Up until Thursday, due mostly to conflicts created by my coverage of the Sundance Film Festival, I had managed to avoid what most people had already condemned as a pretty lousy movie, the Johnny Depp vehicle, Mortdecai. I was OK with this. As it turns out, on Thursday, Mortdecai became a topic of conversation between my editor and myself. Then, when he realized I had not seen Mortdecai, he strongly suggested that I do see Mortdecai. Why? Because the thought of me sitting through Mortdecai made him laugh.
So, late on Thursday afternoon, I bought a ticket to Mortdecai at a local movie theater here on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in what turned out to be the last ever showing of Mortdecai at this particular theater before it disappeared forever. (Mortdecai had already been relegated to one showing per day.) Would there be a ceremony? Would the theater physically delete their copy of Mortdecai in front of us – maybe even project the Mortdecai file being dragged to the virtual wastebasket? Anyway, while watching the last showing of Mortdecai at this theater, I kept a running diary. Here’s how that all went.
4:07 p.m.: Six other people have paid to watch this now final showing of Mortdecai. I do wonder if that was a factor. Did one of these people take off early from work? “Larry, I’ve got to take off a little early. It’s my last chance to see Mortdecai how it was intended, unless I go to the theater in Times Square.”
4:15 p.m.: There’s a trailer for a movie called Age of Adaline. Harrison Ford is in this movie. Until this moment, I had no idea this movie existed. Something tells me this will not be Harrison Ford’s highest grossing movie of 2015.
4:20 p.m.: Mortdecai has begun.
4:21 p.m.: Oh no.
4:21 p.m.: What is that voice?
4:21 p.m.: I made a mistake.
4:21 p.m.: Does Johnny Depp really talk like this for the whole movie?
4:25 p.m.: Mortdecai is trying to sell a vase and it goes awry.
4:26 p.m.: Paul Bettany is in this movie.
4:29 p.m.: Mortdecai just recently grew a mustache and he really likes it, but his wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, does not like it at all. Something tells me this will be a recurring theme.
4:31 p.m.: Ewan McGregor is in this movie.
4:31 p.m.: I’m going to pretend that Ewan McGregor is playing Obi-Wan.
4:33 p.m.: Good grief, we’re still just at Mortdecai’s house.
4:36 p.m.: There’s a fart joke, but it’s Mortdecai telling us a story about a fart and not an actual fart.
4:39 p.m.: The song “Two Princes” by Spin Doctors was just played.
4:55 p.m.: The plot of this movie, if it ever starts, seems to be that Mortdecai has money problems, so he agrees to help the authorities find a missing painting.
4:56 p.m.: I’m still not used to Mortdecai’s voice.
4:56 p.m.: We’ve finally left Mortdecai’s house.
4:58 p.m.: This is a very boring movie.
4:55 p.m.: Mortdecai accidentally puts his car in reverse and runs over Paul Bettany. Things like this happen a lot during Mortdecai.
4:56 p.m.: Now Mortdecai has been run over by a car.
5:00 p.m.: I have not laughed yet.
5:01 p.m.: None of the seven people in this movie theater has laughed yet.
5:05 p.m.: I miss Johnny Depp’s Tonto.
5:09 p.m.: Mortdecai is in Russia now.
5:14 p.m.: A Russian mobster just told Mortdecai to “open his balls.”
5:16 p.m.: That “open your balls” line has been the most “risqué” joke in this entire movie. How in the world is Mortdecai rated R?
5:16 p.m.: Maybe the rating is supposed to be some sort of public service for society — that young minds won’t be influenced by this nonsense. Maybe it’s to protect future satirists from being ruined forever. Think if a young Richard Pryor had seen Mortdecai.
5:19 p.m.: Someone in the audience just laughed. It was at a joke about Mortdecai’s mustache.
5:22 p.m.: Oh, yeah, Olivia Munn is in this movie. I now remember seeing her on the poster.
5:24 p.m.: Jeff Goldblum is in this movie? I will choose to forget this someday.
5:28 p.m.: That same guy laughed again — another mustache joke.
5:31 p.m.: He laughed again.
5:34 p.m.: Paul Bettany catches a group of villains by vomiting over their car windshield.
5:34 p.m.: I’m going to stop writing things down for a while.
5:45 p.m.: How is this movie not over?
5:46 p.m.: One of the villains just got half of his mustache cut off and of course that same guy in the audience is laughing up a storm.
5:46 p.m.: What if the guy in the audience laughing is me, only older. Maybe this theater, this last showing of Mortdecai, has broken the space-time continuum. In the future, maybe I do find mustache humor hilarious. Should I just embrace it now? Should I grow a mustache? Is this my fate? Is this a glimpse of what I am to become?
5:48 p.m.: I’ve decided that the man laughing at the mustache humor in Mortdecai is probably not my future self.
5:51 p.m.: How long is this movie?!?!?!?!?!?
5:53 p.m.: ?!?!?!?
5:54 p.m.: Mortdecai is taking a bath.
5:54 p.m.: I still don’t like his voice.
5:55 p.m.: Gwyneth Paltrow tells Mortdecai that he can keep his mustache. I assume the man who has been laughing at the mustache humor just did a silent, celebratory fist pump.
5:57 p.m.: Mortdecai is over.
5:58 p.m.: As it turns out, there was no celebration for this last showing of Mortdecai. There was no special announcement … not even an announcement that we were the last six people who would ever see Mortdecai on a movie screen on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. As we all walked out, this would have to be a quiet, personal experience. I’m sure this was a debate for the management of the AMC Lowes Orpheum 7, but they made the right choice. In the end, this experience was a personal one — this was just between me and Mortdecai and quite possibly my future self.
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.