Chuck vs. the Premiere

Star Wars Episode I
May 19th, 1999
Hollywood, California

It was just after midnight in Los Angeles. Chuck Bartowski and Morgan Grimes were at the head of the line for the 12:15 AM screening of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace at Hollywood's Arc Light Theatre.

They had been there since 3:00 PM the preceding afternoon. Chuck had bought the tickets months beforehand, when they had first gone on sale, and the two high school seniors had parked themselves inside the theatre so as to be among the first in.

As they processed into the theatre, Morgan muttered, "This is the biggest thing in science fiction since… um…"

"Star Wars?" Chuck teased him.

"Yeah!" Morgan replied, as they made their way to the best seats in the house. "This is gonna be epic!"

July 14th, 2000
Hartford, Connecticut

"I don't know, Chuck," Bryce Larkin said, a worried tone to his voice as they took their seats in the theatre. "It seems like there's just been so much anticipation for this that it can't POSSIBLY fulfill expectations!"

Chuck snorted. "Have faith, Bryce," he replied. "We've got Shakespearean actors playing Magneto and Professor X. I mean, does it really need anything more than that?"

Bryce just sighed. "That's the thing," he said. "When I see Patrick Stewart as Professor X, my mind thinks Captain Picard!"

"Make it so, Number One," Chuck shot back, a mocking tone to his voice. "Come on, Bryce, the man's a genius. I'm sure his portrayal of Xavier will be spot on."

"If you say so, Chuck."

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
December 19th, 2001
San Francisco, California

Poor Jill Roberts. She was trying so hard to not fall asleep, but she had been standing outside with Chuck and Bryce for the last ten hours, waiting to get into the movie, and it had been cold and wet.

Now, as Chuck and Bryce were engaged in an animated conversation about how good Ian McKellan's portrayal of Gandalf would be, she sat miserably in her seat, shivering. She had both Chuck's and Bryce's jackets on, but that wasn't making a difference – the shivers were more from exhaustion than anything else.

The really annoying thing was that she had been REALLY excited for this movie. She loved the books, and she had been looking forward to this for months. But now…

"Chuck," she said sleepily, "how long is the movie?"

He looked over at her. "About three hours, babe. Why?"

Jill shrugged. "Not sure I'm gonna make it through, that's all."

Chuck smiled at her. "Sure you will," he said quietly, leaning over to kiss her. "I have faith in you."

May 3rd, 2002
Sherman Oaks, California

"THAT WAS BULLSHIT!" Bryce exploded as he stormed out of the theatre, Chuck and Morgan in tow. The door swung shut – and then Jill came running out after them, a confused look on her face.

"Bryce, you had to know they were gonna take some creative liberties," Chuck said, trying to placate his friend.

Bryce whirled on Chuck. "Chuck, you know DAMN well that Peter Parker BUILT the web-shooters! They were NOT part of him!"

"I know, I know!" Chuck replied, trying to get Bryce to calm down. "But that would've taken at least another fifteen minutes of film, and it was already long as it was!"

"Whatever," Bryce growled, storming off. Jill walked up next to Chuck.

"Is it really that big a deal?" she asked.

Chuck and Morgan both turned astonished looks on Jill. "You have no idea," Morgan said quietly.

The Matrix: Reloaded
May 15th, 2003
Glendale, California

Chuck sat in the darkened theatre, his mind four hundred miles away. Sure, the epic battle that had just laid the entire 101 freeway to waste on the screen in front of him served as something of a distraction, but he couldn't help it.

Bryce had gotten him kicked out. Jill had cheated on him and dumped him. And here he was, stuck in the Valley, working at a Buy More and going to the premiere of the new Matrix movie by himself because Morgan was out of town.

"It'd be nice if I could get the blue pill," Chuck muttered as Neo swooped in to carry Morpheus and the Keymaker to safety.

But there was no blue pill. There was only lies and pain.

Spider-Man 2
June 30th, 2004
Hollywood, California

Chuck and Morgan were back at the Arc Light. They had, once again, waited in line for several hours for this movie. "It'll totally be worth it, dude," Morgan had insisted.

They had been joined for this one by Ellie's new boyfriend – Devon Woodcomb. A recent graduate of UCLA's med school, neither Chuck nor Morgan would've taken Devon for a comic-book geek, but it turned out that his collection at his old apartment in Redondo Beach had come close to rivaling Chuck's.

"I can't believe Ellie made you sell your comic books," Chuck remarked for probably the fiftieth time.

"Hey, look," Devon said. "They were worth enough to pay the security deposit and the first and last months on the apartment. Pretty sure it was worth it."

"Fair enough," Chuck replied. "It just seems like a loss of a national treasure, you know?"

Devon nodded, a solemn look on his face. "I know, dude. But trust me, this movie should more than make up for it. I hear it's awesome."

May 5th, 2005
Phoenix, Arizona

Lester Patel looked grumpy. "Explain to me again why we're in Phoenix in the middle of the night in May," he grumbled.

Chuck just laughed and looked at the sky, but Morgan sighed in exasperation. "Lester, we are here because I managed to get three tickets to one of the first screenings of Serenity," he said. "Do you have any idea how much I could've sold these for?"

