So I went to the movie theater yesterday. To see a movie. A movie about aliens. And I liked it.
But that’s not what this post is about.
It is about the theater itself. Apparently the good people at Regal Theaters in downtown Seattle have had a serious facelift since last time I visited. Instead of having 30ish rows with upright chairs and minimal legroom, their new design had comfort in mind over efficiency. Only 6 rows. Only 10 seats in a row. But in return you got to sit in a recliner, yes a leather recliner, which had ample room to put your feet up. Also had a little tray in front you can put your snacks on and your drink. I know, huh? Pretty fancy. This is an obvious attempt to make the movie-going experience parallel the comforts of your home.
Good idea? Heck ya! Who doesn’t want to be as comfy as possible while watching 2+ hours of CGI fun! The seats are truly very cozy, the spacing from you to the next person is perfect, and guess what?!? It doesn’t cost any extra.
As all seemingly good things, there is a downside.
Now people think they are actually at their house and…well…you can guess what they do.
Yes, the age-old issue we all have with going to theaters is now amplified because of this illusion of being at home.
I had this problem yesterday during my alien movie. There were these trashy, god-awful, people behind me talking at the most inopportune times of the film. At the dead silence parts, they would occasionally insert their ever-so-witty bon mot to placate their other trashy friend. Clever insights such as: Film: ‘Do you dream about me?’ Trashy guy: ‘No…teehee’ or: Film: ‘David, ambulate’ Trashy Hag: ‘What does ambulate mean?’ were polluting the air.
So what are you supposed to do in those situations? Turn around and say ‘shhh’? Glance over to them and give them a stare? Well, that is usually my modus operendi. But I couldn’t do that this time!!!
Because of the chairs.
Yes, the exact thing that was providing me comfort and joy was preventing me from quelling the peanut gallery behind me. Granted, I could have stood up and made a scene, but who really does that? That interrupts everyone’s experience and halts the momentum of the show. Yes, others were equally as perturbed I am sure. But what are you really going to do, start a possible fight? Yes, I could have beaten the absolute shit out of those trashy fucktards. But really?
So yes, the new theater format is the right thing to do. Why have 100 seat theaters that use about 30 seats? Make it nicer, fewer seats, and there you go. But how are the masses going to handle it?
This was only my first foray into this recliner-for-a-seat-at-the-theater thing, so it is a small sample size. Are people going to be rude as all fuckin’ hell and think it is their home? Or are people going to treat it like a privilege and not a right, like all the other non-trashy and perfectly fine patrons did yesterday?
Only time will tell, my friend. Only time will tell……..