Friday, May 29, 2009
Temptation is the enemy of the serious film-goer. Temptation to talk, to eat, to text, etc. But there is no temptation experienced in a crowded theater quite as powerful as the need to relieve one’s bladder.
Whether it’s during an Oscar-season period drama or a “Lord of the Rings” sequel that’s bordering three hours, it’s hard for most people to elude that familiar bathroom urge — especially if you’ve been guzzling Mountain Dew since the previews.
To help alleviate this universal dilemma, a new Web site has sprung into being.
RunPee.com marks the best spots in movies where viewers can get up and go.
Armed with the slogan “Can you hold it?,” which is rendered in white letters with a yellow base, RunPee.com offers specific advice for new and classic movies.
For example, I checked out the scoop on “Star Trek,” the most recent flick I’d seen. The site’s advice was to head toward the bathroom “approximately 50 minutes into the movie when Capt. Pike leaves the bridge on his way to Nero’s ship and says, ‘Chekov, you have the con.’”
To avoid spoiling the experience — viewing, not peeing — the site offers the option of unscrambling a grid that encapsulates the plot during the three-minute stretch you may have missed.
RunPee is the brainchild of California-based Flash Platform developer Dan Florio. On the site, he claims to have drawn inspiration after watching the 187-minute remake of “King Kong.”
Florio launched the site last August to little fanfare. For months it averaged no more than 10-15 visitors a day. But the word slowly began to leak out. First Dave Barry mentioned it, and then NPR’s “All Things Considered” ran a piece. Now the site is eclipsing 30,000 uniques a day.
RunPee.com is still fairly crude from a design perspective and amateurish in terms of writing — it’s hard to get through a sentence without spotting a word or name spelled incorrectly. But is it effective?
I decided to test it against a few classic movies that are known for being action-packed. In fact, it could be argued that these three are as dull spot-proof as any made:
No. 1. “Die Hard”
“RunPee approximately 45 minutes into the movie when a police officer buys a bunch of Hostess cakes. ... Shooting, shooting, shooting, but no one gets shot.”
No. 2. “Aliens”
“RunPee approximately 38 minutes into the movie right after the Sarge says, ‘Bay 12, please.’ ...The troops get their gear on and load up into an armored personal (sic) transport.”
No. 3. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (multiple pee times available)
“... 42 minutes into the movie when Indy shoots the driver of a big army transport truck. It rolls over and explodes.”
Or “... approximately 75 minutes into the movie when Indy pushes a big stone out of a wall and crawls through the hole.”
After sitting through the atrociously inept “Raiders” sequel “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” perhaps there’s potential for a new site to warn theater patrons when a movie is going to feature lousy writing, cheesy effects, rotten puns and lame plot twists.
RunVomit.com could be the next Internet smash.