As a rule, I never walk out of a movie in the theaters. No matter how bad or awful it may be, I will stick around because I am hopeful and optimistic. I am hopeful that there will be one moment that completely redeems the entire film. If there’s a technical problem with the film, I will leave my seat and report it immediately to the nearest theater employee and return to my seat, hopeful that it will be solved in a timely fashion. To demonstrate how hopeful I am when it comes to movies and movie theater problems, I sat through ten soundless minutes of Battleship before the problem was fixed and had to watch all of the trailers again as well as those ten minutes all over again.
However, today was the day that I said no. No, I will not wait through the film, waiting for something cool or great to happen. No, I will not wait while the shitty projectionist neglects and refuses to acknowledge the problem with the sound.
It’s been widely documented that I love Ryan Gosling. We do not have to go into the history of it. There was a meme/blog. There was the time that I saw him at Animal with Nicolas Winding Refn (Editor’s Note: Even as a vegetarian, Animal is still my favorite restaurant. Can’t eat their anytime soon though). There’s Drive. There’s Blue Valentine. And I go on and on.
Not even my favorite actor in the world could save me from sitting through a horrendous sound problems in a movie theater.
I knew the whole thing was fucked from jump street. The sound during the pre show entertainment was funky. It would go from really loud to really quiet and soft any time there was dialogue or talking. Sound effects and music were perfectly fine. Oddly enough, I could hear the chainsaws from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D perfectly fine from across the hallway.I assumed that the problem would be fixed before the trailers started. Or maybe somebody else would report the problem and all of the problems would be fixed.
The trailers started and the sound, in a way, got worst or at least more amplified. We could hear the music and sound effects perfectly, but there was no dialogue. Well, you would have to sit in the very front row of the theater to faintly hear the dialogue. I got up, rushed out of the theater, found an employee, told him about the problem and trotted back to my seat. However, someone had taken my seat! A couple had taken my seat! I embark on a noble endeavor only to have my seat taken by a couple of late birds. I took a seat in the same row, but it didn’t feel right. More importantly, it didn’t sound like the problem was going to be fixed any time soon.
I left the theater again, tracked down an employee with a walkie talkie and did a better job explaining the situation. I said that the mix was off and the theater employee said that I knew my stuff. Yes, I do know my stuff, but better question: do the movie theater employees know their stuff?
Apparently, they do not. According to the employee with the walkie talkie, the projectionist couldn’t hear any problems in his booth! After maybe standing in the theater for a minute, the walkie talkie dude left and told me that he knows what the problem is and that they’ll work on it. So, I stood near the door and watched the dialogue less trailer for 21 & Over and part of The Last Stand before I walked out again, looking for an update. Well, before the trailer for 21 & Over, an elderly man asked me about the problem and I told him that I was told they were working on it.
Then the film finally started after at least 20 minutes of trailer and the problem hasn’t been fixed and didn’t look like it was going to be fixed anytime soon. I rarely ask to speak with a manager because I sit through anything and sit through anything. The only other times I’ve done this was when there was a projection problem with Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (The problem was fixed and I sat through the whole film) and I got a free pass which I wasted on Crash! Most recently, I went to see The Dark Knight Rises with a friend in IMAX, but the IMAX projector broke and we went to a different showing of the film. Also, growing up, my father would often ask to speak with a manager when there was a problem, no matter how insignificant with dinner at a restaurant and for the longest time, it was a source of great anxiety.
So, I watched a minute of Sean Penn boxing in slow motion before I said fuck this shit, talked to the manager and got a refund. When I spoke to the manager, it was the first time she had heard about the problem! She talked to the projectionist on her walkie and according to him, there was no problem in the theater! Yes, working at a movie theater probably is a job that is made better by smoking pot before you start your shift. Cleaning bathrooms and picking up garbage is awful. Believe me, I know. However, if you’re going to be a projectionist, you can’t burn a j before hand or have a special cookie. Sure, if you have to watch or keep an eye on This Is 40 all day long, I would want to cut my eyeballs out too, but you have to rise above and focus on maintaining all of your other screens.
So, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Michael Pena, I’m taking this as a sign from the Movie Gods and I’m going to wait for streaming. I’m sorry. The Movie Gods spoke and you have to listen to the Movie Gods. Maybe this was my punishment for snoozing on Dredd in the theaters. Thirlby power.
And movie theater, please get your shit together because I want to watch The Last Stand and Broken City soon.