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VivLeighFan

Ever had a bad experience at a movie theater?

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My family are frequent moviegoers and usually have a good time but every once in a while...

I recently went to see the new Mission Impossible movie with my family and a woman brought a toddler who was making all kinds of noise throughout the viewing. I had already seen the movie with my father and knew there was one utterance of the f-word so I immediately got worried.

A full-on fight broke out when my family went to see the newest Spiderman movie when apparently someone kept kicking another person's seat and they started arguing. My brother and father immediately jumped to break it up. The people just let themslves be escorted out afterwards. No one was hurt. Fortunately it was near the end of the movie.

And there was this one time when my father and I were walking out of the theater when someone threw their drink over our heads in anger at someone else.

My brother told me that once when he went to a movie theater the movie stopped playing for some reason and he had to leave without finishing it. He doesn't remember what movie it was.

I've always loved going to the movies and even want to work at one someday but also I have begun to understand why some people prefer to watch movies in the comfort and familarity of their own homes.

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When I was a kid, it was years before I ever learned about the "framing ratio" that's blocked off by projectors, and that's why you see overhead boom mikes in films where the projectionist hasn't set it up correctly.  That would explain one or two strange films I remember.

And then, I did mention that one year I was at an all-night cult-scifi marathon in the coldest day in February, the theater was showing some early archival foreign/silent animated version of "Baron Munchhausen" (I keep thinking it was Lotte Reiniger's, but can't find one on IMDB)....and the heat went out?  All of a sudden, seeing foreign animation frolic about lost every bit of its whimsy, and the audience started to mutiny.  Shouts to the projectionist started coming up from the audience, of "Stop the Baron!" and "The Baron must die!!"

(That's one of the few times our rowdy all-night audience couldn't make a painful film fun, MST3K style.  For example, when they showed Michael Crichton's aptly-named "The Terminal Man"--with half an hour of surgical footage followed by another hour of George Segal running around as a lunatic killer--the audience was so restless that every time the scene faded out, we cheered "Yayy!"...And when the next scene came on, "Aww!")

I've always loved going to the movies and even want to work at one someday but also I have begun to understand why some people prefer to watch movies in the comfort and familarity of their own homes.

We have a generation to whom you literally can not explain what's so "fun" about going to see a movie, if they've never been to an old non-cineplex movie palace in their life.

In My Day, Junior(tm), theaters were on main street, had one to three screens, were either small or huge and antique, and since you could go to one just about anytime, it was all about the going, not about what was playing.  If it was Friday night, you would actually go see something you hadn't heard of, just to get out and go...Try THAT one on studios today.

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I don't really have any dramatic stories, but there's definitely a dramatic increase in parents bringing infants or very young children t to movies that really don't seem suitable for them in my part of the world. I'm not really that worried about the sensibilities of the children anymore. What with the video games and the stuff on the Internet, I suspect children for the most part are a lot less traumatized by that stuff than I would have been at that age. But I do resent the kids who make noise the whole damn movie and the parents that don't do anything to shush their kids. I would say in 90 per cent of all such instances, the parents make no attempt whatsoever to quiet their children, possibly because the youngest generation of parents really don't comprehend any difference between protocol at a movie theater and in front of their home entertainment system in their living room. The younger you are, it seems, the less likely you are to perceive any need whatsoever to behave with different rules of etiquette in public than you do at home. And so, that has made my movie-viewing experiences more annoying.

I have had a few movies short out on me in recent years that the theater couldn't restart, or in once instance by the time they could restart it, it would have spilled over into the scheduled time for the next screening, so they wouldn't finish it for my group! Two of the movies I distinctly remember this happening in were The Intern and Alien Covenant. I still don't know how either of those movies ends, so nobody spoil them for me in case I ever watch them at home! In all such instances, I got a voucher to see another movie at the same theater.

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I've experienced a lot of the usual sources of complaints: people with their cell phones ringing, having conversations on them during the movie, pulling them out to check the time every five minutes with the screen lit up like a flashlight. And then there are the seat kickers and loud talkers and loud eaters and screaming infants and people spilling their drinks so that they cover most of the slanted floor from the rear of the theater down to the front. I've attended movies where there were several young children running up and down the aisles and down in front of the screen, playing tag and throwing stuff at each other, all the while the parents or older siblings doing nothing. 

