The cinema ‘experience’ (Part 3)

Following on from parts one and two, here is the final category in why the cinema experience isn’t that great.

3. The Performance

Bearing in mind I left the comfort of my home to see a film, I still have some issues with the viewing experience. These are:

Retard Retail therapy

All the adverts.

SO many adverts.

The same adverts that we’ve seen on TV, but this time they’re the unedited, longer versions that we can’t avoid on the massive screen. Usually we’d ignore them at home by making tea, fast forwarding (if it’s a recorded program) or muting them entirely.

Not at the cinema.

Nope, here you have to endure it all in high definition with super loud digital surround sound.

Still boring.

sleep cinema

In addition to the adverts for cars, yoghurts, perfumes, mobile phones and alcohol (seriously, what exactly IS the demographic here?), they have at least 3 or 4 adverts about the cinema experience.

Eh?

It’s basically 10 minutes spent telling us how great it is to visit the cinema and how much you should go to the cinema and what to expect at the cinema…..WHILST YOU’RE SAT IN THE CINEMA!

Surely these are the adverts that should be on TV?  I really don’t understand the point of advertising a product to people who are already using it.

“Try Oxygen….it’s great!”

In addition, they advertise that “It’s not too late to grab a Coke from the foyer”.

This isn’t because you’ve forgotten to buy refreshments, but because you’ve already finished your drink during the 40 minutes of crap you’ve had to endure prior to the film.

Technical difficulties

Blurry screen, sound out of sync, all the lights staying on, lines and marks on the picture throughout, bad sound etc… I’ve experienced it all.

vhs

The daddy of technical fuck ups, however, was back when ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ was having its run back in 2013. I had already seen it in 3D, but I really wanted to see it again in IMAX so I decided to go to a late night showing [1].

The film got to around 10 minutes from the end when suddenly the screen went pitch black. The sound was still going on, but there were no visuals.

Never before has a film’s title been so appropriate.

After everyone in the cinema had heard the end of the film, a staff member came out and apologised.  He then said they were going to restart the film from the place we’d lost the picture.  We all breathed a sigh of relief and sat back to watch the last 10 minutes properly.

They started it from half way. The film is over 2 hours in length.

Bollocks.

I was getting tired, but I decided to Klingon until the end of the film.

(groan)

I eventually left the cinema around 2am.

Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan…….ts

khaaaan!

The limbo moment

I hate this moment in movies.

It’s that span of silence between the BBFC film card…

HIAB BBFC

…and the first bit of anything actually happening on screen.

The reason I hate this is because people are unable to put away their phones or stop their inane conversations until something actually happens on screen to distract them.  They’re like fucking cavemen seeing fire for the first time.

“Duuuuuuh?”

Once something happens (dialogue, action, anything), their conversations die down and their phones (mostly) get put away.

It’s like distracting a crying baby with a set of jangling keys.

distracted

The only Limbo moment that I love (which always commands total silence in a cinema) is the one between the 20th Century Fox fanfare and the trumpet blast of the Star Wars opening Crawl.

That silence is gorgeous.

Then the ‘Lucasfilm’ logo comes up, sparkles for a bit and disappears, followed by the words: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….”.

Without exception, I get goosebumps of anticipation every single time.

In fact, I’m getting them right now, just thinking about it.

I felt a pang of sadness when I heard that Disney had bought the franchise.  Not because I think they’ll make it all childish (after all, George Lucas was responsible for Jar Jar Binks and Disney did a great job with the Marvel franchise), but because I was going to miss the 20th Century Fox/Star Wars crawl combo.

Will we get that goosebump moment?

I really hope they open with an X-Wing or the Millennium Falcon flying over (or through) the Disney castle at the beginning.

We’ll see.

Steamboat Starwars

Anyway, all this got me thinking about how I’d love the cinema experience to be.  How would I run the cinemas if I was calling the shots?