Lester shrugged. "How much?"

"He could've bought a car," Chuck interjected. "Browncoats are crazy."

"Yeah, whatever," Lester mumbled. "Browncoats are a bunch of losers."

And almost immediately, the area around Lester fell silent. Chuck and Morgan stared at him in astonishment, while a circle of angry Firefly fans formed around Lester. "Dude…" Morgan said quietly.

"I mean… they, uh, they lost the Unification War!" Lester stammered. "Not that real, uh, I mean, you guys…"

Chuck rolled his eyes. "He didn't mean it," he announced. "Leave the little nerd alone."

Casino Royale
November 17th, 2006
Hollywood, California

Chuck Bartowski was quite pleased with himself. The week before, he had been sent out on a Nerd Herd service call. He had tried to get Lester or Jeff to take it, but both had begged off, and Chuck had ended up grudgingly going out on the call.

To his astonishment, the call was to the home of Jeffrey Wright – the actor who had played Felix Leiter in the new Bond movie. Chuck so impressed him with the quick repair on his computer that Wright had ended up offering him a pair of passes to the premiere of Casino Royale at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

And so now, Chuck was in the back of a black Lincoln Towncar, pulling up to the curb on Hollywood Boulevard. Ellie was in the car with him, because she had always wanted to go to a red-carpet premiere, and nerd movie or not, Chuck wasn't going to deny her the chance.

Morgan and Devon had both been a little bent out of shape over it, but they would both recover. "This is so cool!" Ellie squealed, clutching her brother's arm as they made their way up the red carpet toward Grauman's front doors.

Chuck grinned. "I have the feeling that the movie's going to be even cooler."

The Simpsons
July 27th, 2007
Springfield, Illinois

Morgan looked worried. "I don't think this was such a good idea," he said quietly.

Chuck and Devon both turned to look at him. "Why not?" Chuck asked.

Morgan shook his head. "Dude, I spent most of my savings for this. And you know how much I make at the Buy More."

Chuck nodded. "That's true," he replied. "But Morgan, look at it this way. We're getting to see The Simpsons, on opening day… in Springfield!"

"Well, a Springfield," Devon corrected him. "Because, as we all know, the Springfield is a mystical, magical place that none of us will ever actually go to."

"I beg to differ," Morgan snorted. "Did you see the 7-Eleven on Riverside? It was completely turned into a Quik-E-Mart!"

Chuck smiled. As long as they kept Morgan's mind off his money, they'd have fun.

The Dark Knight
July 18th, 2008
Burbank, California

Chuck winced as Sarah Walker's fingernails dug into his arm. He just did not get it – this hardened, tough as nails CIA agent was absolutely petrified of Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker.

Well, I suppose she has to have ONE weakness, he thought to himself. Then another thought occurred to him.

Whenever Jill got scared at a movie, all I had to do was put my arm around her, and jackpot, Chuck mused mentally. I wonder…

As Batman slammed the Joker into the wall of a police interrogation room, Chuck ever-so-slowly extricated his arm from Sarah's grip, and slid it around her shoulders. Sure enough, within seconds, she had cuddled closer against him, her now unoccupied right hand taking hold of his.

Chuck grinned. I am the master.

March 6th, 2009
Universal City, California

Well. This was thoroughly uncomfortable.

As Chuck stared at the screen, trying to concentrate on the movie, he was acutely aware of the presence of Sarah Walker to his left, and John Casey practically hovering behind them. Chuck didn't really feel like trying a repeat of the stunt he had pulled at The Dark Knight – mostly because he was pissed at Sarah about Cole Barker.

Hell, they hadn't even wanted him to come to the movies tonight. "Too dangerous," Casey had growled. "Fulcrum could sneak up on you, and you'd never even know it."

"Too goddamn bad," Chuck had shot back. "I have waited YEARS for this novel to make it to the screen, and there is no possible way I'm going to miss the premiere."

And so here he was. Casey had actually seemed to get into the movie, making occasional comments under his breath. Sarah, on the other hand, kept casting glances Chuck's way. At one point, she had actually leaned over to say something to him, and he had irritably shushed her, drawing what appeared to be a very hurt look from Sarah. Nonetheless, she had shut up and stayed that way.

Chuck sighed as he looked toward the screen, where Dr. Manhattan was showing Laurie Jupiter the wonders of Mars. Jon Ostermann, I envy you sometimes.

Iron Man II
May 7th, 2010
Santa Monica, California

It was an excellent movie, almost as good as the first – or so Morgan would say later.

Chuck really hadn't been paying much attention. In fact, 99.5 percent of his attention had been focused on Sarah Walker, who had taken advantage of the fact that they had parked themselves in the back row.

As Chuck lay in bed, drifting off to sleep, he looked over at his dresser, where his old Tony Stark action figure still stood. Then, he looked over at Sarah Walker, asleep next to him. A look of happiness and serenity crossed her face.

Sarah was much more important than Tony Stark. And who cared if he had missed most of the movie – isn't that what DVDs were made for?