Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sex And The (Lagos) City

Blimey, it’s June already! So much has happened this year, and I just had to propel myself out of my self-inflicted anti-blogging mode and get back into the “blog” of things. I have lots to post, but let’s start with the most pressing topic on my brain at the moment; the Sex in the City movie!! This is a review as well as the experience endured in the process of trying to see this movie yesterday – The Lagos experience.

First off, kudos to the Silverbird Cinemas people for making sure they brought the movie to Nigeria and it was being released here the same day as it was in the UK, United States and every other major city in the world that’s filled with Sex (Carrie and co.) crazed fans. And I might add, that makes Lagos a major world city, whether that’s acknowledged internationally or not is another issue entirely. But this weekend, we Lagosians were proud world citizens.

So, back to the actual experience. My dear friend BDZ, aptly planned a themed party-gathering type social event around the movie. Just like several groups of girlfriends around the world were getting together with limo Sex In The City –themed parties, BDZ planned a champagne cocktail party at the Silverbird theatre for a whole bunch of people, along with text messages instructing us to dress up fashionably conscious and like your favorite Sex* character – or whom you think yourself to be most like. Personally, I think I’m most like Miranda with inner specs of Charlotte and Carrie. But I’d say 70% Miranda. Anyway, getting all excited in anticipation for this excuse to be socially “among”, I tried to gather as many of my friends as possible to be part of this exercise, and you can imagine how tough that was, I don’t really have that many friends in Lagos. After all, the whole point of Sex* is the relationships we have primarily with our girlfriends. And the friends of mine that truly fall into that category for me are all scattered on a couple different continents you see. Nonetheless, I tried to gather a few of my good ones living here in Lagos and classically, they each fell out of the plan, due to one excuse or the other. ND dropped out, because she was pissed she’d lost her diamond pendant the night before, so she definitely was in no mood for camaraderie (and I don’t blame her), and AP had babysitter issues and couldn’t leave her kids, and BIM (my favorite cousin in law) had exams the following day, so as all smart girls should, she prioritized – “exams over Sex*”. I don’t know if I would’ve been so graceful. So as a result, I ended up going by myself as I couldn’t bare to wait another day while the rest of the world watched and had they’re fill. It had already been 2 days since it opened, and I couldn’t wait another. Tried to see it on Friday, the day it actually opened, drove my zealous self to Silverbird to try to reserve tickets for the evening showing, got there and was told that the movie was “on ground” and at the “airport” but not yet actually in the theatre yet. Hilarious bordering on the ridiculous. But for Carrie, I rose above those issues and faithfully pressed on. Then I was told by the ticket agent that he’ll “personally” try to reserve tickets for me and will call me in a couple of hours to confirm. Then I got a call from ND that she heard Nike Oshinowo was having a red-carpet event to commemorate the opening, which I took to mean that she took it upon herself to have a “Sex in the City Premiere” event in Lagos. O-K, I thought to myself in exasperation. Nike is about to cramp my style and possibly make it impossible for me to get tickets on the opening day. The mere thought of my sister and friends watching it in the States before me, made me want to bite somebody. Myself at this point. In any event, all attempts to watch Sex on Friday went up in pink hazy smoke (smoke is already hazy, right? Whatever). With my tail between my legs, I went home and looked forward to watching it on Sunday (yesterday) instead along with BDZ’s posse event.

Fast forward to Sunday. BDZ had reserved and gotten almost 60 tickets for a bunch of people for the 5pm show. But champagne and small chops were in waiting beforehand and a critical analysis party to discuss the movie afterwards. I got there at about 4.30pm (rushed there actually, as I wasn’t for any reason not going to get a good seat or miss a minute of the movie starting) and a section beside the popcorn stand had been quardroned off for “us”. I got there to meet with a thick diva stink in the air, girls checking out other girls (uniquely Naija style), designer bags looking like designer weapons and ladies looking Carrie/Samantha/Miranda/Charlotte-ified. I guess that was the whole point. And I admit, I wore a floaty wrap dress with a flower in the corner, casually over jeans, as I imagined it was the type of outfit Miranda would wear. And in the movie, I even had a similar hairstyle to hers (except my hair color wasn’t ginger ;-) ). There was a photographer arranged and waiting and after feeling starred down enough and just totally outta place with the vibes, I decided to quietly get my popcorn sans champagne and chops and go into the theatre to get myself a good seat and wait.