Well, here are the rules and regulations I would put into place:

  1. No mobile phones allowed in the screens. They will need to be checked in with staff, or switched off and inserted rectally.
  2. Only quiet foods allowed, such as Marshmallows or warm soup (hot soup would involve too much slurping).  All food will be served in bowls; nice quiet bowls.
  3. You can still have popcorn, but only as much as you can carry in your hands.
  4. Food prices will be reasonable, negating the need to sneak in your own (we all do it!)
  5. No talking.  Snipers with tranquiliser darts will be deployed in all screens.
  6. No babies in the screens.  Ever.  Babysitting services will be provided.
  7. Children will be allowed.  Snipers with lower dosage tranquiliser darts will be deployed in all screens.
  8. No adverts.  Plenty of trailers and previews of course.
  9. Large, soft, reclining seats with footrests.  Most will have vibrating massage features as standard.  Plenty of legroom.
  10. Allocated parking.  One vehicle per party.  If there’s a lot of you, hire a minivan.
  11. Friendly staff. Preferably film lovers and nerds.  All staff will be required to watch every movie with free food and drink provided.

That will do for starters, although I get the feeling I may have gone a bit too far here.

Oh well.

I don’t care.

At the end of the day, it’s all about the movies.

I love movies and I will always love movies.  To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever stop going to the cinema because, despite its shortcomings, it’s easy to forget all the hassle when you’re engrossed in a really good film.

One day I will find the perfect cinema experience (in a galaxy far, far away?), but until then my search will continue.

Fin.

[1] The best time to go to the cinema is for a VERY late showing, ideally around 11pm. Then it’s usually only you and some fat guy in a black t-shirt.  On this occasion there were a small handful, just like the popcorn in rule number 3.

The cinema ‘experience’ (Part 2)

Following on from Part 1, here is the second category in why the cinema experience isn’t that great.

 2. The People

I can tolerate the extortionate prices of the food and over-iced drinks. I can even tolerate the uncomfortably stained and sticky seats.  It’s the people I have issues with. I could write shitloads about the people, but there’s only a finite amount of storage on the internet so I’ll break it down into categories.

Talkers

Why are you talking through the film? You’ve chosen and paid money to watch this film, so sit down, shut up and fucking watch it.  Are you so incapable of not spewing utter bollocks for 2 measly hours of the day?  If you can’t shut up, get out.

cinema talking

I have to go out on a limb here and include children and babies in this section. I realise it’s not their fault as they have yet to adopt social cinema etiquette, but come on!  If your baby is screaming and crying, take them outside.

They’re clearly not happy being in a dark noisy room surrounded by strangers.  After all, I’m not.

Take them outside. What are you doing in the cinema with a baby anyway? Either leave them with a sitter/friend/stranger or catch the film in a few months on Netflix.  It’s not fair on the baby and it’s not fair on me, er, I mean us.

As far as kids are concerned, have a word with them beforehand about not talking or at the very least gag your little treasures.

I’m joking of course, but there is a degree of responsibility here on the parents. When the child is asking “Daddy, what’s Shrek doing?  Daddy?  Daddy?   Why is Shrek shouting at Donkey, Daddy?  Daddy?  DADDY?  DADDY!?”, maybe consider quietly answering them, followed by a discreet “Shh, watch the film” rather than just ignoring them.

cinema shouting child

You might be able to tolerate their incessant babbling and running up and down the rows, but we can’t.

Kick my chair again you little bastard, I dare you.

Texters/Facebook fiends

I hate this above everything. Get off your phone!  If you’re doing it behind me, that’s ok (unless you haven’t muted the beeping/clicking sounds when you type), but anywhere else means I get a bright light in my face which can be as distracting as a punch in yours.

punch face

What is so important that you absolutely MUST send a message to someone or check your news feed RIGHT NOW? Then, when they’ve missed massive chunks of the film, they become a ‘talker’ and have to ask their friend what they’ve missed.

If I were the friend I would lie about it.

And punch them in the dick.

Or the vagina.

(I don’t want to appear sexist).

Loud eaters

Admittedly the cinema is somewhat responsible for a majority of this, but not entirely.