I recall that during the terrible Keifer Sutherland horror movie Mirrors someone set off the fire alarm in the theater and we had to evacuate. It was near the end so I just went home. I later saw the last ten minutes on TV. There was a bad stretch at my local theater that lasted about two years in the late 90's under one particular manager where every movie I saw (and I was attending roughly one movie a week on average), someone would have to go tell the workers out front that the movie was messed up, either out of focus or misaligned or the bulb turned down too low. It was amateur hour.

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Other than being underwhelmed by the movie and wishing I was in my own cozy surroundings or out socializing instead?  No.  But this seems to happen a lot with current offerings, so I basically just don't bother.

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Oh wait, I take that back.

There is a big cinema multiplex across town that I particularly try to avoid.  Several years ago after a movie, there was a large unkept blonde woman who pulled up to my parked vehicle and stole one of my hubcaps (actually a plastic wheel cover).  She just nonchalently stopped her car, got out, took it, and left.  One of my friends saw her leaving with it, then we noticed I was missing a hubcap moments later.  Life must be hard for her.  Ten minutes on the Internet and I had a pack of four or five replacements on the way for less than the price of a couple movie tickets.

Same theater megaplex parking lot on a different occasion, a big white vehicle pulled up to my parked car, and the door was swung open hard enough to put a small to medium sized dent in my door.  Also it left behind some flakes of white paint (that's how I know it was large and white).  Interesting thing is, this all happened when I was standing outside the theater by the entry, waiting for a friend to arrive.  This happened in the time span of about 5 or 10 minutes as I was waiting.  I didn't see it because it was blocked from my view.  I then walked back to my car to get something, and that is when I noticed it.  We walked around the parking lot looking for a large white vehicle with a damaged driver or passenger door, and some flakes of paint from my car.  Nothing.  Hit and run, must have gotten scared and run home to mommy.

So at least one redeeming quality for this megaplex theater is that there is a Home Depot about 400 feet away.  Now I often shop at the Home Depot locations closer to me, it is one of my favorite stores.  Nothing ever happens to my vehicles in their parking lots.  Must have something to do with pride of ownership and respect for personal property that Home Depot customers have in common.  They are mostly either hard-working tradesmen or home owners that like to fix things up.  The one next to that theater can't be any different.  I think I will try parking over at that Home Depot instead and then walk over to the megaplex theater next time (that is, "if" there is a next time).

Finally there is a story I heard from yet another friend, regarding the same megaplex theater.  It made the local papers at the time.  There was a group of thieves who showed up in the parking lot one night and stole the catalytic convertors from a number of different cars, vans, and trucks for their scrap value in titanium.  They each apparently showed up with a creeper and Sawzall, and slid underneath different vehicles and cut off the catalytic convertors.  At show break, when a number of people left the theater, it reportedly sounded like a Harley convention with everyone's mufflers disconnected at the same time.

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I remember one time being part of a group of kids who ruined everyone else's movie experience. I was about 10, I was in fifth grade. One of my friends was having a birthday. He and his twin sister. They were both allowed to invite five friends out to a movie, with their mother buying the tickets. 

I will never forget that movie. It was called SPACE RAIDERS.

I was well-behaved and trying to enjoy the movie. But it was awful, just a really bad movie. The other kids were extremely bored by it, so they started throwing hard lemon candies across the darkened theater. Those poor people (adults) were trying to figure out what hit them, who was pelting candy at them, where was it coming from, etc. It was more entertaining than the movie.

The best part was some guy took his toupee off to adjust it and my friend took a big wad of gum out of his mouth and lobbed it over at the man and it stuck in the middle of his bald head. His wife screamed when she saw the gum and the saliva running down the side of his head. She said "I'm going to get the manager!" and she just bolted up out of her seat and hurried out the back. All my friends quickly split up and found other seats scattered around the theater. The woman had given the theater manager a description of my friend who had thrown the gum, so they were going up and down the aisles shining a flashlight in people's eyes trying to find my friend. When they found him he was pretending to be asleep.

