Up to this point, I can gladly say that I have had relatively normal movie going experiences. Of course has been the occasional person on the mobile phone getting called out, the odd person complaining as I eat my potato chips (yes I know a clear violation of the Kermodian Code of Conduct), or the film stopping, mercifully to be rescued and restarted to everyone’s satisfaction.
But alas, I would have to say this past Saturday’s screening of Friends With Kids really took the cake.
As soon as I arrived at the theater I should have known I was in for something ‘special.’ Having pre-purchased my ticket, I confidently walked up to the kiosk to pick it up. Swipe #1 – nothing happened. And on it went until the point that the machine no longer would accept the card I purchased my ticket with. Oh well, I guess I have to get on line. In a break from what was to follow, this step was seamless; I had my confirmation number at the ready and immediately got my ticket.
So up to the theater I went, my ‘movie buddy’ waiting for me. After doing the usual chitchat during which we caught up on each other’s lives, the previews started rolling. Not a problem … that is until a group of three women decided they would demonstrate to all of us that they had that cool flashlight app on their smartphone. I turned to my friend and raised a quizzical brow. Eventually they find a group of three seats together. Then THEY start talking at a volume usually reserved for those outside, like in a park or something. Not cool. But all went (relatively) silent when the film started. YEAH!
As we get a little deeper into the film, I think, “Okay, this might not be as bad as expect …” Then, about 30-45 minutes into the film, it just stops! OH NO! What just happened?
People run out of the theater to alert multiplex staff. A few moments later, the sound of fire engines – a patron tells our side of the theater that there is a fire drill and that we all have to leave the theater. Unconvinced, my friend and me remain in our seats until we hear ‘official’ word.
A little while later, the folks who left the theater start trickling back in. One person in particular, forgot where she was sitting; as she walked past rows of seats and stopped in front of my friend and me and said to us, “I think you are sitting in my seat.” Already frustrated and confused, I let out an audible, “Uh uh, try again.” So she kept it moving and \stopped at the next row and said the said thing. The response from the woman sitting in what she thought was ‘her’ seat was, “Well, miss if you wanted to have the same seat, you shouldn’t have left in the first place.” SNAP! My pal and I just sat there, smiling.
Now at this point, there still is no movie or information from the staff about what is going on. Finally after what felt like an eternity, someone from the theater comes in saying that this was a false alarm and that the projectors were booting up again. Furthermore, the film will restart in about 5 minutes. And to top it off, for the inconvenience caused, we each received a re-entry voucher to be used at a later date. RESULT – NOT.
Another eternity passes and the movie has yet to recommence. Confusion is the state of the moment – staff and patron alike are shuffling in and out of the theater trying to get some word, any word about what is really going on. A frustrated set of folks decides they have had enough and walk out, demanding their money back. My friend and me choose to hang back and avoid what can only be described as pandemonium outside the theater (every screen in the cinema is experiencing the same problem).
Then, without warning, the movie continues – without sound; then the screen goes blank (again). A young man (apparently he worked there) comes into the theater and tells us that the 4:50 PM show is cancelled. To add to the confusion, a fellow patron who has a view of the projection booth alerts everyone that they should NOT leave, according to the person in the projection booth.
I get up and leave the theater (less than 50 of us in the screening at this point) and ask the member of what is going on. Then the film starts up again. Still no sound. More back and forth. I go back into the theater to join my friend who is still as patient as can be. I am about ready to leave. A couple walks in saying that they do not know why we are in the theater, because Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is showing in a few minutes. This, if true, would not surprise me at all given the events of the past hour. Thankfully, it was not true and the Salmon folks walked out of our screen and presumably to the correct one.
Now a thought has FINALLY entered my mind … why am I here? I am starting to think (wisely) that an early-ish dinner is preferable to this circus. Just as that thought enters my head – PICTURE AND SOUND! Woot! Woot! I settle back into ‘my’ seat and me and my friend, along with 30 or so resolute moviegoers, settle in for the remainder of the film.
Based on this experience and my willingness to endure to finish a film I really did not like, must say something about the completionist in me. It also says I was unwilling to pay or use my re-entry pass to finish what I had started.