For reasons that surely exist but seem hard to comprehend, the "Transformers" premiere took place at the Los Angeles Film Festival on Wednesday evening.
Westwood Village isn't really set up to handle this kind of movie mayhem. Most of the attendees do not regularly attend premieres, so the scene at the will call lines was one of barely contained panic.
At 7:10, a young woman in a short black dress hurriedly hopped out of an idling Mustang convertible, opening her car door into a passing bicyclist and sending him to the ground.
"I'm so sorry," she mumbled as the young man picked himself up.
Then she stood around awkwardly, occasionally glancing at her watch, as he finished testing his front wheel and periodically gripped his aching hand.
The people on line watched in sympathy, mostly for her, because any one of them could have done the same thing.
Everyone was relieved when he finally rode off.
The movie itself was a pure 12-year-old's fantasy. It's a world where the hottest girl in school looks like a model from the "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit issue and also happens to know a lot about cars; where the dorky guy with imperfect skin holds the key to saving the world; and where the best computer hacker in America is a gorgeous blond Australian with a nose ring.
When it was over Joe Casio, 27, who sells ads for local radio station Power 106, said, "I'm right in between 'like' and 'love' with it."
His friend and co-worker Preston Williams, 31, added, "I loved the introduction when they all changed to robots. All their names started to come back to me."
What they didn't like was the barely there love story ("Weak!") and they were annoyed that the film's star, Shia LeBeouf, never got to kiss the sexy grease monkey ("How come he didn't get any?").
After the premiere, there was a huge party that closed down several blocks of Westwood's Broxton Avenue, where aside from copious free booze, guests were served sleep-over fare like mini-corn dogs, ice cream and a Burger King buffet.
The VIP area was down at the far end of the party, so celebrities including Michael Bay and Josh Duhamel had to walk through the rest of the party before getting to their safe haven.
Idling down the street in sunglasses and white fedora, Bernie Mac called out to a bartender, "You got any beer?" But before he could stop and find out, he was ushered toward the VIP area. There was presumably plenty of beer there, and judging from the relaxed door policy, a lot of reality TV stars, too.