Firstly it seems ALL food packaging in the cinema is required to exceed the decibel level of a jet engine. It’s like bubble wrap being driven over slowly with a steamroller that launches fireworks and ball bearings out of its exhaust pipe, in a room with a lot of echo, during an earthquake.

loud noises

Secondly it seems that most people wait for a really quiet moment in the film to rummage shoulder deep into their popcorn, taking ages to grab a fistful to stuff in their stupid fat mouths.

RUSTLE RUSTLE RUSTLE!!!!

CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH!

SLUUUUURRRRP!!!

RUSTLE RUSTLE RUSTLE!!!!

CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH!

Can someone get this prick a nosebag?

Or me a gun?

twitchy eye

Seat etiquette

Don’t kick the back of my chair, or any chair in my row that’s bolted to mine.

Even if you’re gently tapping the back of the seat without realising it, don’t think I won’t gently tap your face with my fist without you realising it too.

Also, if you choose to sit with a space either side of you, don’t act like the victim and get all reluctant and huffy when my wife and I ask you to move over.  Do you seriously expect us to share popcorn across you?

We’re still going to hold hands.

And kiss.

That’s happening.

awkward

Last In, First Out

What are you doing turning up 20 minutes into the film?

Considering there’s usually half an hour of adverts and trailers/previews, that’s pretty fucking late to be strolling in. Did you forget what time the film was on? Was it a last minute decision?

And now that you’re here, please feel free to take a further 20 minutes to decide where you want to sit, preferably half way up the aisle so you can block the view of those who WERE on time.

Sit.

The fuck.

Down.

Oh, you need me to get up so you can get past my legs?  Of course mate, no problem; I wasn’t doing anything anyway.  No, no, it didn’t hurt when you trod on my foot.  It’s fine; adds to the whole experience.

late cinema

Then, when the film ends and the director’s name appears on the screen, most people are up out of their seats and already halfway to the exit.

This makes sense if the film was truly over, but with some films there are extra scenes during the credits.  However, the people who have already started leaving still continue to leave!

Fine with me.

It means I can finally let out that fart I’ve been holding in.

Aaaaah…..

fart cinema

To be concluded…

The cinema ‘experience’ (Part 1)

It’s no secret that I love going to the cinema.

But, to be completely truthful, I don’t really.

I mean, I DO love going to the cinema to watch a new film, but I’m not a fan of the experience as a whole.

It all boils down to the fact that I’m not a massive fan of being around people, and going to the cinema means I have to share my movie experience with other people.

As I’ve become older I’ve discovered that my tolerance and patience for other people is smaller and more insipid than cinema nachos.

So here are some of the things I hate about going to the cinema, grouped into three categories: The place, the people and the performance.

 

1. The Place

Obviously if you want to see a new film you have to leave the comfort of your sofa, leave the house and drive all the way to cinema just for the privilege of watching it on a bigger screen. Once you’re out of the house it’s not so bad though.

That is until you get there.

 

Parking

There’s never a space in the car park anywhere near the cinema entrance.

massive parking

If you do find a space you can be sure some other bastard will beat you to it by nanoseconds.

So you end up driving slowly around the car park like a prowling sex pest, cursing at the space that just opened up behind you which has now been taken by that person who arrived after you did.

Don’t get me started on the wanker who parks across two bays.

Note to self: come back and key that fucker’s car.

You can guarantee that the further away from the cinema entrance you are, the heavier it’s likely to be raining. I often have to park so far away that I need to catch a plane to the building.

 

Lobby

Once you’ve parked and walked the 20 miles to the lobby, you’re then faced with the massive queues of people waiting to buy tickets. These queues are usually full of people you hope aren’t seeing the same film as you.

They usually are.

Nowadays I buy my tickets online because I absolutely hate queuing. I just walk up to a machine and enter my booking reference.  Having said that, there’s no guarantee I won’t get caught behind some dipshit trying to figure out how to use the touchscreen machine.

atm queue

I admit that a big flashing button that says ‘Touch here to collect tickets’ can be a little vague.

 

Food and Drink

Once you’ve got your ticket(s) it’s time to buy your refreshments.

I’ve never understood the need to graze when you’re watching a film, but it’s the ‘done thing’.  I once chose not to buy anything to eat or drink and was looked at with a combination of surprise, confusion, disgust and pity.