After the movie ended, Mrs. Smith picked us up at the front entrance with another mother. They asked if we had a good time at the movie. And of course we did. So it was easy to say yes. I still don't even know what SPACE RAIDERS was about.

P.S. I see this movie has a 4.7 rating on the IMDb. And it was about a ten year old boy in outer space. So I guess that's why we went to see it. That woman who went to get the manager, she was really mean.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086345/?ref_=nv_sr_1

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I once caused a minor bad experience. I was with a friend watching The Garden of the

Finzi-Continis when we were talking a bit too loudly as the move started. A woman in

front of us turned around and told us to be quiet. We gave her a dirty look back but

shut up for the most part.

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Several times I've had a negative experience at a movie theatre.

There was the time some peanut brain sitting in front of me turned around and asked me to to stop kicking his seat. "I'll do what I like," I rightfully told him and continued to kick the seat throughout the rest of the film. This same jerk also accused me of tripping him as we walked out of the theatre while all I was trying to do was nudge hm aside a little. I didn't intend for him to actually fall down. What a maroon!

There was also the time I very politely asked the woman beside me if I could have some of her popcorn but she said no. I said nothing but steamed about it a bit. Later she had a Mars bar. I love Mars bars. But when I asked (again, very politely) if I could have a bite she refused to let me have one and asked me to leave her alone.

These are the kind of self centred clowns I have had to deal with on occasion. Some people have no idea what boors they are.

 

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30 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

I remember one time being part of a group of kids who ruined everyone else's movie experience. I was about 10, I was in fifth grade. One of my friends was having a birthday. He and his twin sister. They were both allowed to invite five friends out to a movie, with their mother buying the tickets. 

I will never forget that movie. It was called SPACE RAIDERS.

I was well-behaved and trying to enjoy the movie. But it was awful, just a really bad movie. The other kids were extremely bored by it, so they started throwing hard lemon candies across the darkened theater. Those poor people (adults) were trying to figure out what hit them, who was pelting candy at them, where was it coming from, etc. It was more entertaining than the movie.

The best part was some guy took his toupee off to adjust it and my friend took a big wad of gum out of his mouth and lobbed it over at the man and it stuck in the middle of his bald head. His wife screamed when she saw the gum and the saliva running down the side of his head. She said "I'm going to get the manager!" and she just bolted up out of her seat and hurried out the back. All my friends quickly split up and found other seats scattered around the theater. The woman had given the theater manager a description of my friend who had thrown the gum, so they were going up and down the aisles shining a flashlight in people's eyes trying to find my friend. When they found him he was pretending to be asleep.

After the movie ended, Mrs. Smith picked us up at the front entrance with another mother. They asked if we had a good time at the movie. And of course we did. So it was easy to say yes. I still don't even know what SPACE RAIDERS was about.

P.S. I see this movie has a 4.7 rating on the IMDb. And it was about a ten year old boy in outer space. So I guess that's why we went to see it. That woman who went to get the manager, she was really mean.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086345/?ref_=nv_sr_1

TopBilled, your comment where you say "I was well behaved..." reminded me so much of one of my favorite Shirley Jackson stories, called "Charles". For those who would like to read it, here's a link or just put in a search for "Charles" by Shirley Jackson. You will not be disappointed. Great story, TB!:

www.norwellschools.org/cms/lib/MA01001453/Centricity/Domain/206/_Charles_%20with%20annotations.pdf

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18 minutes ago, Vautrin said:

I once caused a minor bad experience. I was with a friend watching The Garden of the

Finzi-Continis when we were talking a bit too loudly as the move started. A woman in

front of us turned around and told us to be quiet. We gave her a dirty look back but

shut up for the most part.

You talked while the handsome blonde brother guy was dying but turned out to be the only lucky person in the family of the Finzi-Continis, since the Nazis were coming and would be offing them all, Vautrin?

That is shameful and really bad form, even for New Jersey!

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1 hour ago, CaveGirl said:

You talked while the handsome blonde brother guy was dying but turned out to be the only lucky person in the family of the Finzi-Continis, since the Nazis were coming and would be offing them all, Vautrin?

That is shameful and really bad form, even for New Jersey!

This was at the start of the film, so the audience was just getting into the picture.

