Weekend Roundtable: Worst Theatrical Experiences

Out-of-focus projection. Lousy sound. Uncomfortable seats. Obscene ticket and concession stand prices. Chattering audiences who won’t shut up. People texting with bright cell phone screens that light up the room. Restless teenagers throwing food and kicking the back of your chair… Once a cherished time that movie lovers looked forward to, the modern cinematic experience has deteriorated so badly that many viewers these days prefer to stay home and wait for DVD, Blu-ray or Netflix. In this week’s Roundtable, we share some of our most depressing theatrical horror stories.

Dick Ward

My story isn’t so much about the experience as it is the setup that lead up to the experience. The year is 2004 and, like now, I’m a Miyazaki fanatic. ‘Spirited Away’ blew my mind in 2001 and I’m thrilled that ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ is showing near me. It’s only in one theater in my area, and only on one screen in that theater. My friend and I buy our tickets, get our snacks and sit down to watch the movie in a theater that’s otherwise empty. No stupid kids, no obnoxious teenagers, no nose hair whistling old people. It was as close to perfect as we were bound to get. It was too good to be true. Twenty minutes into the film, the sound starts varying in pitch very subtly and fairly rapidly. Then the picture begins to bounce up and down. Again, it’s very subtle, but enough that the film is nearly unwatchable. I reported it to the manager. He looked into it and couldn’t improve things. I ended up watching the movie in this wobbly fashion to avoid the hour drive that was the alternative. I felt queasy and had a headache for the rest of the day. But I saw my movie.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

The absolute worst experience I’ve ever had in a movie theater was a midnight sneak preview of ‘Ed Wood’ all the way back in 1994. The guy in the row in front of me chanted “F&#* her! F&#* her!” during pretty much every single shot in the movie with a woman somewhere in the frame. Whenever Eddie would slip on that angora sweater, this prick would groan “Oh, man!”, I guess in his crushing disappointment at the lack of f&#*-ing. Ack! It’s been close to twenty years now, and I’m still really annoyed about that.

Mike Attebery

I don’t think this is the worst experience of my movie-going life, just the most recent. Last week, just as a showing of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ was starting up, three teenage girls wandered in all in a row, like the three men at the end of the ‘Dr. No’ credit sequence, all of them texting away on their cell phones as they walked. I turned to my wife and said, “Dammit, they’re gonna sit right next to me, I just know it.” And they did. I finally got up and moved down the row, but those three girls spent the entire movie on their flippin’ phones! I just don’t get it. I only wish this Seattle film-goer could have been there to help them reevaluate

Nate Boss

It would be uncivilized to go into the details on the why, but the what entailed seeing ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ a second time in theaters. Needless to say, seeing that film once a year is more than enough, let alone twice in a month. Combine that with the fact that the local theater’s Trane air conditioning unit broke down (I know the brand and the part, since it’s kinda my day job and I’ve sold to the people repairing this particular hellhole a few times), and it was summer, and where I live, summer even WITH air conditioning is fucking miserable, and yeah… As much as I hate assholes who talk over a film, or react so loudly that they think the entire world needs to know what they feel about any given scene, I will say that I’d rather watch a film surrounded by those pricks than watch one on in a fucking sauna again.

Tom Landy

Truth be told, I usually only head out to the movie theaters twice, maybe three times a year tops. Fortunately for me, I haven’t really had any off-putting experiences yet. There was one time during one of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies that I saw a mouse scurrying on the floor in a cineplex that’s no longer with us. And a couple of years ago, I was nearly sat on by a legally blind guy (who seemed to think the spot that I was in was empty!), but that’s basically the gist of my non-typical movie theater adventures.

Josh Zyber

I have so many horror stories in this regard. I’ll share two of them here.

