By Hal Higdon
To drive from our condo to the nearest cinema, we follow A1, the road that parallels the ocean, then onto the Butler Expressway that crosses the Intracoastal Waterway, next off the ramp onto Pablo Road, past Mayo Clinic, finally to Beach Boulevard. There’s a Midas Muffler shop where we turn into the parking lot for Regal Beach Boulevard Stadium 18, but the shop’s sign is not always lit. Tricky corner. Dark, so I need to trust my wife Rose to tell me when to turn.
The trip takes 20 minutes.
If we time it right and leave 10-15 minutes before the scheduled start time—in this instance Patriots Day, seen last night—we can avoid trailers for coming attractions, films we never want to see. Alas! Patriots Day, the film about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, was scheduled to start at 7:35, but somehow we left our condo at 7:15, meaning we walked into the theatre just as the half dozen trailers had begun.
I can’t tell you the names of any of those half dozen coming attractions. The trailers have blurred in my mind. Most featured various cops and robbers and soldiers and superheroes and robots firing weapons and blowing stuff up with cars crashing, blood everywhere, the heroes usually bald-headed men. After the fifth and sixth trailer, I said to Rose, “Didn’t we just see the trailer for that movie?” Except it was a different movie—or was it?
Then we saw Patriots Day.
This is not a review of Patriots Day. I’m not going to give the film two stars, or three stars, or four stars. If you need to read a review, google these three words: “Patriots Day Review.”
The best part of Patriots Day is when federal authorities move into a massive warehouse and recreate Boylston Street, where the twin explosions took place, viewing videos from street cameras until they identified two suspicious characters, referred to mostly as “Black Hat” and “White Hat,” not by their real names.
The worst part of Patriots Day is when those twin explosions killed and injured innocent people. And also a hospital scene where medical personnel debate whether they can save a woman’s leg—and then you hear the buzz of an electric saw. I dare you to sit through that scene without cringing and hating Black Hat and White Hat for causing pain that was both physical for those wounded, but also mental for all of us who call ourselves runner, who love the Boston Marathon.
The film ended. The lights went up. The credits rolled. We waited politely to review the names of the actors. We got up and walked down a long corridor leading back to the lobby and out to our parked car, which would take us home in 20 minutes, and in doing so we passed the posters on the wall of coming attractions, movies that featured various cops and robbers and soldiers and superheroes and robots firing weapons and blowing stuff up with cars crashing, blood everywhere, the heroes usually bald-headed men. Angry bald-headed men.
But I too was angry. These were films that we never would see. We had seen Patriots Day, and that was enough blood for a long, long while. Unfortunately, too many people like fake violence, ignoring the real violence in everybody’s lives.
Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner’s World. He has run the Boston Marathon 18 times, finishing first American in 1964.