Whenever I go to see a movie in the theater, I like to go to a matinee at the York in Elmhurst. It's cheap, and it's close to home. The only problem is, it sometimes doesn't get the movies that I really want to see, like TUSK or THE DROP. In those cases, I tend to head off to the Marcus theater in Addison, because I can't stand the super-expensive AMC in Yorktown, and those are my only other options.
I hadn't gone to the Marcus in a while, but this month I've gone out there twice, and they had a mighty unusual change recently: apparently, they don't have regular seating anymore. They have reserved seating, and all the chairs are wide recliners.
At first, I hated it. It seemed silly to want reserved seats for a movie, and who needs recliners? Are they trying to get me to fall asleep at the show? More so, I'm shocked that Hollywood is OK with this, considering how this cuts down on a theater's capacity to hold people. How would something like this work out for the opening night of, say, the new STAR WARS movie, when it comes out? They can only fit maybe fifty people in there, whereas before they could fit a lot more. It doesn't make much sense.
When I saw TUSK, I didn't like the seating arrangement. But when I saw THE DROP, I kind of didn't mind it. I'm a fat guy, but I'm not a whale. I can fit comfortably in a regular theater seat. (I'd say I can fit comfortably in a seat on a plane, but I'm also a tall guy, so I don't have the leg room to make me comfortable.) The new theater recliners were pretty wide. Plus every pairing has an armrest that comes up, so if I brought a lady friend, we could act like we were on a couch instead of at a movie theater.
It was kind of nice to put my feet up. And put my arms behind my head. And maybe roll around a bit if one of my ass cheeks starts getting numb.
All right, I like it now. I'm cool with it. It won't make me go out to Addison every time I want to see a movie, but if I had to make the trek, that's fine.
One more thing: both shows I went to the Marcus for had almost no audience. I found that pretty bothersome. Both times, there were me and two other people. Yes, they were matinees, but attendance shouldn't be THAT bad. TUSK is a Kevin Smith movie, and Smith has a rabid following. There should have been more people in the audience. THE DROP is based on a Dennis Lehane novel, and his books are adapted by the likes of Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese, and they contain major star power. This one has Tom Hardy, who is probably the greatest new actor we have, in addition to the final performance of Tony Soprano himself, the late James Gandolfini. There is no possible way that such a film would have an audience of three, even at a matinee.
That's disappointing. I know that movies on the big screen are a fading part of the experience of being a human being, and it will be a shame when that's gone. There is a certain excitement that comes with the ritual of buying a ticket, getting popcorn, and experiencing a movie with an enormous crowd of people. I remember when I saw SE7EN in the theaters, and I heard people responding--with genuine shock--to the scene with the Sloth victim.
There is no replicating that experience.