I think I must have been a bit of a narcoleptic in high school. I would fall asleep during the best of films, and during the worst of films. I loved movies -- the sleeping wasn't because I found them boring in any way. In fact, they were perhaps the most important thing in my life. The real problem was that the theater was dark and cold, and the seats were ever so comfortable. After a while, nobody would go to the movies with me anymore. There wasn't any point since I couldn't stay awake no matter what I did. I experimented with Diet Coke, Popcorn, wearing a jacket, wearing no jacket, different theaters around town, and the truth of it was that none of that mattered. If a film was before me, I would immediately begin to fall asleep.
I think the worst time I could have ever chosen to fall asleep was during a midnight screening of The Passion of the Christ. I passed out just as the brutal beatings began and woke up as the credits began to roll, with the audience around me sobbing. When I woke up, I loudly asked, "So what'd I miss?" People used to gasp and frown at me when I revealed that I had snored through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but there it is, for better or worse.
Two years ago, I talked for months about seeing Hot Fuzz and how excited I was, and about how great it looked. A group of friends took me to an afternoon showing for my birthday. I sat down, and promptly drifted off to sleep. This was particularly funny to my friends, considering the incredible number of loud explosions in the film. It was at this party that I realized my almost laughable talent for awakening just as the credits began to roll, and I wondered how I knew, mid-dream, that it was time to wake up.
The most egregious error I've made in falling asleep during a film would be in the latest installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman series, The Dark Knight. I sleepily followed the first half-hour, and then fell asleep without knowing it, woke back up more than an hour later and then had the gall to argue about plot development with friends afterward. I kept getting confused as they'd reference events that must of happened as I snored, and they kept getting confused as to how anyone could fall asleep during the number one film of the year.
Once, towards the end of college, I slipped in a screening of My Own Private Idaho, Gus Van Sant's film, and fell asleep 20 minutes in, only to awaken to the sight of a grown man dancing around a room with a lamp, and I couldn't be sure if I was still asleep or not. It still ranks as one of the most terrifying awakenings that I've had next to Strictly Ballroom, which has put me to sleep on more than one occasion -- but who hasn't it put to sleep? I remember one terror-filled night in particular: I hadn't slept in two days due to a number of circumstances, and I struggled to follow the plot of Strictly Ballroom, eventually deciding it was the most nonsensical film I'd ever seen. I began to get so scared of my own inability to follow the plot that I eventually just fell asleep to get away from it.
I used to think it was a love of film that eventually led me to film school, but I know now that it is really a love of quiet, peaceful slumber. Day or night, I can fall asleep with the best of them, in any theater in the world. This has led to my almost-legendary ability to recall everything about a film except the ending. I never remember any endings, only beginnings. But I have gotten better over the years. What can I say? I love the movies. The parts I've seen of them at least.