national defense league, and maybe those pesky movie pirates will finally stop downloading all them motion pictures!


And down the road, they’ll harvest your organs while you get your nails done…?


And, my favorite, which merits a medium sized picture:


This well-planned out and coherent street graffiti seems to be drawing a fuzzy, multi-directional line from oral sex on women (Don’t Bow, Don’t suck hormone) to lesbianism, cancer, and homosexuality. Who knew?

The movie theater itself was a trip and a half. Jamaica’s not super-into movies, and there’s a lot of piracy so no one really goes to the theater much. This theater in Liguanea is one of the closer ones to us, and it’s still a more-than-half an hour walk from the center of New Kingston. When we get there, it is only showing three movies and Ratatouille, our first choice, is not one of them for the weekend, apparently. We pick the Simpsons over Harry Potter and Transformers and go in…

First of all, we were treated to a full 20 minutes of movie theater announcements from the 80s–a bunch of really corny info ads on damaged film reels telling us to keep quiet in the theater. Then previews. Then more corny infotainment. Then FINALLY, finally, the movie itself. The theater was full of children, many of whom asked questions loudly throughout the movie, something that seemed to be borderline acceptable since the very strict uptown parents didn’t punish them. Jamaica has a fairly strong call-and-response culture, probably carried over from the fact that 65% of the population is church-going Christian, and this manifested itself not only in the questions but also in the display of terrifying media brainwashy-ness that was the entire theater singing along to the Spider-Pig song. Totally scary.

The other completely weird thing was that movies here have intermission. A joke in the movie is ruined when the movie blanks out and says “To be continued….. immediately” and then is ACTUALLY interrupted by theater curtains (yes, real theater curtains) are drawn over the screen. The lights come on, people go out to buy popcorn, and a few minutes later the movie starts again.

The movie itself was pretty good and had several political jabs that would be appreciated by the Free Culture crowd, though there is something very suspicious about a News Corporation film calling Disney an “evil corporation”…


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    marcusbird said,

    This is amazingly true. I’m an advocate of the “no intermission” bill 2008.


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