angryman08-02-10This being Hollywood and all, I have to say I’ve been roundly disappointed in my LA cinema going experiences thus far. Let’s review the 3 main culprits:

1) Assigned seating. This is not the first grade here. Let us choose our own friends and sit where we want. We promise we won’t make trouble. My question – do people take this seriously? Do people actually enter a theatre in the dark, use their blackberries to light up their ticket stubs, and then attempted to sign their assigned seats among the masses? What happened to “please move down one”, or best of all, people looking around helplessly for their friends that went into the theatre before them, while everyone else snickers. Let’s not lose one of life’s greatest small pleasures.

2) Introductions. “Welcome to the arclight…”. No, no, no, no. This reminds me of what they used to do in the Northeast wherein an ad would show for the Jimmy Fund (researching cancer treatment for children), after which they would turn on the lights and have some poor cinema employee come stand helplessly in front of the crowd holding a UNICEF style change box. These may have been the most awkward moments of my life. You just watched poor Jimmy. You just paid $8 to see Sly Stallone kill a bunch of bad guys with a bow and arrow. You paid $4 for refillable popcorn. And now you can’t give to the Jimmy fund?

My favorite memories of this scenario was when the theatre was empty, except for 3 couples, all spread out. So ad would show, lights on, acne ridden cinema employee would walk in, ask if anyone would like to give, or are you all just, well, bad people? The problem was, you didn’t want to give. Part of my problem with this kind of strategy (as with the street assault) is you feel taken advantage of. Giving to charity shouldn’t feel like you just got duped and bought something from an infomercial.

Anyway, the staredowns that would take place in this scenario were epic. Couple A (in front and closest to acne ridden cinema employee) knows immediately that they are in the worst position – they quickly turn around and stare down Couples B and C, safely positioned in the back of the theatre. Couple C doesn’t care – they’re immune to social pressure. Couple B feels bad. Someone has to give, there is no choice here. It’s essentially a war of wills to see who will buckle down first and give. Ah, charitable giving.

3) Loveseats. In theatres. What. The. Hell. I had my first encounter with this last night. My friend and I arrived 10 minutes before showtime, and thanks to the wonders of assigned seating, found no seats together. The only seats available had strange red shapes on them…almost…heart-like. Oh well. Take those. We enter the theatre…and I am literally sitting on a loveseat with another couple. That is incredibly pissed at me, and rightfully so! They were about to get down in the backseat of a theatre while watching Persepolis, now they’re crunched for space and listening to me inhale Skittles all night long.

The ultimate humiliation of the situation was having them think I had consciously chosen to essentially third wheel their date out of nowhere. They probably chose the 3 person love seat thinking “who in their right mind would take an individual seat on a 3 person couch?”

Well, now we know.

Anyone with me on this?

*Photo by beneneuman via Flickr