As some of our readers may recall, ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ was one of the first mainstream Hollywood movies to be upconverted (via the “DMR” process) for viewing in IMAX theaters. At the time, this was still a novel idea that a lot of people (myself included) were interested to check out. The theater was packed, but I got there early in order to get a seat as far back in the auditorium as possible (best view in this venue). I wound up in the second-to-last row, fairly centered. I felt that these were good seats. Unfortunately, immediately behind me sat a woman who I have no choice but to categorize as a yokel or bumpkin. She had apparently traveled into the city not just to see her first IMAX movie, but to see her first movie period. Why this one, I have no idea. Well, she was totally flabbergasted by the experience. Every single time that the movie cut to a wide shot of anything, she’d loudly exclaim, “Oh, Wow!” A city street – “Oh, Wow!” An empty room – “Oh, Wow!” That stupid rave scene – “Oh, Wow!” A conversation between two characters that would cut from an establishing shot (“Oh, Wow!”), to close-ups, to another wide shot (“Oh, Wow!”), back to close-ups, to the same wide shot we just saw (“Oh, Wow!”). Over and over again, all through the movie, practically non-stop. She probably had no idea what was happening in the film, but she was absolutely stunned by watching it. Good for her, I guess, but this grew extremely irritating for me very quickly.

One of my worst experiences due to a crappy theater occurred at the (thankfully) now-defunct Copley Cinema here in Boston. This was a micro-multiplex located inside an upscale indoor shopping plaza next to the Prudential Building. This place sucked. The screens were tiny, the seats were uncomfortable, and the floors in each room angled upwards toward the screen. It was like stadium seating in reverse. Unless you sat in the front row, your view would be blocked by the head of the person in front of you. I hated this theater. Sadly, a lot of interesting indie and foreign movies that weren’t deemed marketable enough for the better theaters in town wound up playing there. One time, I went to see Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s ‘The City of Lost Children’ and the volume of the soundtrack was turned down so low that the sound of the audience breathing drowned out the dialogue. I went out to the lobby to complain, and the dipshit attendant said to me, I kid you not, “What do you need to hear it for? That movie has subtitles. Duh.” It took all the restraint I had not to punch him in the face.

Those are some of our worst movie theater experiences. Tell us some of yours in the Comments.


  1. Alex

    Along with all of the other nightmares that happen (and I really do believe that people who talk at the theater go to the special hell described by Shepard Book in “Firefly”), several of the theaters near me have started noticeably increasing the volume of the movies to downright painful levels. I’m getting older, shouldn’t I be going deaf? Shouldn’t I be hearing less of the movie?

    The worst was when we went to see “Star Trek” with some friends. I almost couldn’t stay through the film. My ears were ringing for two days afterwards. One of our friends was pregnant and she even mentioned that the baby had been kicking furiously inside of her through the entire movie. As soon as we left, the baby stopped. Fortunately, everything was fine, but for a while she was genuinely concerned that it might cause a miscarriage.

    Needless to say, I’ve found another theater of choice.

  2. JM

    #1 – The Phantom Menace.

    #2 – The four year old girl, in the row in front of us, at the re-release of ‘The Exorcist,’ and the old testament discipline she received for not keeping silent.

    #3 – At the climax of the ‘Alien Resurrection’ sex scene the film caught on fire, causing a twenty minute projector delay, then the ending was shit.

    • #2 – SERIOUSLY!?!? I think reading that one sentence has irritated me more than any crappy movie-going situations that I’ve experienced myself. Unbelievable.

      • Josh Zyber

        When I saw Boogie Nights in the theater, a group of middle schoolers who’d paid to see Mortal Kombat: Annihilation in the next auditorium snuck into ours and sat a couple rows in front of me. They giggled and gasped through the whole movie. Really annoying.

        Just a couple weeks ago, some moron brought a screaming toddler to the screening of Sherlock Holmes 2 I was at. While not “adult” subject matter, it’s a really loud action movie with a lot of pounding bass. The kid totally freaked out.

      • You know, this really annoys me as well. I have friends who let their five year old kids watch R rated movies, then wonder why their kids are so fucked up before they even reach middle school.

        Truthfully, I really think that theaters should really enforce age-restrictions on movies. I am not sure what age-restricitons should be, but I am sure there is no one here who would think it is right to take a four-year-old to see The Exorcist. This should be one of those things that you are making complaints to CPS about.