It felt like we were all stood in the lobby of a brothel and I’d declared I wasn’t going to use a condom, or that my penis had just fallen off.

It wasn’t because I couldn’t afford anything, nor was I planning to steal anyone else’s food; I just wasn’t hungry or thirsty. But peer pressure is a bitch and so I bought some popcorn and a drink.  It cost more than the cinema ticket…for 5 people.

Why is cinema food and drink so crap expensive?

expensive popcorn

You can buy a 2 litre bottle of Coke for £2 in a supermarket, and yet my ‘medium’ Coke cost me over £4, 80% of which was ice. That’s frozen water, which is free.

At least the staff members who serve you are friendly. Oh wait, no they’re not.

 

Seating

These are mostly uncomfortable, stained and sometimes sticky.

More often than not the cup holders are broken.

What makes it worse are the fact that the seats are all bolted together along the row which means if seat 19A fidgets in their seat to scratch their arse, I feel it in seat 19M.

Very distracting.  I often lose my erection.

lolly melt

 

To be continued….

Train’d Monkeys

Over the years I’ve noticed a few habits adopted by the idiots I’m forced to endure every day on the trains (or ‘commuters’ as they’re better known).  A lot of these habits have become such commonplace that I usually can’t be bothered to blog about them, or I simply forget.

However, this morning there were three happening all at once and my Punch-O-Meter’s needle was twitching in the red zone.

Punchometer

See?

Dangerously close.

So I’m taking time out to vent about these habits that leave me craving the sweet sound of knuckles on face.

 

1. The Multitasker

This is the person who, whilst having a conversation with someone else on the train, is also reading their phone or tablet.  Even though they’re (thankfully) not talking to me, it’s still really rude and they don’t make any attempt to hide it.

checking texts

It’s bad enough that they’re flapping their jaws while I’m trying to sleep or watch a movie, but to be doing it and not remaining committed to the conversation they’re having is like getting a drum kit for your birthday and then playing it out of rhythm, like Yugoslavian Jazz. 

If you’re going to annoy me at least have the decency to do it properly.

 

2. Casual Viewers

I’m a bit of a viewing Nazi when it comes to TV and movies.  If you’ve made a decision to sit down and watch something, then sit the fuck down and watch it. There are certain things you should never do, especially when I’m in the vicinity.

These include:

  • Talking to me.
  • Talking to someone else.
  • Talking at all.
  • Using your phone (for ANYTHING!).
  • Leaving the room without pausing it (at home obviously)
  • Eating and paying more attention to your food than the screen

The woman sat next to me on the train this morning was watching some boring shit on her tablet, but was also moronically scrolling through her Facebook newsfeed on her phone.  I use the word ‘watching’ loosely as she didn’t actually look up from her phone for almost the entire journey into London, which was an hour.

I thought about all the money spent hiring writers, producers, directors (first and second unit), actors, extras and production staff, plus all the time taken perfecting every line of every draft of the script to keep the plot engaging, every camera angle to capture the subtle nuances of the actors’ performances, the scouting for locations, the permissions needed to shoot in these locations, the time spent in principle photography, all the post production, the special effects, music, overdubs, Foley dubs, the editing process to keep the right pace, the test audiences to ensure it will satisfy the masses and bring in the bucks, the premieres, the red carpets, the press junkets; all of this wasted on some bint ‘liking’ a picture of a kitten.

It really grinds on me.  Can you tell?

Then, when she’d stopped mindlessly scrolling through the pointless crap on her newsfeed and sucked in her drool, she then spent ages rewinding what she had been ‘watching’ in an attempt to find the part where she’d tuned out.  To be honest, I don’t think this woman was ever fully tuned in.

text movie

And finally,

 

3. The Aisle Sitter

This one has always confused me. 

It’s the idiot who gets on the train, sits in an aisle seat and leaves the window seat vacant.

Why?

aisle prick

Inevitably someone else will get on and want to sit down, so rather than simply (and sensibly) moving over to the window, they make a big performance of stopping what they’re doing (sometimes tutting and sighing in the process) and awkwardly standing up in the aisle (stopping other people from getting past) to allow the new arrival access to the seat by the window.

