How to Survive Disney's 'The Lone Ranger'

Dragged along to this family-friendly snoozer over the July 4 weekend? Consult our survival guide.

Photo courtesy of Disney


The chief problem with Disney’s 40-years-too-late adaptation of The Lone Ranger — aside from trying to force a blockbuster revival of a long-forgotten property with no name recognition for any generation younger than the Boomers — is that it’s really, really boring.

Despite Johnny Depp once again reprising his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow — sorry, Tonto — and Armie Hammer’s capable work as the titular Ranger, The Lone Ranger is an overly serious and drawn-out kiddie western with little to engage the audience. With a snooze-inducing 149-minute running time further weighing it down, it’s impossible not to check your watch.


With that in mind, I’d like to provide a theater-by-theater guide to surviving The Lone Ranger. It’s a holiday weekend, and plenty of families are heading to an air-conditioned multiplex looking for a compromise choice — and if you need a flick that pleases the grandparents and isn’t too violent for the kids, you might end up reluctantly buying a ticket for The Lone Ranger. Don’t worry; you can make it.

Order some popcorn. Watch the trailers. See how far you can make it into Tonto’s tale without itching for the exits — for me, it was about 45 minutes. Then, when you can’t take any more …

  • If you’re at AMC Loews Waterfront 22: Head upstairs to the bar. Order a beer and maybe some fries. Enjoy your drink. Slowly.

  • If you’re at Southside Works Cinema: Exit the theater altogether. Head into Urban Outfitters next door. Purchase an ironic iPhone case. Unwrap it, put it on your phone and make several test calls, preferably to old acquaintances. Catch up.

  • If you’re at Cinemark Robinson Township: Exit the theater. Walk to the far end of the parking lot. Take several photos of the surprisingly impressive vistas of Pittsburgh’s west hills. Upload to Instagram. Spend a good half-hour tagging the photos properly (we suggest #pittsburgh, #pgh and #thelonerangerisboring).

  • If you’re at Cinemagic Manor: Exit the theater, but pretend you’re just going out for a smoke break, since it’s a small-enough cinema that the staff will actually notice your exit. Head down to Games Unlimited. Ask the man behind the counter to explain, in detail, how to play Settlers of Catan. If he’s not busy, ask for a practice round. Buy a game set.

  • If you’re at Waterworks Cinema: Three words — several Burgatory milkshakes.

  • If you’re at Pittsburgh North 11: This one’s tricky, since the North Hills multiplex is sort of on its own little island. But the mammoth parking lot usually means that an exasperated father is trying to teach a 16-year-old to drive somewhere in the general area. I’d watch that for quite a while.

  • If you’re at the Cinemark Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills: Head into the mall proper. Go to New Dimension Comics and buy one of those big trade volumes of old Batman comics. Ask if they know anywhere in the mall that sells inconspicuous head-mounted flashlights. See if you can develop a way to read the comic in the theater without bothering fellow moviegoers.

When you’ve completed your task, return — begrudgingly — to your screening of The Lone Ranger. If you’ve timed it right, you’ll hear the opening notes of the William Tell Overture, which kindly announce the arrival of the movie’s only interesting sequence, an admittedly thrilling climactic chase scene.

Now, your family members or movie companions may give you a dirty look, but rest assured: They’re not angry because you ditched them for the better part of an hour. They’re jealous because you had to endure much less of The Lone Ranger than they did.

In other words, just see World War Z this weekend, okay?

Categories: After Dark