Denver, CO — Not all heroes wear capes. For some, like Russell Higgins, it’s all in a day’s work.
Russell, age 56, has spent every weekend at the local Regal Cinemas for the better part of 20 years. A self-proclaimed cinephile and craft beer enthusiast, he just can’t seem to stay away from the silver screen. “I love movies,” says Russell. “I don’t have any family, so I have plenty of time to keep up with the box office. Michael Bay is family enough for me.”
Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates a good blockbuster the way Russell does. The local theater often doubles as a hangout for disruptive teens, whom Russell says interrupt his flicks with topics like “memes” and “James Corden.”
“I went to the theater attendant, the manager, corporate, the police — all the way up the chain. But no one seemed to be concerned that my Rewards were being squandered.” Russell had no choice but to take matters into his own hands.
“I remember the first time like it was yesterday,” he explains. “It happened so fast. I just turned around and put my finger to my mouth like this and went ‘Sh!’”
He recounts how the entire theater fell silent after his brave act. The film came to a stop. The lights flicked on. Then, one by one, the moviegoers began to clap, slowly rising from their seats and turning to him, applauding his heroics. The feeling was like none he had felt before. That night, Russell vowed to sacrifice his weekends for the cause. No movie would be ever interrupted by teens again. “Not at my Regal Cinemas!”
His impact cannot be understated. When asked about Higgins, townsfolk praise his work, with comments ranging from, “Is that the dude who likes to talk about his IBS?” to, “Please step out of line if you’re not going to order, sir.”
Do the offenders ever retaliate? Russell laughs. “Sometimes they give me looks, but that’s just because they respect me. Sometimes they even thank me by bringing me toilet paper, you know, for my IBS. I just wish they’d stop throwing it on my house.”
It isn’t always easy. He recalls one weekend when he had pneumonia, and his doctor advised he take the weekend off. So he powered through. “When I thought about all of the people who rely on me, I couldn’t bring myself to shirk my duties. Also, it was opening weekend for Emoji Movie.”
Despite the challenges, Russell takes pride in his efforts, and his community takes pride in him. A plaque sits outside of the Denver Regal Cinemas as a testament to Russell Higgins. “I have to put a new one up every month,” Russell said. “They keep taking it down to have it cleaned or something, but they always forget to put it back.”
Now that he has Movie Pass, he’s stepped up his efforts ten-fold. “I don’t care if I get a little spit on them from time to time. I don’t care if I miss the movie doing it. I will shush every mildly-distracting movie loiterer who has the misfortune of sharing a theater with me,” he says. “And if that doesn’t work, you can bet your ass I’ll turn right back to the screen and cross my arms in protest until my discontent is perfectly clear.”
There’s no telling if Russell Higgins’ work will ever be done. But one thing is for sure: his story will live on as an inspiration to moviegoers for years to come.