Indiana Jones and the Masquerade

In our second article for Submissions Week, Dan Minch dresses up for the premiere of the new Indiana Jones film. Naturally, the word “nerdcore” comes up.

The King of Prussia Mall outside of Philadelphia is truly an epic oddity. Two full-sized, two-story malls face one another to make up arguably the country’s largest shopping center. There were, at one time, two nearly identical Macy’s department stores separated by a fifty-foot walkway.

We are here on a serious mission: costumes. My friends and I, having escaped the library for the summer, are on our way to the midnight showing of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In a moment of extreme nerdcore, the four of us thought it would be fun to be that guy dressed up for a movie premiere and wait in line for two hours before it opens. So far, our ensemble includes Dr. Indiana Jones (myself), Elsie the Nazi (Loretta), and Marion Ravenwood in action gear (Heather). We are lured to the mall in order to find the perfect white dress for Angela so she can transform into Marion Ravenwood in the dress scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark (also “action gear” of sorts). Three department stores and a J. Crew clearance rack later, Elsie is accessorized (sans beret) and has the white dress. After dinner and a quick D&D (Dunkin’ Donuts in normal-people-lingo), we hit the theater at 10:15, only to discover that we are not the first people in line.

We are, however, the only people in costume. This is an important difference that is a bit rattling to me since it’s my first time being that guy. In fact, by this point, I’m still thinking it’s pretty frivolous to have showed up so damn early. This isn’t Star Wars, after all, and Indy fans aren’t the most rabid bunch among the Spielberg-Lucas universe. But after thirty minutes of waiting, the line has tripled, and we are now in prime position to snatch great seats for opening night.

I glance over at the snack counter and see another Dr. Jones–this one dressed with the jacket and whip. He nods at me, and I realize that I’m not alone. I point this out to my friends, who affirm that there are in fact several fedora-wearing heroes in line. The difference is that we’re closest to the front, and I’m the only Indy costumer dressed as Harrison Ford in professor garb rather than action hero mode. So my costume is unique. We’re also the only group costumers thus far. Score ten geek points there.

By 11:15PM, the line is out the door, and we’re starting to look cool. More Indy impersonators have arrived, but I still feel confident that I’m the only one who could actually do my own stunts. I see people I know (a phenomena which never ceases to be bizarre; anywhere I go I will see someone I know–last week at Hershey Park I ran into my tenth-grade English teacher) and immediately realize that my ex-girlfriend is in the line. Too bad she’s more than halfway back and not in costume. Loser. More reasons not to regret that nightmare being over.

Suddenly, the line is moving and we all shuffle forward. Our advance-sale tickets, however, are taking us in a different direction than most of the crowd. With some confusion my friends and I go to theater five instead of twelve and sit through the last fifteen minutes of Made of Honor. (Or more appropriately, we suffer through the last fifteen minutes of Made of Honor[1].)

One of the theater managers has just informed us that Indiana Jones will be shown in this theater no matter what and we have the best seats in the house. The final half-hour of waiting is easier since we’re sitting down and are able to watch the rest of the fans file in. The theater fills quickly and reaches capacity long before the credits roll.

I leave the theater at 2:30AM, proud to be Indy. The premiere has certainly passed the geek test, and I realize that I’m still humming John Williams’ famous theme song; everyone around me looks exhausted, yet satisfied–just the way a night should finish.

1. This film is an abomination; a sin against nature. Patrick Dempsey interrupts the wedding and marries the girl. The ending is now ruined and you ought to count yourself lucky that you now have no reason to ever see this film unless you want to become violently ill. Do you want to become violently ill?

Dan Minch reinforces his existence as a Theology and Classical Studies major at Villanova University with an epic addiction to Fair Trade coffee. His thinking is split between dead languages and bits of Thai picked up from being the only white person at an Asian restaurant. He hopes to one day be paid to drink coffee and read the Bible.