By Dom Cioffi
I’ve been writing this column for over 25 years and in that time, I’ve reviewed well over a thousand movies.
Prior to the pandemic, I visited the theater every week to review those films. I used to wish that I could watch new-release movies from the comforts of my own home, but now that the theater and its crowds are a Covid risk and my time there is limited, I genuinely miss the experience.
When I was going to the movies on a consistent basis, I almost always went alone. It was an escape for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d have my regular snacks and a cold drink, find my usual spot mid-way up and off to the side, and toss my feet up on the seat in front of me to get extra comfortable.
If the film was good, I was in heaven; if it was bad, I’d be itching to leave.
Interestingly, many people would respond negatively when I told them I went to the movies alone, not understanding how I could go solo to something so social. In fact, I’ve had numerous people tell me that it would be too socially embarrassing to go to the movies alone.
To that I would say, “You need to work on your imagination because there’s plenty more embarrassing situations a person can engage in than going to the theater alone.”
I had one person tell me that the only thing worse than going to the movies alone would be golfing alone, at which point I laughed hysterically because I almost always golf alone, too.
In fact, I’ve been a solo golfer for years and I love it for many practical reasons:
First: You’re free to listen to music when you golf alone. Music helps me focus. I throw on my Air Pods and dial in a great playlist and then lose myself in the round. Sure, I also like the sounds of nature, but music takes golfing to another level. And in what other situation do you have hours alone just to listen to music?
Second: If no one is in your way, you can play very fast when golfing alone. I can rip through nine holes in an hour and a half and easily complete 18 holes in three hours. Add three more people to your group, and you could find yourself on the course for an extra two hours.
Third: With no one else around, you’re free to play as many balls as you’d like without irritating your companions. It’s embarrassing to replay a shot you know you could have hit better, but when you’re alone, you can try that butter fade as many times as you’d like and no one cares (other than the folks behind you, of course).
Fourth: You can take extra time to look for golf balls. I haven’t purchased a sleeve of golf balls in years because, as I wander along the fairways, I’m always scanning the high grass and brush for lost balls.
I also know the hot spots on the course where errant balls end up. If I have the time, I’ll meander into the woods in those locations and look around. Inevitably, I’ll come out with a handful of new balls that other people just lost.
The consequence to collecting golf balls is that they can start to weigh down your bag. I’m a walker and when the summer sun and heat are blasting you, any extra weight can be a burden. At times, I’ve collected so many balls that I’ve had to dump 10 or 20 on a tee box just to lighten my load.
Even when I know I don’t need any more balls, I still can’t help but look for them. It’s like an Easter egg hunt or an analog video game. Everything looks green and brown and then suddenly, a glowing white orb is glistening in the grass. To this day, I still get excited when I spot a ball (and I get even more excited when that ball turns out to be an expensive Titleist Pro V-1, which costs roughly $4).
The only thing that deters me from looking for golf balls is the presence of poison ivy. I hate that plant and what it does when I mistakenly rub up against it. I’ve contracted poison ivy every year for the last five years and then had to suffer for weeks with the constant itchiness on my ankles.
This week’s film, “Pig,” starring Nicolas Cage, also features a man foraging around the woods looking for small treasures, except in this case it’s the elusive truffle.
“Pig” is a dark and puzzling mystery about an ex-chef who retreats into the woods after his wife’s death. He lives with a pig and spends his time hunting for truffles to survive. But then, one day his pig disappears.
You never know what you’ll get with Nicolas Cage, but in this outing, he is fantastic. The overall story is a bit unrealistic, but Cage keeps things together with his menacing portrayal. Check this one out if you’re in the mood for a strange and quirky little film.
A “B-” for “Pig,” available online for early release viewing as a rental or purchase.
Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at email@example.com.