Sunday, October 11, 2009

Adventures in bargain basement cinema!

A couple blocks from our apartment there is a little "mom and pop" theater. And now that I think about it I should really have plugged them by now, but I think in this particular article might not be the right place. This theater has first run movies for second run prices- which makes it a sort of mecca for Watcher X and I. Not Mecca in the sense that we get on our knees and pray in it's direction twice a day, but Mecca in the sense that we often make a pilgrimage to it's doors.
On the whole, a full service trip to this theater (Tickets, popcorn, pop, and a Nerds Rope- don't ask) runs around $16 dollars, that's $8 bucks a person- which is the price per ticket at the nearest chain theater. But, like all things good, it's a double edged sword and the "rub" comes in three forms. 1.) There are only four theaters, and though they'll often switch out a movie that been playing since it's opening weekend for something that's in it's second or third week out, this still makes for a bit of a limited selection. And to see certain movies you'll just have bite the bullet and hit the bigger theaters. 2.) It never gets any of the more independent movies, which isn't really their fault. And 3.) Showings sometimes fall victim to "technical difficulties" though usually their small scale.
This past Friday, Watcher X chose Couples Retreat for that evenings visit and we settled into our seats hoping for, but in my case highly doubting I would get, a comedy explosion. I'll save the details for the full review but for now I'll share that it seems, from what I saw, that my doubts were well placed. I say from what I saw, because we didn't finish the movie. This is an hour and forty-seven minute long movie, and around the 80 minute mark the audio died. The projector was still running, but there was no sound. I waited the obligatory couple of minutes for the problem to be righted and then went and informed the nearest employee. A few other patrons followed suit as the problem persisted, but eventually it came down to this: Some where around eight or ten people, spaced out across the theater, sitting in the dark, staring at a movie with no audio.
And then a funny thing happened. That seen with the overly friendly yoga instructor started to play (there's no spoiler here as we've all been bombarded with it in the previews and T.V. spots). Couples Retreat had been good for some chuckles until the sound had died, but all in all it hadn't gotten much out of us. Now, as physical comedy played out on screen, one by one we all started to laugh. The joke itself was funny, but what was really cracking me up as time went on was the irony. Our theater, which had been relatively unmoved by a fully functional film, was now in uproar at a mute screen.
Nobody stayed very long after that. Once that scene ended, the usher (who had been too busy laughing before hand to say so) announced that he would be handing out free passes and we grabbed ours and left, audio never having come back. We are still debating whether or not to finish the movie. On the one hand I'm a completest. If I start a movie, I want the full experience. But on the other, as Watcher X put so well: "Free passes- their like a clean slate!" Either way, I'm certainly not angry with our little theater. That is by far the worst "technical difficulty" I've ever experienced there. And after all, it's these kind of things that make for great stories. We may not have gotten a funny movie but we got a hilarious movie experience, and the movie sacrificed was of no major interest to either of us- no harm, no foul. If anything it endeared the theater to me. Why have quality when you can have character?

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