What Happens When a South Beach Crackhead Breaks Into a Screening of The Tree of Life

Terrence Malick's latest wandering epic The Tree of Life may very well lend itself to some chemically altered viewing. It is not however the kind of film that benefits from some sort of crackhead breaking into a screening and starting to shout things like "Tupac's back!" Welcome to life in South Beach.

Riptide caught the 10:40 p.m. showing of the Palme d'Or-winning flick about a 1950s family in Waco, Texas starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn at Regal Cinemas on Lincoln Road last night. For the first 45 minutes or so the most surprising thing to happen was the appearance of CGI dinosaurs on screen (Yes, there's totally CGI dinosaurs in a film about a 1950's Texas family, and somehow it totally works).

That's about the time a man walked into the theater and started randomly screaming things like "ahhhhhhh!" and "whoooooooooooop whoooooooooooop!" in between spitting quite dramatically on the floor. For a film where about 75 percent of the dialogue and narration is spoken in whispers, it was quite distracting. 

Everyone knows how to react when someone yells "Fire!" in a theater, but apparently nobody knows what to do when someone who was clearly on some crazy drug (or, perhaps off his medication) starts yelling nonsense.

After about a minute Riptide decided, "Well, I guess I'm going to be the guy who has to go out and alert someone who works here." Had we not gone, we wondered if everyone else in the theater just would have tolerated the crazy, yelling guy. No one else was getting up out of their seats. This is Miami, I guess. We're all experts at tuning out the crazies.

So, Riptide gets management to come, and the guy is now hunched over in the side aisle below the seats. They manage to get him to leave. Everything is fine, and we can get back to watching our two hours of lucid family drama inter-cut with crazy shots of space.

About twenty minutes later ol' Cracky comes back. We guess he wanted to see The Tree of Life as much as anyone.

He comes up into the seating stands and passes a group of people and waves something in their face. Riptide's friend thinks it might have been a gun and whispers, "Well, if I'm going to die during a movie it might as well be this one."

Then Cracky decides to sit, of all places in the theater, right behind Riptide. He starts screaming "Tupac's back" before a few brief moments of silence in which he actually watches the film. During a church scene a preacher asks, "Do you believe in God?"

"Yeah, do you?" shouts Cracky. In that moment, we're not sure what to believe anymore.

He then spits on the floor.

The manager comes in to let us know that we'll all be getting free tickets and that the police are on their way. It's apparently against policy for them to physically remove Cracky themselves. An audience member volunteers to do it himself, but they dissuade him.

The movie is still playing during all of this.

Cracky decided to get up once more. This time he plants himself directly in front of Riptide. He turns around. He's wearing two or three sets of 3D glasses he's swiped from somewhere else in the theater. This is not a 3D film.

He then starts waving something in Riptide's face.

Holy shit is it really a gun? Is Riptide really going to die in a Terrence Malick movie? "Here lies Kyle Munzenrieder. Lover of ambitious cinema. Victim of South Beach."

No, thankfully he's just swiped one of the ticket scanners that the ushers use. He continues shinning it on our face for another minute. Eventually we decide to get up and move a row back.

He only turns around to declare that female lead Jessica Chastain is sexy. That she is, unfortunately his comes during a particularly pivotal plot development in which someone drowns or something. We're not really sure. Cracky was screaming through most of it, and it was hard to concentrate.

Finally, after about 15 minutes of the latest episode, three or four Miami Beach cops show up with flash lights drawn. Miami Beach cops, as we all know, don't do anything alone.

"Come on big guy, its time to go," the say. Cracky gets up on his own accord and they lead him out. We later find out he ends up arrested.

There's still about an hour left in the movie at this point, and enough time to get lost in it again.

As we're leaving, another audience members asks us about the film and if we got it. It certainly was a crazy a film we agree. There were dinosaurs. He doesn't mention the unplanned crackhead interlude.

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Kyle Munzenrieder