  3. Kelly

    My pal Lucas and I went to a packed midnight showing of ‘Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. We waited in line for a couple of hours, got our seats and settled in to watch the film. The theatre manager came in and gave his little speech and after he left, the lights dimmed and the trailers started playing. They were all trailers for horror films, which I thought was kind of weird before a ‘Star Wars’ film but didn’t really think about it any further. The film started and instead of the 20th Century Fox fanfare we got a Warner Brothers logo made from dripping wax. The 300 plus crowd erupted in boos. The projectionist had neglected to load the correct reels so we were now watching ‘House of Wax’ with Paris Hilton. After about 5 minutes, the screen went dark and the manager came back in apologizing profusely and said they were working on loading the proper film. It took about 20 minutes before the correct film started. I found the whole thing quite hilarious.

    • A similar thing happened when my brother-in-law saw Episode 2 on opening night. Apparently, half way through the film, the reel got snagged and then caught on fire, bubbling the film off the screen in that comical way. Needless to say, the crowd was near rioting. The management decided to send in the youngest teenage boy who worked there. Talk about hazing!! The boy ran in and screamed, “WE’RE FIXING IT!!” and then ran out again, certainly fearing for his life.

      True story.

  4. Drew

    I’m just getting sick of too dim and/or out of focus projection!

    I can’t recall any specific instances to tell you a story about, but in the past few years, I have caught myself thinking, “Replace your goddamn lamp!” more than a few times.

    I’ve also been the victim of 2D presentations screened using the dual 3D lenses.

    I guess I can only think of once or twice where focus was in issue, but it’s utterly unacceptable in any event!

    • I have really only had that issue at one theater, and they were a cheap, independant theater. I don’t go there anymore. Many of the theaters in my area pride themselves on their picture quality – its one of the biggest selling points in an area like mine with so many theaters. The question is, how do you set yourself apart? At the theater I frequent, litterally in the theater logo that plays before the movie, part of the ad is “bright, crystal clear, razor-sharp images”. And at $10 a movie at that theater (the highest in the area, unless you go see a 3D showing or a showing on the gynormous screen at the same theater, in which case I have paid up to $15 to see a movie there (the 3D surcharge plus the extra-large screen surcharge)), it had better be amazing quality!

  5. Drew

    Has anyone noticed how many high-end theaters have their audio set-up completely fucked up?

    They’ve obviously got outstanding equipment, but that doesn’t mean a damn thing when the settings are completely inappropriate.

    – Volume way too high in the center channel.

    – Not adjusted for proper directionality or surround dynamics.

    – All speakers playing all channels at the same volume.

    • Nope – see my response on your previous comment. I guess I am just lucky. All the problems I mentioned before was BEFORE this theater moved in and set a new standard.

  6. Alex

    I’ve got two others:

    At one of the local second-run theaters (we used to call it the dollar theater, but, ya’ know, inflation…) the film is always, always, always scratched. It’s always in the same place, about 40% off of the left hand side and it runs for the entire length of the film. Gave up on that theater too.

    There’s also a big 30-plex near me that recently changes hands. Well, the shift in ownership caused them to only use about 12 of the 30 screens, and they’ve really let the place go to pot. I saw “Thor” there and the right, far rear speaker had obviously blown. It was buzzing and humming through the entire movie. I kept swatting at my ear, thinking I was being attacked by a mosquito.

    And the volume was *still* too high!!!

    • Our dollar theater has upgraded to digital in the past couple of years. I think there is still one or two screens that they still show film on, but those are usually movies that no one cares about.

  7. I had a similar experience to Josh’s first story. I went to see Avatar the day it came out in 3D of course. This best describe Surfer/manbo guy who I noticed said Dude with every thing he spoke sat right next to me. Every time something came at the screen or looked cool he had to scream “Woooaaahhhh Dude Awesome!!!” while standing up and pointing at the screen. This happen so many times during the movie that I was on the edge of yelling shut up to him. All the theater seats where full so I couldn’t move. I had to suffer through the whole movie with this. Then when the movie ended he wanted a high five. I so wanted to punch him instead.