This is time consuming and makes absolutely no sense.  It’s a commuter train which means this happens EVERY day, and EVERY day they do the same thing.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  Same dickheads, same thing; every day.

If they don’t want to be disturbed, then sit by the window, or find a seat next to someone who already has.

These are supposed to be intelligent people, right?  I mean, they’re wearing suits and stuff.

I’m reminded of a quote from Tim Minchin:

“We’re just fucking monkeys in shoes”

monkey platform

Buddha, broken legs and bell-ends

There are some mornings, like yesterday’s, that really highlight all the things I love* about sharing my train journey with people.**

It started with the loud group of lads who boarded the train at Gatwick Airport; five young, loud examples of British testosterone…in shorts.

Fortunately I’d chosen not to sleep on the train that morning, apparently. It seemed I was only closing my eyes for effect; of which it had none.

As much as I’m not a fan of loud people on the train having loud conversations with each other, I was willing to forgive them as it was clear they were at the end of their time together and were still buzzing.

We’ve all done it.

We’ve all been there.

What I was not willing to forgive was three of them sat at one table (randomly leaving a blank fourth seat) with their suitcases piled high like a massive game of duty-free Jenga, one sat across the aisle from them at the other table next to a man reading his book (with two remaining empty seats) and the last one sat three rows back behind my wife and I.

Where’s the sense and logic in that?

The train was practically empty, so why didn’t they just sit together?

Maybe a couple of them wanted to sleep?

Maybe they’d fallen out and argued on their holiday resulting in that awkward silence the rest of us were so desperately hoping for.

Nope.

They just continued to have their loud conversation across the entire carriage about ‘Natalie’ and ‘Gabriela’ and ‘Sam’, and who had added who on Facebook.

It’s OK guys, feel free to be as loud as fuck because I’m clearly not sleeping and that bloke at the table you’ve sat next to is clearly not reading his book. I think he’s more than happy to just sit there and admire the pretty words.

As expected, their conversation was the usual inane recounting about specific events of their holiday, whilst being extremely vague.

“What about that bloke at that place with the thing who seemed to be in every bar; the one that thought he was black but wasn’t!?”

“Oh yeah!” (said the other four, in unison)

Yeah? What about him?

Nothing. That’s what…nothing.

Soon enough the train started to get busier and the seats and aisles started filling with other commuters also discovering they didn’t wanting to sleep or read either, especially those who had chosen to sit in the empty seats confusingly left vacant by these flip-flop’d fools.

And speaking of vacant; these socially challenged pretty boys*** continued to buck the rules of public transport etiquette by communicating at top volume until their poorly chosen seating arrangements finally got the better of them and they (for want of a better phrase) shut the fuck up.

Ah, bliss.

This meant I could sleep.

But wait, no it didn’t.

You see, the woman in the seat in front of me had this weird habit of banging her head on the headrest of her seat as she spoke to her colleague. It was like she’d rest her head after every sentence, thus continuously bumping the seat.

I’d never seen someone with the utter inability to keep her head still while she talked.

It wasn’t a weird tick or anything, as I would never mock the disabled, but she just gestured a lot and then kept bumping her head against the headrest at the end of every sentence.

“That’s a really good point”
*bump*
“But maybe we should evaluate the business model further?”
*bonk*
“I feel we should raise the matter in the meeting this afternoon”
*donk*
“Don’t you?”
*thud*

It was non stop.

So why was this an issue for me? Well, being 6ft tall my knees were pressed up against the back of her seat, so every 2 or 3 seconds I would get a wake up nudge from this bobble headed bint.

I thought about breaking off my legs and beating her to death with them…

*thwack!*

…but instead I somehow managed to fold my legs under me like a contorted Buddhist and closed my eyes again.

As I placed my head back onto my own headrest I felt a weird, bumpy texture.  My brain registered that it was actually the back of someone’s hand. The man stood in the aisle next to me had strangely placed his hand on my seat’s headrest, right behind my head.

Of course, with a whole network of handrails and handles to hold onto, it makes sense to steady your balance on someone’s seat; right behind their head!

