Movie-goers: They’ll be back |

Movie-goers: They’ll be back

Not long ago, in a town not too far, far away …

A band of adventurers embarked on a journey they had been waiting 16 years for. Here is their story:

Tuesday, 6:22 p.m.

For two young men from Carson Valley, the wait is almost over. Well, closer to over than it was 12 hours ago. Cody Nash and Derek McDonald have been camped out at Ironwood Stadium Cinema 8 in Minden since 2:30 p.m. Monday, more than 34 hours before “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” was set to begin.


“To get the best seats possible,” says Nash, of Minden.

They had waited “only” about five hours for tickets a week earlier.

“It’s insurance. To play it safe,” says McDonald, of the Gardnerville Ranchos.

Pointing down the line of people waiting, he says: “If we would have been here a few hours later, they would have been here before us.”

Tuesday afternoon – a little more than five hours before the movie was to begin, four before the doors would open – probably 50 people are lined up. The predominantly teen-age and 20-something male crowd has lawn chairs, stereos, Frisbees, skateboards and even a charcoal grill to help pass the time. To get through the night, Nash and McDonald watched TV, played Nintendo and wrapped themselves in sleeping bags.

What could possibly make people go to such extremes just to see a movie?

“You can describe it in two words,” says Yuri Ramirez of the Gardnerville Ranchos. “‘Star Wars.’ That’s it.”

10:11 p.m.

The line has grown to well over 100 people. Most of the Frisbees, skateboards and TVs have disappeared. People are smoking. There are even a few bottles of beer in the line – none belonging to the teen-agers, of course.

“I’ve been waiting at least 10 years for this movie to come out,” says Holly Hayes of Gardnerville. “I’m one of the old people who actually saw the first movie when it was released.”

Says Rich Whipple of Gardnerville: “I didn’t want anyone to ruin it for me.”

Nobuo Date of Japan had been training at Bently Nevada Corp. in Minden for months. At 7 a.m. Wednesday his airplane leaves for Japan. As soon as the movie is over, he plans to jump in his car, drive to the Reno airport and fly home.

“If I miss it tonight, I’ll have to wait two more months,” he says.

11:06 p.m.

Nash, McDonald and their group of friends are first to walk into the theater (except for three guys from the Tahoe Daily Tribune, of course). They briefly discuss where they are going to sit, then choose the middle of the fifth row. Patiently they wait (grumbling occasionally that the “press” in front of them didn’t have to wait hours and hours to get in like they did).

(And yes, we did pay for our tickets!)

11:44 a.m.

The stadium-seating theater is packed. Two hundred and thirty-eight seats are full.

“(The wait) was worth it right now,” Nash says, pointing to an admission stamp on his hand. “Just having this is worth it.”

Wednesday, 12:01 a.m.

The lights dim. The audience cheers.

The trailers start: “Anna and the King,” “Fight Club,” “Titan A.E.,” “Wild Wild West” and “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.” The last advertisement receives cheers from the audience.

12:10 a.m.

The film starts. More cheering.

For the next two hours the audience is silent, except for occasional laughter.

On the screen, Jedi Knights chop robots in half, a gigantic underwater monster tries to devour heroes, a two-headed alien is an announcer at an Indianapolis 500-like “pod race,” everyone’s favorite robot C-3PO gets naked and warriors Qui-Gon Jinn and young Obi-Wan Kenobi take on the devil-like bad guy Darth Maul.

2:17 a.m.

The credits roll, and the crowd applauds.

McDonald and Nash again stress that the movie was well worth the wait.

“The sound is the best I’ve ever heard in my life,” McDonald says. “Amazing. Amazing.”

“The sword play was amazing,” Nash says.

However, not everyone used the word “amazing.”

Not that the comments were negative.

“Excellent,” says Whipple.

“Awesome,” says Joe Rigdon of Gardnerville.

While Rigdon acknowledges that the film “got a little cheesy at parts,” he still loved it.

“It was pretty cool, dude,” Rigdon says. “It was the perfect prequel for the ‘Star Wars’ trilogy. I can’t wait for the next one. I’ll camp out again.”

Says Hayes, the self-proclaimed “old” person who saw the original at the theater: “It lived up to all my expectations.”

Travis Hayes of Gardnerville – giving it a thumbs up – says simply: “Bad!”

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