I don’t have many kind things to say about my time living in Hollywood, but I can attest that L.A. really delivers when it comes to movie theaters. There are plush leather chairs, massive screens and even a cheerful attendant to introduce the film! It makes you feel like that $16 you spent to see Jamie Foxx play a blue thumb in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wasn’t a total waste.
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And then I came to New York, and oh, the multiplexes! Such charming patrons! While seeing Pride, I spotted a man viewing heterosexual porn on his phone during the movie while on a date—with another man. There was the time I couldn’t feel my fingers while watching Jennifer Lopez in The Boy Next Door because my local theater in Park Slope didn’t bother to turn on the heaters…in February. While running late for a screening of Crimson Peak and suffering from a hypoglycemic meltdown, I had to watch in agony as an attendant engaged in a full conversation while scooping my popcorn. The line went bananas, I started convulsing, and she just stood there, scoop in hand, not to be bothered.
Where are our manners, people? Must we slurp soup you brought from home when Cate Blanchett starts her Carol monologue? And what text of yours could be so important that it merits interrupting Me Before You? What is the point of getting out of bed to see a film if you’re just going to get treated like cattle by ushers while you shiver through the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie on a taped-up screen?
Fortunately, things are changing, as theaters like Alamo Drafthouse, Nitehawk Cinema and iPic step up the dine-in, high-style movie experience. Perhaps we can watch Trolls with a modicum of dignity.