The Holdovers is 2023’s comfiest movie. Who wouldn’t want to spend the yuletide with a cup of cocoa and Paul Giamatti at a beautiful New England boarding school carved from mahogany and blanketed with soft, white snow? There’s nothing like getting wrapped inside The Holdovers—as long as you’re the one doing the wrapping.
However, patrons of the Net Station cinema in Rio de Janeiro became holdovers themselves at a recent late-night screening of Alexander Payne’s Oscar-nominee, presumably as a consequence of failing to comprehend the Peloponnesian War. Apparently, the theater forgot about the some 40-odd people watching this comedy about a trio of forgotten lonely souls learning to spend their time in captivity together. As Cicero once said, “Non nobis solum nati sumus.”
An Instagram video from the scene shows the understandably frustrated holdovers behind the theater gates, calling to people outside on the street as they waited for someone’s pushover father to forget about their dumb haircut and rescue them in their helicopter. Firefighters were the rich daddies in the case, freeing these forgotten patrons locked inside what we can only describe as hell for them and heaven for the freaks who read The A.V. Club.
“Locked in the cinema Net Station, in Botafogo! The staff turned out the lights and LOCKED US IN THE MOVIE!!!” a translation of the post by Instagram user @marceloalonsomorais. “Absurd!!! After yelling and calling the Fire Department, they pulled us out of the movie theater.
When Holdovers ended, audience members noted a lack of light flooding into the auditorium as the credits rolled. Instead, they wandered the dark theater by cell phone light like they were in Five Nights At Freddy’s.
“At that moment, we only wanted freedom,” wrote one retired teacher among the trapped in a letter to the editor published by Globo. “We didn’t know how to proceed. It was like we were orphans there. Look, what drama, right? We were without action, desperate.”
Perhaps the Net Cinema was just trying to raise viewers of character. As Dr. Green famously put it, “Our one true purpose is to produce young men of good character, and we cannot sacrifice our integrity on the altar of their entitlement.” Just kidding—the theater owners are giving everyone they trapped in their building free admission for themselves and a guest with free popcorn for one year. Honestly, they made out a lot better than Paul Hunham’s 11th grade classics class.