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.

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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….

You, shall not, PASS!

The place – London Victoria Station.

The time – 07:29am.

The scene – Hundreds of ‘cheerful’ commuters ploughing through the ticket barriers with an assortment of tickets and cards.

At times the barriers decide to have a hissy fit and refuse to open.  This could be for several reasons:

  • Your ticket or card has become unreadable.
  • You’re travelling in peak hours on a leisure fare.
  • You’re carrying several bags, boxes and children.

The machines love preying on those who need the barriers to open more urgently than anyone else.

These bastards know; (whispers) they KNOW!

However, this morning there were no commuters carrying anything heavier than furrowed brows and a desire to get through the barriers quickly.  This is when these automated arseholes prefer to strike; picking off the weakest of the herd and testing their patience to the limit.

Today was no different.

A woman strutted up to a barrier, pressed her Oyster card against the card reader, received the usual ‘beep’ and continued strutting, only to be virtually impaled on the unopened barriers.   This can be frustrating at the best of times, but when you’ve got a queue of 20 or more people behind you, it is also incredibly embarrassing.

She tutted and pressed her card against the reader again.

‘Beep’

The barriers didn’t open.

The air suddenly felt thick with silent rage and suppressed violence from those behind her.

“Oh come on!” she half shouted as she slapped her card against the reader.

‘Beep’

The barriers didn’t open.

“Oh for fuck’s sake!”

Slap!

‘Beep’

Slap!

‘Beep’

“Come on you fucking thing!”

Slap slap slap!

‘Beep’

The barriers remained closed and the queue behind her was getting longer and longer like some massive dickheaded snake.

Instead of admitting defeat and seeking the help of a guard, she did something that inspired me to write this post; she began ramming herself against the barriers shouting “come on!”

Over and over she thrust herself against the barriers, trying to squeeze through the unyielding and un-widening gap.  It had eluded her that it was called a barrier for a reason.

Slam!

“Come on!”

Slam!

“You bastard, come on!”

Slam!

“Gnn!”

Slap slap slap!

‘Beep”

Slam!

I noticed the snake had started to dissipate and join other queues, but a few people stayed behind to watch this woman meltdown before their eyes.  I don’t blame them.

She eventually relented and went, bloodied and bruised, to find a guard.

‘Beep’

I went through.

train barrier

A massive fumble

The train guard entered the carriage this morning with the usual, “tickets please!”

Today’s guard was a woman.  Well I’m sure she still IS a woman, but this tale is being told in past tense…so shut up.

She started walking down the carriage acknowledging the various cards and plastic ticket wallets being thrust towards her with a nod, a smile and a “thank you”.

Nod, smile, “thank you”

Nod, smile, “thank you”

The businessman in front of me was stood up and fumbling desperately through his backpack that was stuffed into the overhead luggage shelf.

She was getting closer.

Nod, smile, “thank you”

Nod, smile, “thank you”

He was really going to town now; elbow deep in a bag that would’ve been easier to search if he’d actually had the sense to take it down first.

Nod, smile, “thank you”

The guard eventually arrived at him, stopped and said, “Tickets please”.

The man ignored her, continuing to rummage around in a bag that had started to resemble the TARDIS; he was unnaturally shoulder deep.

She waited about 20 seconds before saying, “it’s ok, I’ll come back to you” and continuing on to me.

“I’m trying to get it out but it’s too big”, he replied.

I’m sorry, what?  Did he just say what I thought he just said? (snigger)

The guard grinned, turned and without missing a beat said, “What is?”

I chuckled.  The man didn’t.

Realising this rucksack ransacker hadn’t got the innuendo, she backpedalled with, “oh you mean the ticket?”

“Ah, here it is”, said the humourless bell-end.

Nod, smile, “thank you”

She then looked at me, exchanged a knowing smirk and continued up the carriage.

Nod, smile, “thank you”

Nod, smile, “thank you”

He sat back down and carried on playing Candy Crush or talking bollocks….whichever is more annoying.

Tardis-backpac

I Queue Test

This morning I woke up at 06:52am.  This is a problem when you need to be out of the house at 07:15am and I still needed to have a shower, shave, brush my teeth, style my hair, get dressed and make myself some lunch.  It’s also a little concerning as my alarm clocks (yes, clocks; plural) go off around 6am.  Oops.

If the house had been on fire and I was under attack from ninjas I still wouldn’t have moved as fast as I did when I realised the time.  I was quick.  Very quick.  At one point I passed a Coyote in a slingshot holding an anvil.

I made it out of the house at 07:18am.  Not bad.