  8. When I went to “Fellowship of the Ring” there were two girls behind me and one was telling the other the whole story before it happened on screen. As Jerry Seinfeld would do, I gave them the half turn, then I gave them the full turn…after about 40 minutes, I gave up, left the theater and saw it the next day.

    I’ve also been in a few movies (including the first time I saw E.T. when I was a kid) where people who saw the movie before would ruin the whole plot (in the case of E.T.: “Don’t worry, he’s not really dead!”). So at a very early age I became an “opening weekend” viewer for movies I really wanted to see.

  9. Trey

    It happens almost every single time. People don’t know how to eat popcorn, and they sound like rats chewing and chomping the shit. It really takes you out of what’s going on in the film.

  10. Mine would be when I saw The Phantom Menace in a crummy old General Cinema. The sound was barely audible.

    Now when’s the “Best Theatrical Experience” blog post gonna be posted? Cuz I got a couple great ones!!!!

  11. When we went to see Tron Legacy a woman was sitting behind us with her two young children, whom she had given fucking bracelets made out of BELLS which they proceeded to jingle for the entire movie, despite me turning completely around and giving them murder eye. When the movie was over and we were walking out we noticed that not only had they brought in their own food, they brought in a goddamn cooked dinner ON PLATES. Unbelievable.

  12. Anthony

    Seeing The Tree of Life in the only second-run theater that played art house films but was also part of a restaurant, so the incentive to drink alcohol and watch films entices the unlikely crowds. So here I was by myself with a bunch of under 21 kids in the balcony laughing and talking and other men that were dragged by their wives just to see Brad Pitt holding a babies foot. I loved the movie but as the movie ended there was booing, groaning, and exclamations and confusions about what just happened. Worst crowd ever.

  13. Garry

    Wow.. where to begin..

    There was the time I went to see a movie and the person behind me put her foot in the space between my seat and the empty one beside me…

    Going to see Girl With A Dragon Tattoo, and was thrilled with the in theatre feature “Woman with a crying newborn baby” as well. Also, THAT screening was capped off by the people sitting next to me having the cans of POP they snuck into the theatre spray everywhere.. including my jacket, shirt and pants.

    For the most part, presentation at the theatres by my place is passable.. in fact, when I see a 3D presentation I have never seen a loss in light.

    However, the BEST presentation is at the Dollar theatre by my place. they really take care in the films they show.

  14. I usually have very good experiences at the movies, but I see a lot of them. From order of least to most irritating:

    4. What looked like a pubic hair was lodged in the projector during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” It danced in the AC the length of the movie.

    3. Child squalls throughout the single-take falcon chase in “The Adventures of Tintin.” Family exits and enters theater over and over. Children under a certain age should not be allowed to go to 3D movies, even though most 3D movies are made for children. I’m sure it was a terrific action sequence, but all sense of that was lost on me.

    2. At an 11 p.m. showing of “Wanted” with some coworkers, family who brings their INFANT CHILD will not leave when infant screams through most of the hyper-violent, super-loud movie.

    1. Got to a sneak preview of “Tower Heist,” and when the radio DJs and news reporters were throwing out compact discs of shitty rock, the teenager beside me jumps up to catch one, tossing jalepeno nachos all over me. Then I waited for an hour for the movie to begin, but the theater didn’t have the correct key code to start the movie. I got a voucher to see it the next day; I went, but the movie was “Tower Heist,” so it wasn’t worth it.

    • Wait, one more, but this is funnier than it is bad:

      I went with my father over Christmas break to see “Avatar.” Having already seen it once, I noticed that the 3D image was inverted. We had the wrong glasses. I tried my father’s glasses with the same result. I took them out to the lobby to get new glasses; the same inversion occurred. I brought them out again, and the staff gave me a different kind of glasses, ones that belonged to a different 3D system, I’m not sure which is which. These glasses worked.

      Considering that four different sets of glasses were incorrect, I have to imagine that everyone else’s glasses were wrong and they were watching an inverted version of the movie. I was the only one who noticed the difference and did something about it.

        • EM

          When I experienced 3D trouble at Tintin, I thought the problem was depth inversion (i.e., far objects seeming near and vice versa), though I couldn’t be sure—the effect was so noisome that it was hard to look at it long enough to make a determination. Whatever happened, flipping my 3D glasses around didn’t make the picture any better.