Drama in the theatre. It turns out that a few girls from Team Champagne had gotten the same idea and had decided to come into the theatre to sit and wait. Made sense as it was 13 minutes to 5 and the movie was meant to start at 5pm. I sat in the 2nd row from the top and it turned out that BDZ had originally reserved the top 3 rows for Team Champagne, but due to poor communication on the part of the cinema folks, nobody was manning the area to make sure that other people don’t sit there and the said tape (which I didn’t see as of the time I got into the theatre to sit down) sectioning off the area had been broken and regular people sat there. By the time I got in, the first row was fully packed and seated with people. The manager now comes in to tell the seated folk to get up as those seats had been reserved. They refused to get up, saying that they were not told of any such thing. I’d imagine that other regular folk who walked into the theatre to be seated “on time” before the movie starts, did not see the tape either and proceeded to sit in the top rows as they pleased. With random comments flying across the theatres as people expressed their disgust at the notion of being told to stand up for reserved seats for a special ‘lot’ of people and daring the cinema staff to not show the movie, 5pm finally rolled round and the previews to the movie started. By the third preview, all of the sudden the screen went blank and the movie was turned off. In true Naija fashion, you can imagine the uproar that ensued. The movie had been halted because of the seating issue for Team Champagne, and as a former team member, I sat down to watch the drama unfold. The manager finally comes in again, using a microphone to tell the theatre, now chuck full of people, that the first 3 rows had been reserved and the random people sitting there should please get up for Team Champagne and that they will be reimbursed for the “inconvenience” caused along with a free ticket for any other show of their choice. Mr. Manager’s voice was aptly drowned out by the “collective” retort, with people yelling that they did not want to be reimbursed and they were not going to get up for anybody! It was quite comical to say the least. The movie was then postponed till 6pm instead, until the matter was resolved. All in all, the people stubbornly sat in the seats, refusing to get up or be reimbursed and I guess everybody else had to find elsewhere to sit. Not that I blame them; I do think that the cinema company, Silverbird, handled and planned the whole thing quite badly; because honestly, had I been on the other “side”, and I was asked to get up when I was sold a ticket, was not specifically told not to sit in a particular area’, bought my popcorn, ready to enjoy my show, I CERTAINLY would not have gotten up either. Silverbird, should have numbered the seats, since it’s an extremely popular show, coupled with the fact that it was the opening weekend (worldwide). Then they should have sold/reserved seats 1-50 or whatever to Team Champagne and then sold the remaining numbers out to the public. That way, people have to sit according to the numbers on their tickets. That’s what is done in other countries and would have been the smartest thing to do and would have avoided the near riot that almost took place yesterday. And the movie finally started again. *Phew*.

The Movie Review. In an effort not to completely ruin the movie for my dear readers that may not have watched it yet, the movie in my opinion was awesome. Call it chick-flick partiality if you like, but I was a bit leery of how good it would be because of all the pent up hype about it over the last 2 years almost. Because of its immense popularity, there had been a lot of leaks to the press while the movie was being shot in New York City last year. A lot of pictures from the set had also been released by the paparazzi to virtually every soft-sell on the planet. But true and loyal sex in the city fans (like me) patiently waited and ignored the leaks to the story line. In spite of all these, I honestly and objectively thought the movie was VERY good. My sister, who had watched in on Friday (before me :@), and who is also a tough critic, had said to me that she thought it was fantastic also sans Jennifer Hudson’s performance in it. So I looked out for that and tried not to be biased by that comment. She wasn’t great, but she wasn’t half-bad either. Other than that, I thought the storyline was quite authentic, believable and realistic in terms of relationships and their ups and downs. I could identify with a lot of the emotions and feelings in it, as I’m sure a lot of gals could and it wasn’t as predictable as I’d feared it would be. I’d imagine that it is near impossible to make a movie after a very successful run of 6 seasons of a show. One would think, what else is there to tell “really”? And I must say, that they successfully pulled that off. However, focusing on the fashion element of the movie, which is a BIG part of the flow, I think that overall they over did it a bit. While with the series, whenever the girls went out on the town, they made clear fashion statements in accordance with being true New Yorkers, they were also realistic when it came to just hanging out at home, in sweats or old tee-shirts, etc. But with the movie, even in the laid-back home settings, they were always overly and glamorously dressed up, big earrings and all. Hard to keep up. But hey, that’s why it’s a movie I guess – total or partial escape from reality. Feeling rather melancholic afterwards, I Bibanke-d all the way on my drive home. And actually, there were many moments during the movie where I felt that a couple of tracks from Asa’s famed cd would have been so appropriate; many “Bibanke” moments especially – would have been appropriate. As an aside though, we need to get more of our extremely talents Naija artistes on more Hollywood soundtracks. Debate for another day.