Meep meep!

I then drove at breakneck speed to the station.  Well, it was at a speed that made me want to break the neck of the bell-end driving the car in front of me at 21 miles per hour.

I finally made it to the station with about 3 minutes to spare and I was faced with a decision; buy my weekly ticket now, or at London Victoria.  Hmm….

There was a dithering twat of a woman at the ticket office, laughing that she “simply can’t find my purse in here! Ha ha ha!”

Ha ha ha ha HA HA HA HA HA!!!!  Hilarious.  No really, please continue.  Take your time.  I can’t get enough of your cripplingly funny shit. 

So I thought, fuck it; I’ll buy my ticket at Victoria. 

The train pulled in, I got on, sat down and revelled in watching the dithering twat almost miss the train.  She made it.  Shame.

The journey was the usual social scene; complete silence whilst staring at a small screens and desperately trying to ignore the annoying fucker talking on her phone.  In fact, it was this annoying fucker…..https://headinablender.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/blooble-fabwa-sibbladoo/

I really have to pick a different carriage….or just punch her in the face.

We finally pulled into London Victoria and I made my way to the ‘customers needing to pay additional fares’ desk.  It should be called ‘customers who tried to pull a fast one, realised there were automated gates and now have to reluctantly pay for a ticket which they will say was from the station just before Victoria’.

I shamefully joined the queue of people like we were waiting outside the headmaster’s office, feeling the judging eyes of all the other commuters as they passed by.  The people in front of me were taking forever to buy their tickets which I thought was odd.  It then dawned on me pretty fucking quickly that they weren’t simply buying excess fares.  No, they were haggling for the cheapest way of paying for the journey they’ve just done. 

No rush folks, I don’t have a job to get to.

The woman commuter at the desk had a ticket for off peak travel and hadn’t realised it wouldn’t let her through the barriers at 08:30am in the morning, in central London, on a Monday.  I could see her confusion.  This is the sort of woman who needs to ensure her Vagisil and Colgate are kept in separate rooms.

“I didn’t realise I couldn’t use this ticket”.  Yes you did, now fuck off.

She continued to argue this for a good two or three minutes, as if somehow it would change the circumstances.  At this rate we were going to hit off peak travel times.  This could’ve been incredibly frustrating if you were someone worried about being late for work.  Not me though, I had aaaaaaaaall the time in world.

The guy that followed her wasn’t any better.

“I’ve come from Gatwick, but I’m here to see my brother, so I need to get to Kensington, but my ticket from Gatwick was a staff ticket, so I need the cheapest ticket to see him and then I’ll be coming back, but that will be today, but tomorrow I’m with my brother at his flat, so do I need an oyster card?  I basically need to get back, but the ticket I’ve got isn’t valid on the times I need to be out of my brother’s place”.

I’m sorry, what?

The massive Nigerian train guard behind the glass looked right through this little man with a stare that sat somewhere between utter contempt and not giving a shit.  It was a beautifully crafted look and one I plan to master myself.  He clearly gets this kind of idiocy all the time.

Where’s that dithering twat from earlier?  I’m feeling a bit punchy.

People Waiting In Line

Animated conversation

Every morning when I get to the train station, I walk past the single ticket office to join the platform.

Every morning there’s a bloke standing by the ticket office chatting to the occupant behind the glass.

It’s clear they’re mates.

For context I need to explain that the guy in the ticket office is massive. I mean huge. He basically resembles a professional darts player, complete with a full on cockneyed ‘saaf Lahndan’ accent. His mate can simply be described as Ray Winstone, although he’s not.

Every morning when I walk by I catch a snippet of their conversation and it usually involves “some fucking muppet” or how the country’s going to shit. They basically put the world to rights like a couple of builders over a pint.

This morning as I approached, I noticed they were joined by a woman; a really ‘classy’ older bird with massive hoops in her ears and far too many rings. It was apparent that Ray had said something contentious as both the woman and the behemoth behind the glass were clearly not happy.

I wonder what it is today? Is it the local council? Is it the fact that today is Margaret Thatcher’s state funeral?

Nope.

As I got closer I heard something come out of the Winstone wannabe’s mouth that I didn’t expect.

He said, “yeah, they changed the animators”

What? I’m sorry, what did he just….what?

I slowed down for this one.

“Really?” said the stunned woman, as Shrek in his oversized uniform looked on with contempt, “Tom and Jerry?”

“It’s fucking disgusting. Is nuffink sacred?” said the fat controller.

“I know mate, I know”, said Ray.

I kept walking.