          • That doesn’t seem like an inversion issue. If the 3D is inverted it shouldn’t cause any discomfort it should just appear that everything is heading into the screen and not out of it. The issue you experienced could have been a macro setting issue, for instance if they had the projector setup for a 2D show but were running the 3D file.

          • EM

            Maybe I’m running afoul of specialty jargon here; but in terms of everyday English, having faraway objects appear near and vice versa sounds like an inversion to me. I don’t know why one would assume that couldn’t be uncomfortable to see. In any case, as I said, I’m not entirely sure that was the effect anyway. It wasn’t the only effect: I’m pretty sure there was some discoloration too—maybe a purplish or magentaish tint.

  15. EM

    The following is just a re-post (now—with paragraph breaks!) of my recent tale of going to see The Adventures of Tintin a second time. If you’ve read that story before, feel free to skip it. If you haven’t read it before, feel free to skip it—I’m not Shakespeare, you know!

    I surprised a friend by inviting him—but because of the surprise, he wasn’t ready as early as I had expected, and we had to race to get to theater in time—not even for the publicized time, but for the real showtime after 20 minutes of preshow advertising. But when we got to the theater, we learned our haste was in vain, for the movie had been bumped back 45 minutes—which would cause other logistical problems in meeting people afterwards. But after several phone calls, we finally got those problems straightened out in time for us to get into the delayed showing just as the Paramount logo was appearing.

    Finally, I thought, we could just relax and enjoy the movie. Alas, no.

    Roughly a third of the way in, something bizarre happened to the 3D, and the sound lost synchronization. I alerted the management, and after a few minutes the picture and sound got fixed, and part of the marred footage got replayed correctly—which meant the movie would let out a few minutes later still, risking more upset to our already bruised logistics. Then, in the final few minutes before the end credits, we had a new technical problem. A 4×3 (or so) transparent frame appeared on screen, overlaying the center part of the movie frame. This intruder frame was obviously screen output from a Windows computer; apparently the different screen images were from a program that had something to do with Dish Network and simulcast performances from the Met Opera. I went to alert the management and learned they were already working on it. However, the problem did not end until the last couple of seconds immediately preceding the end credits.

    The management was already passing out ticket vouchers by the time I arrived in the lobby, ready to vociferously complain. I still haven’t tried to see the movie again or use the voucher for something else.

  16. Jon

    Went to see “The Bourne Identity” at a dinner theater. Movie starts off with the optical soundtrack visible on the left side of the screen. Then the picture slowly drifts out of focus. Then it snaps back into focus. Then it slowly drifts out of focus. Then it snaps back in. Then it slowly goes out again. Then someone pulls the entire lens housing out of the projector, WHILE THE MOVIE IS STILL RUNNING, and tinkers with it for a few minutes. This whole time the movie is a bright blur on the screen. Thankfully whatever that person did fixed it…..

    I’m also sick of theaters not knowing how to run their sound systems. I saw “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” in a big multiplex. The previews sounded great, good volume, nice bass. When the movie started, it sounded like shit. No surrounds, no bass (at all).

  17. I have had a few theater experiences that have been less than ideal, but nothing that I would consider awful. With just a couple of exceptions, I don’t even remember what movies some of these things happened in.

    Had one where the film broke. Management came in and apologized, and offered refunds for anyone who wanted to leave right then. However, they had the film fixed in about 5 minutes, and it resumed. It was the perfect chance for a bathroom break.

    Went to one where the entire theater’s right channels were not working. I tried to complain, but there was no one to complain to – there was the kid selling tickets and the kid at the concession stand. No one else was working that day – the concession stand kid was the one who went up and started teh movie for us. There were so few people there that day, they actually didn’t even turn on the projectors in half the auditoriums. The theater ended up closing its doors two weeks later.

    I’ve gotten a bad taste from drive-ins. The sound quality sucks, no matter how good your car radio is.

