They’re taking the piss now

In true acronym form, there is a medical condition here in America called OAB.

For those of you unaware of what OAB stands for, or if you’re a fucking camel, OAB stands for Over Active Bladder.

Actually, the word ‘Overactive’ is not two words but I haven’t got the strength, the time or the energy to take the piss out of them for this.

Pun intended.

Anyway, OAB is a big thing here in America.  I’m sure it’s a big deal elsewhere in the world to those of us with the bladder of a 3 year old girl, but it seems to be a bigger problem here in America.

I can’t fathom why.

This is actually a ‘small’

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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.

 

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 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….

Guzzling gas and soda: A comparison

Last month, whilst in Vegas visiting the in-laws, my wife and I stopped for gas (or ‘petrol’ as it’s known in the civilised world). The way they ‘pump gas’ in America is in complete contrast to how we do it in the UK.

Here we drive up to the pump, get out of the car, open the petrol cap and start filling. When we’re finished we head into the shop and pay for it.  In America they drive up to the pump (from any entrance I might add; none of this ‘way in’ and ‘way out’ bollocks), go into the shop, pay in advance for fuel (and snacks and beverages) and then head back to their vehicle and fill up.

The American approach comes with two pros and a con.

Pro number 1 – If you decide you want to spend $30 on gas (petrol), you pay the clerk in the shop and your pump is credited with exactly $30. There’s no chance of putting in more than you can afford. And on top of this, you can clip the trigger in position and leave it pumping fuel knowing you will never put in more than you want to spend.

pump gas

Genius.

Why aren’t we doing this?

It saves on hand strain and gives you more time to do other things, like eating.

If you then discover that your tank only needed, say, $25 worth of gas (petrol) you go back inside and the clerk behind the counter gives you back the difference.

Simple.

Pro number 2 – There’s no chance of people filling up and then not having the means to pay, or filling up and fucking off.

It’s a bit like prostitution but with pumps instead of pimps.

Con – You don’t get to play the ‘Petrol Pump Game’.

The what?

Allow me to elaborate. Let’s say you want to put £30 of fuel in your vehicle’s tank.  You start filling up until the price gets to somewhere around £29.85 at which point you ease off the trigger, slowing down the pumping speed.

(He he)

Then you start to adopt the technique of squeezing the trigger gently at little intervals to hit the price exactly at £30.

£29.85

Gentle squeeze.

£29.91

Gentle squeeze.

£29.95

Very gentle squeeze.

£29.96

Very gentle squeeze.

£29.97

VERY gentle squeeze.

£29.99

A squeeze so gentle it wouldn’t pop a soapy bubble even if your fingers were covered in coarse sand.

£30.01

Bollocks!

You then decide to go to £31.

Squeeze.

£30.85

Gentle squeeze.

£30.91

Very gentle squeeze.

£30.97

VERY gentle squeeze.

£30.98

A squeeze so gentle it can’t be measured at a microscopic level.

£31.01

Fuuuuuuck!!

This continues until you either:

  • Finally hit a round number.
  • Admit defeat and pay the extra penny, convinced the clerk is laughing at you behind those eyes.
  • Fill your tank.

It’s not a great game and can be quite costly, but there’s no feeling like hitting the price dead on, first time.  I’ve been known to let out the occasional air grab, sometimes accompanied by an “Aww Yeah!”

Anyway, whilst at the gas (petrol) station in Vegas I decided to get a drink because it was a very hot day, or as the locals call it; “a day”.  I was expecting to see a few fridges full of various beverages, the brands of which I’d never heard of, but nothing could prepare me for the sheer choice of refreshments available to me.

As well as the aforementioned fridges full to the brim with beer, wine, sodas (soft drinks) and so on, there were also aisles (plural!) of crisps (chips), nuts, beef jerky, slim jims (Peperami), candy (sweets and chocolate), cakes, sandwiches, cereals and other brightly coloured bags of chemicals and deliciousness too numerous to mention.

Most of these on a ridiculously huge scale!

big rice cake

And it didn’t stop there. There was a hot counter that had burgers, hot dogs, burritos, nachos, pies and pasties (the UK word for a type of pie and not the US word for a small plastic nipple hat)

In addition there was a coffee station that had more options than a Starbucks, a milkshake station that not only allowed you to choose your flavour(s) but also how thick you wanted it, a massive slushy machine with various flavours and the most amazing machine I’d ever seen; a touch screen soda dispenser with an overload of choices.

Oh, and everything was self-serve.

So let me tell you about this epic soda machine.

Firstly you’re presented with a screen with 24 choices of beverage.

That’s 24.

imagesPR1FKG3G

This is a significantly larger choice of drinks than any dispenser I’ve ever seen in the UK, which usually consist of Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and Fanta.

That’s 4.

It’s an impressive choice but I wasn’t surprised at all because it’s what I expected from an American soda machine.  I selected Caffeine Free Diet Coke and prepared to fill up my oversized 64oz (approx 2 litre) plastic cup.

But no, there was another layer of choices awaiting me.

images34RVM3MM

Yes, that’s right.  I could have…

  • Cherry
  • Orange
  • Vanilla
  • Raspberry
  • Lime
  • Cherry Vanilla

…versions of Caffeine Free Diet Coke.

What the hell??  That’s AWESOME!

This got me thinking, is it the same for other drinks?

Yep.

imagesLH6K4J4H

Orange Fanta Zero comes with the option of:

  • Cherry
  • Strawberry
  • Raspberry
  • Grape
  • Lime
  • Fruit Punch
  • Peach

imagesNXJC7Q8I

Lemonade comes with the option of:

  • Cherry
  • Orange
  • Strawberry
  • Raspberry
  • Fruit Punch

images3KHD0GK8

Even Ginger Ale gets a flavour makeover:

  • Orange
  • Cherry
  • Vanilla
  • Lime
  • Raspberry

My wife wanted Dr.Pepper and she had the choices of Cherry Dr.Pepper or Cherry Vanilla Dr.Pepper in addition to the (now somewhat boring) regular Dr.Pepper.

I’d never seen anything like it.

And yet, with all the awesome innovations in convenience and technology, the Americans STILL don’t appreciate the importance of privacy in the toilet!

stall gap

“Peek-a-boo! I see poo!”