Oh, Bai, Dine-in Movie Theatre!

Published December 19, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Okay, so I finally got to go see The Disaster Artist, which I’ve been anxiously awaiting ever since I first heard about it.  And yes, it’s fantastic.  Definitely see it, especially if you’ve seen The Room.  (I have no idea how well it works if you haven’t.  Seems like it ought to work, though.)

But for some reason every theatre chain in this city decided it was “an arthouse flick.”

Which means it was only showing in the two artsy theatres — one located in a shopping mall (this close to Christmas!) and possessing the tiniest seats ever, and the other located in a hard-to-deal-with shopping district and only open at night — and in the “dine-in” theatres of the regular chains.  You know, the ones with the La-z-boy seats and the double price tickets.

The one in the shopping mall was absolutely out.  That’s a last resort theatre even when it isn’t Christmas-shopping season, just because it’s so uncomfortable to sit there.  And the one in the shopping district really wasn’t appealing as a prospect because their first showing of the day starts at 4-something, and trying to park there is a nightmare.  And Tuesdays are half-price ticket days at the major chains.  (Possibly only for their frequent viewer members; not sure about that.)

So we decided to risk it and went to what used to be a really nice theatre, packed with viewers.  In fact, that might be where I first saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with a lobby so crowded that it’s giving me agoraphobia just to think about it.  (Thank goodness I was less mentally fragile as a teenager! (Yikes, that’s a terrifying sentence.))

The place was deserted.

Clue one that closing it down for a year to re-fit the entire interior to “dine-in” viewing was a mistake.

So we get there, buy the tickets and have to pick seats at the ticket counter (with literally every single seat open as an option, because no one else for the showing (there was one other guy there by the time the movie started) had bought a ticket yet) which is already really weird.

Then we get inside, and there’s no concession stand.  No place to buy popcorn.  Just a bar over along one wall.

No place to buy popcorn.

My brother asks the person who tore our tickets, and she tells us that we have to order it inside the theatre.  Which is like WTF, right?  It’s popcorn, not a four-course meal.  You’re supposed to buy it while standing in line and then carry it inside with you.  It completely ruins the atmosphere of going to a movie any other way.

My response to that situation was “well, we can do without popcorn.”  ‘Cause I did not want to put up with that crap.

But my brother insisted that he didn’t want to do without popcorn at a movie, and I quickly gave up on trying to talk him out of it, because we got into the theatre, went to our seats, and discovered how awful they are.

Seriously, they were incapable of accepting any weight without tipping backwards.  You had two options:  sit there rigidly for two hours, without letting your back touch the seat enough for the seat to take any of your weight, or fall back far enough that my feet were literally incapable of reaching the floor while reclined.  And no, the seats did not have leg-rests built in.  Fortunately, the bars intended to go behind a wheelchair were in front of my seat, so I was able to put my feet on those.  (I have no idea what I would have done if a person in a wheelchair had come in and wanted to sit there.  Probably gotten out of my seat and sat on the steps next to the seat, which honestly would have been a lot more comfortable.)  Seriously, I know that I’m a bit on the short side, but 5’3″ is not an abnormally short height; if your seats are designed so that a goodly percent of average movie-goers cannot sit in them comfortably, then you have badly designed seats, period, end of subject.

Then I had to step out to the ladies’ room, and my brother ordered the popcorn while I was gone.  However that even works.  He wanted to go to the restroom, too, after I got back, but he felt like he couldn’t, since the popcorn hadn’t arrived yet, but eventually he left his wallet with me so I could pay (the food being his idea, of course he paid for it, y’know?) when the popcorn got there.  But when it did, the woman wouldn’t let me pay.  Again, wtf?  Seriously, it was just the previews.  That’s the time to pay, when no one gives a rat’s ass about what’s on screen.

But no, she wouldn’t take the money, and left again.

Leaving me with a trapped purse, snagged on the schooldesk on the arm rest on which the lidless soda was resting.  Let me repeat that:  they give you sodas with no freakin’ lids!!!  So if you’re all engaged by the movie — as you’re supposed to be — and you reach over to the drink holder where you left your drink and misremember the placement of it just a little bit you end up with your fingers in your soda!

So, during the trailers, I was assuming that all those annoying little lights everywhere were going to shut off soon.  The ones in between every single seat.

They didn’t.

Every single light stayed on for the whole picture.  Even the ones beside the empty seats!

I cannot stress enough how annoying that was.  Not to mention, you know, that there’s a freakin’ light shining right into my periphery vision the whole time!  I tried to block it with the menus they left (because of course people are going to want a meal and booze at a 1:45 afternoon showing!) and my purse, but all to no avail until I finally came up with the idea of blocking it with my coat.  That, at least, worked.

Towards the end of the movie, well after the beginning of Act III, someone comes in and puts a black rectangular thing on the school desk on my seat.  Of course, because I’m watching the freaking movie, I ignore it.

They came back several minutes later — about when the final battle would be playing if it was an action picture — and ask “Are you ready for me to take this now?”

And I’m sitting here thinking “Shut up!  I’m trying to watch the movie!!”


They wouldn’t let my brother pay for the popcorn when he ordered it, before the trailers started.

They wouldn’t let me pay for it when it was brought in during the trailers.

No, they wanted to be paid during the climax of the film.  Because that’s exactly when you’d rather be looking at your wallet rather than at the screen.

What idiot came up with this idea?

And what idiots decided to ruin perfectly good theatres all over the country — maybe all over the world — by implementing it?

I have a message for those morons:  long before you came along, there was a really excellent way to watch a movie and eat whatever you wanted at the same time, without all your hassles and annoying interruptions.

It’s called television.


I can’t believe they ruined so many local theatres for this crap.  Between this and 3D, it’s really hard to find a screening of anything these days.   But at least 3D has an excuse, in that it does add something you can’t get by watching the movie at home after it comes out on video.  (Though the idea of trying to watching a movie through two pairs of glasses does not appeal to me personally.  Maybe if I ever decide to switch to contacts, I’ll give it a try, but right now, nope.  Not happening.)


Sorry.  I had to vent.

Let me just close with two words of advice:

One, avoid “dine-in” theatres like the plague they are.

Two, go see The Disaster Artist.

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