    Biggest complaint is that it is either too soft or too loud. I rarely complain about it being too loud – that has happened ONCE, where people in regular speaking voices were making my ears hurt. Many people flocked out of the auditorium and complained to management about that one. Usually, the complaint is that it is not loud enough. Most theaters, though, nowadays seem to play their movies about the same level, and I haven’t complained about volume in years.

    When I went and saw Kung Fu Panda 2 in 2D, the theater left the 3D lense on the camera. The movie was so dark, it was unwatchable.

    In Tron Legacy, there were some parents who brought their three-year-old boy with them. He had those shoes that light up, and, as he was bored stiff by the movie, he decided to entertain himself by playing with his shoes. Luckily, theater management wouldn’t put up with that, and came in about 20 minutes into the movie and told the parents to either remove the kids shoes, or to leave the theater.

    In Star Trek 6, we went and saw it on Christmas Eve that year, in a brand new theater they had just built. The heater in the theater went out, and by the time Kirk and McCoy landed on the astroid, it was downright freezing in the theater. We just thought of it as an extra dimension of immersion into the movie.

    Saw Harry Potter 8 on opening night on the biggest screen in the state in 3D. Sadly, while we thought we got there plenty early, I was only able to find one seat left, in the far corner on the front row. I could only see about 1/16th of the screen at any one given time.

    Other than those, no real issues. I may end up jynxing myself, but have never had an issue with people texting or on their phones during a movie. I am just in an area where people just show common curtesy to others, and I am sure that if someone were to whip out their cell in a theater, they would be lynched. I have seen someone answer their phone, say just a minute, and leave the auditorium to take the call.

    I honestly can’t think of a single theater experience that was so bad that it made me wish I had stayed at home. Well, except for Apollo 18, but that was just because the movie sucked – it had nothing to do with the theater.

  18. besch64

    Only three experiences that were remarkable in any way:

    -When I saw Coraline, the theater forgot to turn the lights off until about halfway through the movie. Even though it was a 3d screening, I really didn’t have any issues with dimness. The lights in the theater seemed to have been turned low in the first place anyway. It was far from a catastrophe.

    -Saw Tree of Life in a little art theater in the middle of the summer. The AC was broken, so they had a fan set up in the back of the room and gave everybody $5 off their ticket. Not the worst thing that could have happened. But, as was apparently so common in Tree of Life screenings, there was a dude there that had no idea what he had gotten himself into. He kept mumbling throughout the movie, and during the creation sequence he shouted out “Is this the right movie?” After the movie ended, he made sure to leave the audience with one more snarky remark, the exact nature of which I don’t remember.

    -Went to see True Grit at one of those new dine-in AMC theaters. The whole thing was pretty dumb, honestly. The food wasn’t great and I realized why we don’t usually eat hamburgers when we watch movies: because it’s fucking stupid. I don’t want to concentrate on food while I’m watching a movie. That’s not what made this a bad experience though. Right in the middle of the climactic gun fight, the waiter comes up to me with the check, hunkers down next to me, and tries to explain something about one of the charges on the bill. I was in shock. I basically told him to go away until the movie was over, which he did. But by then the battle was over. I submitted a complaint to AMC, and they told me that that the waiters are not supposed to confront audience members during the movie. Too late. Never going back. On top of all all that, the movie actually started 50 minutes late for no reason that we ever managed to figure out. Luckily, this was actually somewhat a positive because the theater was at the mall and it was Christmas shopping season, so my friend and I were about 20 minutes late in getting to the theater.

  19. I have never real had any real bad problems with seeing movies guess that happens when you see weekday matinees. But I have worked in a midnight screening that was hell for a lot of people

    We were doing a midnight screening for Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix. Another competing theater had lost power and had to cancel their screening so we were packed. We ended up screening it on 10 screens that night. Once we get everybody situated in their seats, the projectionists start up the projectors

    The light bulbs breaks on the projectors we are using in two of our biggest screens. 600 Harry Potter fans furious. We had to hand out refunds and concession vouchers to all of them.

  20. EM

    You’re fortunate not to have seen the business end of 600 Avada Kedavra curses.

