Thursday, February 16, 2017

The future of movie theaters?

I've spent countless hours in movie theaters.  I love movie theaters.  Sitting in a darkened theater for two hours is one of my happy places.  Or... it used to be.  But old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be, apparently.

First is this new trend of forcing you to select your seat at the box office window.  I. Hates. It.  Precious.  It's nearly impossible to tell from their charts how close your proposed seats are to the screen.  I like to sit fairly close, but not too close.  But I like the screen to dominate my view.  I've already had to sit way farther back than I remotely like on a couple viewings because I can't tell!  I feel like I'm going to need to carry some sort of giant cheat sheet with me, listing every single auditorium in every single theater we go to, and which rows represent the distance I like.  Now, if it's a viewing that's nearly empty, as does happen, then switching seats isn't a problem.  But really.  This whole trend has added a level of stress and unhappiness I've never had before when going to the theater.  Even when a screening was nearly full, I could still find seating that pleased me just walking in.  Now... not so much.

Second is this new trend of changing the stadium seats to be these wide, long recliner seats.  Oddly, in an age of cramming more people in, this is doing the opposite.  The theater I was just in, that would have had a good 30 rows or so, now only has 8 rows.  And because the seats recline, apparently they felt the close rows no longer need to be stadium-style, so we're regressing back to my childhood days of staring up up up at a screen, rather than looking straight ahead or slightly down via stadium seating.  AND, the way they rebuilt the theater to accommodate these recliners... they put a very wide *&^$&* aisle where the best seating would have been previously.  Seriously, people.  WTF???  And of course, you have to choose seats ahead of time, so I had no idea the theater even had this new configuration.  So, it's either sit too close and below the screen.  Or sit too far away and be up higher.  STRESS!  UNHAPPINESS!  Why do they think this is a good idea, exactly?

Third, our AMC has not only done one and two, but their theaters are now dine-in theaters.  I just experienced this madness this week.  When you hand them your ticket to get in, they tell you, "Don't go to the concession stand, your waiter will come to your seat to get you whatever you need."  As you walk back to your auditorium, you pass kitchens.  Full-on restaurant kitchens.  With chefs.  Waiters are walking the theater balancing trays.  You don't walk into the theater anymore, a waiter escorts you to your seat.  The seats have trays (which prevent you from crossing your legs), and there are menus, real silverware wrapped in a cloth napkin waiting for you.  There is a call button between seats to call your waiter to you anytime you want.

I'm not kidding.

I was appalled.  I go to the movies to sit in the darkness, be undisturbed, and get lost in a fictional world for two hours.  It appears that joy is going to be taken away.  Now there are people walking about carrying food, being distracting.  Now there is the clatter of silverware on plates, glasses being set down on trays, and the smell of meals, being distracting.  Even their fricking call button is illuminated and glowing right beside your head.  I had to take the napkin and cover it up it was so irritating.  All these things pull me out of the movie.  All these things make me want to cry. 

I just want to watch a movie on the big screen in peace and quiet.

I don't want to pick the wrong seats ahead of time.
I don't want to recline.
I don't want to eat a meal.
I don't want a waiter coming to check on me.
I just want to watch a *%@%$^ movie IN PEACE AND QUIET.

*deep breath*

I guess we really are heading towards the world depicted in Wall-E.  Everyone on their personal recliner, not having to get up or move, everything coming to you.

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