Sunday, December 12

Stranded in 1991

The Boy and I had been looking forward to seeing Ocean’s Twelve for almost two weeks, so we booked two opening night tickets on Fandango for Friday night.

When I get home from work, (YES! I got a job not listed here) we head to the theater. Strangely enough, the one we usually go to isn’t showing it, so The Boy chose a Magic Johnson Theater, which is located on Martin Luther King Blvd. in this city with which we are still not yet familiar.

In standard blockbuster-opening-night fashion, we arrive at the theater approximately one and one half hours before the movie was scheduled to begin. Ordinarily, this is accepted and expected, but our behavior was met with the blank stare of ticket-taker. “You know your movie don’t start for like two hours.”

The place is empty, save maybe ten employees, a handful of teenagers, and a hundred very-pregnant women. The theater looks like 1991, white tile everywhere, lots of red and neon. With plenty of time to kill, we walk back outside and analyze the situation. Surely more people will show up, right? We’ve already bought our tickets; let’s just stay. Just wait. They’ll show up.

We walk over to the adjoining mall and waste some time in Walden Books, and head back to the theater. By 9:15 on opening night, the crowd should be building for the 10:00 movie.

Nope. The same bewildered clerk, kids, and very-pregnant women stared back at us, confused.

When we’re finally allowed to enter the theater, the security guard ESCORTS US to it like a secret service agent. The man clearly takes his job seriously, previously telling us “Could you please not stand in the [COMPLETELY EMPTY] hall here, ma’am?”

Up through this point, we had assumed that the inside of the theater would be modern, or at least clean. When we walk in, we find stains on each non-stadium seat that are older than some of my cousins. We sit down in our dingy theater of 300 capacity and look around. 9:45. No one. I’ve been to a lot of movies with only a handful of people (usually art-house crap at the Angelika), but never to one where there is NO ONE.

Silence. Something that sounded like the chirping of crickets.

We look at each other, and whisper about the alternate universe we have entered. Silence. Laughter. Nervous Laughter. “Ok, so we’ll just go ask for a refund.” “Can we do that?” “I think so.” “Ok.”

The two dollars lost to Fandango were well worth escaping the time-warp theater. We leave the place running.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've come close to being in a theater with no one else in it but my significant other, but late stragglers always ruined that.

Theater employees taking their work far too seriously are a pain in the ass, but sometimes they can be helpful. Case in point, last night when I went to the theater and like an idiot waited for 30 mins in a line that everyone else promptly ignored when the doors opened. Employees stood by and did nothing while people took down the ropes forming the line and just stampeded into the movie.


December 26, 2004 at 9:40 AM  

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