    Weekday matinees are not immune to screening disasters. My misadventure of Tintin, re-recounted above, centered round a weekday matinee. And it was at a weekday matinee that my second viewing of Super 8 broke off midway through, due to a power outage—on a clear, bright day, too! (I’d expected to find an unforecast raging thunderstorm outside.)

  21. Seeing the second “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” film for Halloween and having a screaming 7 year-old a few rows in front of her. Seriously, this film was scarring this poor child. My companion yelled at the child’s parent to take the child out, which he did not. And then the “gentleman” found us after the film and derided US for not having more sensitivity for his daughter because we, “must not remember what it was like to be a child.” Le sigh…

  22. VIOZ

    I don’t know how to categorize this, but it sure is fun to remember: when I want to see a movie in a theater I try to pick a time in which the end of the movie coincides with the start of another one or viceversa, so I can watch more than one movie. (It works, by the way.) I wanted to see “127 Hours”, and the only time the coincidence happened was at like 9 AM, and the only one who dared to commit the crime at that hour was my 12 year old niece. (She can take a movie like that, by the way.) Somehow we left the house late so when we got out of the bus (yes, in Chile we use buses) we ran the last couple of miles. When we entered the auditorium the protagonist had already met the two girls, and I hate missing even the previews. Fortunately, once I sat down I started to feel lightheaded: I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet and I wasn’t in the best physical condition. I left my seat and wandered around the bathroom until I went back and sat in the hall of the auditorium until a worker found me and I had her call the Mall Doctor (did you know?) after I felt a slight numbness in my left arm. My poor niece couldn’t even enjoy the little she saw of the movie, waiting for me; they called her and sent me home. The next day they remembered me so I got new tickets and I used them right away even though that day their price was higher. And I never saw the other one.

  23. Oh the horror stories I could tell.

    1. Goldeneye: At the beginning of the first reel change the movie turned upside down and backwards. Played like that for like 2 minutes, and took them another 20 to get it straightened out.

    2. When seeing the exorcist when it was re released a number of years ago, teenagers who were obviously not old enough to watch an R rated film felt it was necessary to talk loudly about how lame the film was. Talk a about a horror story.

    3. Just recently when watching Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows the film started just as Rachel McAdams character collapses at the beginning of the film it stopped and went blank, took the guys about 10 minutes to get it running again and we had to tell them 3 times that it was not the right scene and that they had to go back.

    When this happens I like to remind people who say “Oh it’s not that bad” that movie theaters really have only ONE JOB!!!! Everything else an ancillary nicety. Their one Job is to play movies and present movies in a professional way and keep the customer happy. With the fact that ticket prices are at the highest they have ever been and that minutes upon minutes of advertising and commercials have been interjected at the beginning of movies now, it’s very insulting when they cannot accomplish their primary job.

    Ushers are a joke, they do nothing to remove people who talk too much and this is because they have too many screens and not enough employees.

    As screen sizes grow at home, the lack of professionalism at Movie Theaters is the main reason that attendance is dropping. If I could get Imax quality without people talking or being constantly bombarded with offers to SUPERSIZE my popcorn and drinks I might be interested in going to the movies more often, but until they start enforcing the rules for conduct as well as they do their copyright BS when people are taking pictures at a movie they will only get me in there for major movies like Harry Potter or the next Batman film.

  24. Ernesto Sanchez Briones

    I once went to a screening of “Kill Bill Vol. I” where the print was so battered and faded, and the sound so terrible that I wouldn’t have been able to understand the movie at all, had I not seen it a few months earlier in a proper presentation. It could have been a weird post-modern experience (this was a few years before Grindhouse came out), but it was just annoying. The theater closed a few weeks later.

  25. Jason

    my most recent bad experiences were due to an out of focus projector during Quantum of Solace and a guy that thought Black Swan was a comedy and wouldn’t stop cackling at the most inappropriate times. Needless to say I complained to the manager while the opening credits were running during QOS but he claimed to “not see the problem” and I got a refund and avoided that theater for about a year. After Black Swan I complained to the manager about the unruly customer and he gave me a couple of free passes. I love going to the theater but there is a reason I have a new 1080p projector and 100″ screen now.