Last week, Michael and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises. However, this post is not a review of the movie, but rather a review of the movie theater that we visited. We went to an AMC Dine-in Theater, and if there is a stupider thing that exists in the world, I don’t know what it is.
I will say, my first impressions of the theater were pretty good. Upon entering, there were no ticket booths or humans anywhere – just three touch-screen terminals for buying tickets. It was cool in a technological, computers-are-taking-over kind of way. Admittedly, one of the three machines was out of order. We were there pretty early in the day, so it didn’t cause a problem, but I could see it becoming more of a hassle when the place is actually crowded.
After picking up our tickets, we went through the doors into what looked like a hotel lobby. Fancy light fixtures, ambient lighting, couches, easy chairs, and flat screen tv’s scattered throughout. On the far wall, instead of display cases of candy, rotating hot dogs, and Slushee machines, there was a giant bar. The place didn’t even smell like popcorn, which seemed amazing (not to say I dislike the smell). Again, very classy. At this point, I was still pretty impressed.
Then, we went into the theater, and that’s where things started to go south. On the positive side, the seats are giant and very comfortable, and there are fewer of them than there are in regular theaters. In front of the seats, there are tabletops for people to eat on. On the edge of the tabletop is a string of yellow lights, like the ones that light up the aisles on the floor of the theater. When I sat down, the lights came right below the screen in my field of vision. Contrary to my assumption that they would eventually go off, they stayed on for the entire movie! That alone was reason enough to never go back to that theater. But, things only got better (read: worse).
So, before the previews started, we perused the extensive menu. Mixed drinks, sliders, Thai chicken salads, blackened tuna, pasta alfredo…basically, if you can order it at Applebees, it was probably on this menu. This got me thinking. What if you hated fish and the person next to you ordered the blackened tuna? Beyond that, there are the logistics of the whole thing. HOW does one eat a giant plate of pasta alfredo when they’re trying to watch a movie? Isn’t it distracting? What if the person next to you is a noisy eater? Wouldn’t that be gross? My questions went on like this for a number of minutes.
Right before the movie started, a guy came into our row and sat down one seat away from me. The attendant came up to him, and do you know what he ordered? THE FISH AND CHIPS. Luckily, I’m not bothered by the fish smell, and his food didn’t end up smelling anyway…but what I realized next was: the simple fact that there was someone next to me eating fish and chips during the movie TOTALLY PISSED ME OFF. There’s just something inherently wrong with the whole situation.
To top it all off, this guy didn’t just eat fish and chips. He started with a small bag of popcorn and a soda. Then, he had his fish and chips. Then, DURING THE MOVIE, he rang for the waitress (there is a little alert button on the table) and ordered two more bags of popcorn and another soda. Not only was it distracting for her to serve him during the movie, but beyond that—I did not come to the movies to watch this shining example of the American appetite gorge himself on food for the entire 2 hours and 40 minutes of the movie. If we were in a regular theater and he had one of those giant buckets of popcorn, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it. But, it was something about the refills (and the fish and chips) that really got under my skin.
Bottom line: there are some foods that work at the movies, and some that don’t. Popcorn works. Candy works. Pretzel bites work. Even a hotdog or one of those gross mini pizzas can work. Thai chicken salad doesn’t work. Blackened tuna doesn’t work. Anything that has to be eaten on a plate with a fork and knife does not work.
On the plus side, the movie was great. But I’ll die before I ever go back to another dine-in movie establishment.