We were more interested in looking at Dominique Sanda than the brothers, but

that's a gender matter. We were teenagers who did not appreciate the great

cinematic masterpiece which we were about to experience. This was in New York,

if I recall it correctly. And it sure seemed to last longer than 95 minutes. I've only

seen it a few times since and have upgraded my opinion of the movie. 

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1 hour ago, CaveGirl said:

TopBilled, your comment where you say "I was well behaved..." reminded me so much of one of my favorite Shirley Jackson stories, called "Charles". For those who would like to read it, here's a link or just put in a search for "Charles" by Shirley Jackson. You will not be disappointed. Great story, TB!:

www.norwellschools.org/cms/lib/MA01001453/Centricity/Domain/206/_Charles_%20with%20annotations.pdf

Yes, "Charles" was very bad that day at the movie theater.

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The theater experience has really declined in recent decades. I've had to deal with kids running up and down the aisles all through the movie, kicking chairs, talking, crying etc... I only go to my neighborhood theater during mornings or early day when its mostly empty.

I can't watch a comedy because while the crowd is laughing, I can't hear the next bit of dialogue. Nor a drama because it requires people to be quiet. And they rarely are.

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There was the one time 17 years ago that the film broke during the screening and took about 10 to 15 minutes to fix, but that wasn't too bad really in retrospect. Other that that, only a few noisy people, and that doesn't matter much. (And in the case of a family with several children around 10-12 at a screening of The Intern a few years back, their warm laughter and the children literally finding this sweet, sedate comedy-drama just their cup of tea, was endearing and charming)

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I suppose most of us had some bad experiences( at least to US) in movie theaters.  I went through many similar ones mentioned so far.  But the two worst I can recall( besides the movie being just plain LOUSY....)---

Back in late '64, when A HARD DAY'S NIGHT finally showed up at my town's only movie house, I urged a small group of my friends to go see it.  I had already seen it before at a theater in a different city, and on the same day The Beatles were slated to play at Detroit's Olympia Stadium.  So it was pretty quiet in THAT theater, but at the hometown house, the girls in the audience were SCREAMING so loud, we couldn't hear any of the MUSIC in it, let alone any of the dialog.  My ears rang for a week afterwards....

The second time was much later when a showing of FANTASIA made it's way around to my vicinity again, and as usual, it's showings were advertised in the paper accompanied by a picture of Mickey Mouse in the "Sorcerer's Apprentice"  scene, which caused a lot of clueless parents to drag their pre-school toddlers to the theater, and when they got quickly bored with all the odd animation and classical music and then started fidgeting and whining, the added "Shush-ing" of the parents made it too, a difficult movie to both watch and hear.

Sepiatone

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I recall once going to a small Toronto revival theatre to see THE SEA HAWK, with Errol Flynn.

Sitting in front of us was an oversized goof who kept cracking jokes out loud at the film's expense.

There was a moment, for example, in the film's slave galley scene when a new prisoner was chained next to Flynn and introduced himself with the words, "I'm Abbott." Sure enough goof boy pipes up "Where's Costello?" followed by gales of his own self congratulatory laughter.

This was a showing in the pre video tape days when it was difficult to see the film and having this loud mouthed comic in the audience had to be an annoyance to more than just me and my friend, I'm sure.

At one point during the film the comic got up and told his companion he was going outside for some orange juice. He stomped out of the little screening room and we could hear his loud clod hopper feet pounding down the stairs to go outside into the street. Obviously a true cinema buff like this didn't care how much of the film he missed but it gave us a few minutes of peace in which to enjoy the film without his running jokey commentary.

About ten minutes later, though, we could hear the outside door down below open and close, followed by the sound of feet slowly ascending the stairs. Suddenly there was the sound of a CRASH! followed by some cursing on the stairs.

About a minute later the curtain to the screening room was pushed open and we looked to see the goof standing there with a crushed can of dripping orange juice in his hand.

"I fell," he said.

"No kidding," I thought.

I could feel my friend vibrating in his seat beside me as he tried to suppress his laughter. I practically had to shove a handkerchief into my mouth so as to not burst out loud with gaffaws. At that moment, at least, it felt that there may indeed have been an old movie god watching over us and racking down a vengeance upon this "Where's Costello" clown. Perhaps it was the ghost of Flynn that tripped him.