Anyway, I jerked forward (as anyone would), turned to look up at him and, being very British, apologised.

In fact, we both did.

His was sincere.

just shut up

* loathe

** idiots

*** the sort of guys with a more comprehensive beauty regime than most women.  I swear one of them had shaved arms.

 

No legroom legroom seats

I’ve boarded the plane. I’ve had to turn right, which I hate doing, and I head towards the back of the aircraft gleefully looking for my non-upgraded consolation; an emergency exit seat. I look at the row numbers as I repeat mine in my head over and over…

Row 49, row 49, row 49

Ah, here it is. Great.

Im looking at the seat configuration as i’m in seat K which I now see is the window seat. Cool.

I look down and realise that most of the legroom is taken up by the door, so I only have enough legroom for my left leg.

I’m basically sitting side saddle.

Perfect.

Add to this the fact that I have two Americans sat behind me with that valley girl Britney Spears type of accent that goes up at the end of every (dumb) sentence, and my personal hell is complete.

Oh well, at least it’s only for nearly 8 hours.

——–
Update:
——–

Since finishing this blog entry, it’s become clear that the people next to me aren’t coming…so now I have 3 seats to myself.

Time to spread out and sleep.

Goodnight.

Train’d Parrot

I get on the over packed train, having sprinted like a lunatic to catch it, and look everywhere for a seat. I walk down carriage upon carriage of smug commuters looking for my own little slice of heaven, but alas…nowhere to sit.

Then, in between the two EMPTY first class compartments, just where the carriages are coupled, I find a fold down seat not dissimilar to the jump seats used by cabin crew on an aircraft. There’s no one around, there’s no one using it…so I sit down.

Mmm, comfy.

The train pulls away and I settle down to play games on my iPhone.

Perfect.

I look up and down the carriage and it’s standing room only as far as the eye can see. I’m definitely part of the smug crowd.

About 3 mins into the commute I hear footsteps getting closer and closer. They stop to my left and I sense someone stood over me.

I don’t look up.

“Can I help you sir?”, comes a voice in a thick African accent.
“Sorry?”
“Can I help you sir?”, he repeats, in exactly the same way.
“Oh do you want to see my ticket?” I ask, knowing full well what he’s getting at.
“You can’t sit here” he continues.
“Why’s that?” I ask.
“You can’t sit here” he repeats again, not actually answering my question.

I stand up “sorry, why can’t I sit here? The train is packed and there’s nowhere to sit”
“Dis is for staff sir” he says, stating the bleedin’ obvious.
“But there’s no one sat here” I argue, knowing I’m going to be as successful as a dog walker, bag in hand, watching their dog squirt diarrhoea all over the floor.
“Dis is for staff sir” he repeats, like a parrot who’s been taught a phrase but hasn’t got a clue about the right sort of delivery.

Polly want a cracker?

I look him in the eye, smile and say “Oh! I see! It’s for you is it?”
“It’s for staff sir” he says again, causing me to suspect he may, just possibly, be absent a personality.

“Oh, well in that case I’ll go and stand over there uncomfortably with everyone else. Thank you so very much”. I walk back through the EMPTY first class compartment and join the sauna.

“Dis is for staff”

Yeah, I heard you the first 9 times you insufferable Jobsworth.

Luckily this train is really, really delayed and I’m left standing here amongst the coughers, newspaper rustlers and that one guy whose ipod is turned up so loud he’s having problems keeping his balance.

I may garrotte him with his headphones.

Mind you, he hasn’t got to endure those annoying phone users who all take this opportunity to call home and advise of their tardiness. They all start the same bloody way; “hi hun it’s me…me. It’s me. Hello? Yeah it’s me. I’ve got no sig…hello? Yeah I’ve got no signal! Hello? Hello can you hear me? Hello…my train is delayed and….” (Cut off)

They then get called back (with their ringtone at full volume…enough to startle Mr iPod) and repeat the above conversation, almost word for word.

End and repeat.
End and repeat.

In the meantime the guard has pissed off down the train somewhere and isn’t even using the ‘staff seat’.

Think
I
Might
Scream