In 1993, Bradley Cooper, of Alias and Wedding Crashers fame, graduated from the high school where Brent now teaches.
Last week, Brent and I got to take advantage of that connection, when his department head passed along an invitation to all history faculty members to attend a special advanced screening of Cooper’s new movie, The Hangover
Billed as the ultimate bachelor comedy, the film chronicles the misadventures of three guys who attempt to give their buddy the ultimate pre-marriage send-off – and ultimately lose said buddy on the Vegas strip, 24 hours before his wedding. I had seen the preview a few weeks earlier when Brent and I went with two friends to see one of the worst movies I’ve seen in my entire life, Observe and Report
(yes, even worse than 2001’s Josie and the Pussycats
). While Brent and our friends roared through the trailer, I was unimpressed. I can appreciate the humor in these sorts of raunchy physical comedies (the director was Todd Phillips, of Old School
fame), but I rarely actually enjoy watching one.
Still, it was a free screening, and we were told that Bradley Cooper himself would be making an appearance. It sounded like the perfect way to spend a Thursday evening.
We arrived at the theater in downtown Philadelphia an hour before showtime to find a line out the door and wrapping around the sidewalk. We quickly fell into step with one of Brent’s colleagues and his wife, and enjoyed catching up with them on such topics as Swine Flu, Twilight, and green building. When we finally made our way inside, we were greeted by Vegas-style showgirls draping beads over every guest; Harrod’s Casino ‘bell hops’ offering mini-White Castle hamburgers and soda; and Warner Brothers reps taking photos of us posing in front of the movie poster. Inside the theater, Preston and Steve
, notorious local radio personalities, entertained the audience with trivia contests and karaoke sing-offs.
I’d been to advanced screenings of movies before, but nothing like this.
The film started fifteen minutes later, and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, it had all of the elements of those raunchy physical comedies I try to avoid, but the plot was a little bit more creative than most, and I did find myself laughing through almost every scene. Brent deemed it ‘amazing,’ and vowed to see it again with our friends from the Observe and Report debacle.
Cooper took the mic following the show. He answered questions from the audience – everything from “who’s your favorite of all the characters you’ve played?” to “what was the most cringe-worthy scene for you to shoot?” His rep also gave a shout-out to the faculty members at Brent’s school who’d ‘influenced’ Bradley during his time there. I missed a lot of his responses; we were sitting in the front row, and I had become fixated on the untied laces of the actor’s brown leather shoes. For some reason, they were driving me crazy. I didn’t want him to trip and fall.
After the Q&A session, the crowd began to disperse. But as we made our way to the door, Emily – the wife of Brent’s colleague – convinced me to go over and get our picture taken with the star. I was embarrassed, but obliged. We pushed through the starstruck fans and introduced ourselves to Bradley. I noted that he had tied his shoes, and told him that I appreciated it. “Oh, that really bugged you, huh?” he laughed.
Then, we struck a pose. And waited… and waited… and waited…
It seemed that Emily’s camera had run out of juice. So we stood in formation as his rep tried again and again to capture the shot. Because Cooper had a good ten inches on me, when I put my arm around him, it naturally fell to his waist. I was concentrating hard to avoid any hand-to-butt contact. Luckily, some guy who happened to be standing nearby offered to take a picture with his camera and email it to us. I didn’t trust that we’d ever see it again, but sure enough, a couple days later I had a photo in my inbox from Emily.
Forgive the red eye – I couldn’t edit the picture!
This weekend, we’re going to another premiere. Turns out that the husband of a different one of Brent’s colleagues produced the new movie Sugar
. So we’re headed to another local movie theater for a screening and a Q&A with the filmmaker.
Who knew marrying a high school history teacher would have so many perks?