The sight of the goof with the dripping crushed orange can in his hand made our evening. There were chuckles coming from our mouths for much the rest of the screening, and they had nothing to do with the film.

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My days of enjoying movies - on a single screen - in the opulent, baroque beauty of theaters like Lowes' Kings, Brooklyn Paramount, RKO Prospect w/special-occasion trips to NY's Criterion or Radio City Music Hall are long over. You couldn't drag me into a multiplex today.

LOWE'S KINGS THEATER

kings-venue-2-1920x1280.jpg.4fdd611e3e41f2ec4b8d5875b06e07ec.jpg

Second only to enjoying a movie in the comfort of my own home, would be to ferret out one of the last remaining drive in theaters in the hinterlands.

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5 hours ago, TomJH said:

I recall once going to a small Toronto revival theatre to see THE SEA HAWK, with Errol Flynn.

Sitting in front of us was an oversized goof who kept cracking jokes out loud at the film's expense.

There was a moment, for example, in the film's slave galley scene when a new prisoner was chained next to Flynn and introduced himself with the words, "I'm Abbott." Sure enough goof boy pipes up "Where's Costello?" followed by gales of his own self congratulatory laughter.

This was a showing in the pre video tape days when it was difficult to see the film and having this loud mouthed comic in the audience had to be an annoyance to more than just me and my friend, I'm sure.

At one point during the film the comic got up and told his companion he was going outside for some orange juice. He stomped out of the little screening room and we could hear his loud clod hopper feet pounding down the stairs to go outside into the street. Obviously a true cinema buff like this didn't care how much of the film he missed but it gave us a few minutes of peace in which to enjoy the film without his running jokey commentary.

About ten minutes later, though, we could hear the outside door down below open and close, followed by the sound of feet slowly ascending the stairs. Suddenly there was the sound of a CRASH! followed by some cursing on the stairs.

About a minute later the curtain to the screening room was pushed open and we looked to see the goof standing there with a crushed can of dripping orange juice in his hand.

"I fell," he said.

"No kidding," I thought.

I could feel my friend vibrating in his seat beside me as he tried to suppress his laughter. I practically had to shove a handkerchief into my mouth so as to not burst out loud with gaffaws. At that moment, at least, it felt that there may indeed have been an old movie god watching over us and racking down a vengeance upon this "Where's Costello" clown. Perhaps it was the ghost of Flynn that tripped him.

The sight of the goof with the dripping crushed orange can in his hand made our evening. There were chuckles coming from our mouths for much the rest of the screening, and they had nothing to do with the film.

This ranks up there with your piece about Kim Novak and the VERTIGO screening you attended.

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13 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Some Peter Sellers film that wasn't remotely funny was the only film I ever walked out on.

I walked out on CliffhangerExotica, and Hollywood Homicide.

220px-Cliffhanger_Poster.jpg

220px-Exoticaposter.jpg

220px-Hollywood_homicide.jpg

None of those are especially awful, although I didn't care for any of them, but their mediocrity was just enough to meet my level of wanting to be elsewhere at the time.

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I was about ten years old when I went to the movies with the wrong friend.  This friend was a perpetual trouble maker at school and I knew better not to hang out with him but I did any way.  Just as the picture started as we sat in our seats Mickey started his mayhem, with me following suit from making noises, running up the aisles, throwing popcorn and candy all around until ushers with flash lights came and grabbed us and brought us to the manager's office.  Our parents were called and we waited to be picked up by our angry mothers. The manager warned that we were never to come back to the theatre again and if we did he'd throw us out.  Well, about a whole month went by before my nother let me go back to the movies, but without Mickey.  My first time back I was able to get in with no problem and I was well behaved throughout.  Mickey never asked me to go to the movies with him again and I never did.

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The only bad experience I had was when I went to see GODZILLA (2014). The sound was cranked up so loud I had to crumple up napkin pieces and stick them in my ears.

As for comfort, I got three dozen seats (with cup holders) from a theater that a friend of mine was closing in New Jersey. I told my contractor who was installing them to give plenty of leg room! As you can see, my audiences are happy campers!

audience_bandwagon.jpg

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