On that note, I won’t go any further, ‘cause that would be telling. Saymama gives Sex in the City 5 out of 5 stars ***** (with a few conditions)! Enjoy and let’s banter about it further in my comments section.


Anonymous said...

I've heard so many conflicting reviews about the SATC movie. Many fans say it's a delightful movie. But some people say it's basically a designer-label fashion parade, it's so unrealistic and materialistic and it's patronising to black women.

Anonymous said...

wow, saymama!! u got the scenario description down to a pat!!
what a mess- very unprofessional of silverbird and enough for me to never go watch a movie there had i been on the 'people' rather than 'team champer' side!!
not watched the movie here or planning on watching it but glad u enjoyed it. learnt a new word today, its called 'diva stink' and my,,, can lagos be full of it? i dnt miss lagos jare

Saymama said...

@ Anon 1: I didn't at all think the movie was in any way patronizing to black women. I'm usually very sensitive to such notions and I think it wasn't ever an issue. And if you're referring to the Jennifer Hudson part of it, I think she represented every young and starry eyed girl cutting her teeth in New York for the first time and wanting to be fashion-conscious. Ain't nothing wrong with that. I kinda felt that way in my early days of living in NYC. It's part of the self-inflicted pressure and a phase most go through. The movie was light and enjoyable..nothing that deep. But it's your opinion and I respect it:-)

@Anon 2: Lagos misses you jare even if you don't miss it. Come home soon!

Jide Onakoya said...

Saymama...Somehow, I am not surprised by your ordeal in trying to see the movie...I do have a few questions though. How many guys were in the champagne party? Was it comprised of all women? What was the general breakdown of the folks that went to see the movie in Lagos that day...i.e. lots of couples...or totally a woman power show?

Over on this end...it has totally been an all woman affair...matter of fact, I doubt any guy will admit to have seen the movie. I have no plans on going to see it in the theaters...I guess I will wait for it to come out on-demand. So...5 stars huh...interesting.

Ore said...

Saymama, v detailed review of the entire evening. I enjoyed reading it.

I got there late and took a picture with friends, though I had no idea what it was for (not one of the champagne set).

It's funny that you think you're mostly like Miranda. I think she's probably the character that everyone would least like to identify with, but I also think I might be more like her than the others.

egbagirl said...

Fantastic review Saymama. I totally agree that SATC the movie was a gracious attempt to discuss the concept of true love being selfless. As with all the other SATC episodes they took a central theme and discussed in from 4 different points of view. I loved how they didn't try and make it seem easy or even possible sometimes. Not to give it all away to those that didn't see it, but thought provoking and well done.

AS for the lagos scene with the witchy witchy girls, I could already see their collective once overs. Gave me the chills it did...THAT part i could have done without and good for them that the masses rose up!

DO said...

SAYMAMA, I read this in Dakar after galavanting across the continent a bit. Believe me, I could visualise the whole scene as you described it and I actually missed the social power plays of Lagos: our thearte of unending drama. I love the Tea Champagne bit- quite innovative and apt. Excellently written SM, provides a vivid description with an engaging tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. I think you should get your own regular column. I would join your reading cult.

DO said...

PS: Miranda is my best...not that I watch SATC....( usual male disclaimer)

Anonymous said...

I have just read this; it's funny, funny, funny; but oh so true! The weird thing is that even when they are over here (London), they sometimes forget where they are, traveling with their "thick diva stink & uniquely Naija style" to coin your phrase. Please leave them at the airport, before you board the plane.

One of the worst places that I have noticed this sort of behavior and attitude is at church (not mine). You go to church to WORSHIP GOD, not to check out what other people are wearing and then criticize/gossip about them. One doesn't get , "Oh that's a nice dress/handbag.". It's, "Where did you buy it?", or "Whose (designer?) is it?". Whenever I am asked this sort of question I always answer, "Oh, it's from Primark or a charity shop".

I'm sorry, I can't stand 'fake, I'm so up my own a**, I don't remember what the sunshine looks like anymore.

Very well written piece. I love the way you write.

Mishel said...

Great Post

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