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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas and Theatres   » Guilty Pleasure Theatres / Awful Theatres (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3 
 
Author Topic: Guilty Pleasure Theatres / Awful Theatres
Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted December 22, 2010 01:11 PM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
Apologies if this topic already exists, my searching skills didn't produce any results so here... [Smile]

I know we've discussed our favorite theatres, but what about some of the worse theatres we've been to? For me a number of these bad theatres are guilty pleasures, where I like to go when I want an old fashioned, non-stadium experience and be able to poke fun at the theatre's continuing existence, even though I love it so much.

Now I'm not talking about closed theatres or ones that have been demolished unless they were AWFUL AWFUL pits or GUILTY GUILTY pleasures. Keep it to theatres anybody could walk into today and be amazed is still open.

Off the top of my head I can think of the UA Stonestown Twin in San Francisco. I always check the marquee when I drive by hoping they're showing something I'd pay for so I can go buy tickets, get my 50/50 chance of picking the correct auditorium and then sitting down in the chairs that are pointed toward the original screen. Of course the theatre has that nice funky dusty smell that just makes me feel I'm at the movies.

UA Berkeley also makes me happy, it's just so funky and split every which way, a theatre like this would NEVER be built nowadays. I can't even think of a theatre in recent history that was split for more screens instead of just building on.

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Mark Campbell
Member

Posts: 437
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted December 22, 2010 04:22 PM      Profile for Mark Campbell   Email Mark Campbell         Edit/Delete Post 
Great topic Scott!

My guilty pleasures:
• Any theatre that has been split down the middle. Especially when it has a scope film.
• Any ex-GCC theatre
• Any 70's and 80's era sloped multiplexes still operating.
• Any theatre that has that old musty smell (the of the late Mann National)
• Theatres dropped from major chains that have been repurposed as art houses or discount houses.

Examples:
• GCC Avco, LA, CA
• Regency Academy 6, Pasadena, CA
• Century North Hollywood 8. This place feels built in the 70's (check out the carpet, glass and chandeliers!) when it is actually much newer.
• Laemmle Fallbrook 7 (ex-GCC)
• Regency Granada Hills 9
• AMC Oak Tree 6, Seattle, WA
• Landmark Crest, Shoreline, WA
• Admiral Twin, Seattle WA
• Regal East Valley 13, Renton WA
• Starplex Gateway 8, Renton WA

Places that I like to peek into but cannot stand seeing a movie at:
• Almost any Cineplex Odeon build. Their designs and color scheme me feel claustrophobic.
• Any 80's or 90's era AMC build

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John J. Fink
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Posts: 123
From: Buffalo, NY
Registered: Aug 2005


 - posted December 22, 2010 09:54 PM      Profile for John J. Fink   Author's Homepage   Email John J. Fink         Edit/Delete Post 
Great topic: my old favorite guilty pleasure used to be the Showcase East Hartford (East Hartford, CT) which I saw many a film at as an undergrad: great popcorn, place was always dead - so vintage and untouched from the good ol' days from when the place used to pack em' in before Buckland Hills up the road opened. Too good to be true.

Other guilty pleasure theaters I treasure (and miss) was the Cineplaza, formerly Bergen Plaza 13 - a failed Regal Cinemas (it went discount less than a year after it opened). What was so great about this is you had 25 failed Regal screens competing for the same books as 14 successful theaters run by Loews before the area got rezoned. Cineplaza would show the craziest art films you'd never expect to see and Bollywood (which would sustain it and sell out) - so many great films were seen here (and for only $4 bucks) including a few that were exclusive to NYC otherwise, this place was too good to be true.

My current guilty pleasures are the many old General Cinema sites in/around Buffalo - - Eastern Hills (two cut-ups, and a decent sized screen with a GCC shadowbox!), McKinnely Mall (an 80's era GCC 6-plex), Market Arcade (an Angelika Film Center hybrid - still with a chandelier and wood floor in the lobby crossed with an 80's era GCC), and Thruway Plaza (a cut up and expanded former GCC).

My favorite type of guilty pleasure (and dying) is aforementioned National Amusements sites which used to be the cinematic hotspot back in the day - but are dying - but most are dearly departed. Moment of silence for my beloved Showcase East Hartford.

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Jeff Arellano
Senior Member

Posts: 685
From: Monterey Park, CA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted December 22, 2010 10:27 PM      Profile for Jeff Arellano   Email Jeff Arellano         Edit/Delete Post 
Academy 6: especially if im in one of the balcony theaters. For the longest time had Mono sound still.

Regal Peninsula 13: the only non Edwards/UA Regal I go to. Never busy and a good staff with decent screens.

Montebello 10: one of the last AMC 90's 10 plexes. Great sized auditoriums with most having manual side masking (only 2, 3, 4 and 9 have non side masking) but all good size screens for a nearly 20 year old ALL DIGITAL multiplex.

Whittier Village 9: 3 screens in the former single screen. The game room in what was the rear of the original auditorim.. the misty smell and I always wanted to know what was up the stairs in the back of the theater (was there ever a balcony here??? Its a nice staircase ).

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Danny Baldwin
Member

Posts: 130
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted December 22, 2010 10:32 PM      Profile for Danny Baldwin   Author's Homepage   Email Danny Baldwin         Edit/Delete Post 
Totally second the Academy 6! Plus, as has been discussed in another thread, the Burbank 8. Those top my list of guilty pleasures.

As for just bad--and Chris Utley will back me up on this one--the University Village 3 takes the cake. Fixed aspect ratios, graffiti on the seats and even the screens, terrible patrons, horrible smell, nasty upstairs bathrooms--the whole enchilada.

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Mark Campbell
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Posts: 437
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted December 22, 2010 10:51 PM      Profile for Mark Campbell   Email Mark Campbell         Edit/Delete Post 
John Fink: Try to get pictures of the GCC Shadowbox next time you are there!!

Danny Baldwin: The University Village 3 needs to be photographed. I wonder how the new Regal in downtown LA has affected it...

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Danny Baldwin
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Posts: 130
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted December 22, 2010 11:55 PM      Profile for Danny Baldwin   Author's Homepage   Email Danny Baldwin         Edit/Delete Post 
Mark: I go to USC, so I should probably do that at some point, but I vowed to never go back (hah!)

I don't think the Regal has affected it much, because students have always shied away from the place and the majority of the audience is just neighborhood kids. They can't be doing too poorly, because they just added 3-D to one screen. (Though, to be fair, I think it is Technicolor film-based 3-D, not digital.)

On the photographing note, however... Do you guys always ask for permission? As one who would mainly be taking photos when seeing films, I worry that I would be mistaken for a pirate if I did not ask in advance, which often requires too much time. I have tried to do it covertly with my iPhone, but all the back-lit mylars and neon signage at places gets distorted without a real camera.

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Mark Campbell
Member

Posts: 437
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted December 22, 2010 11:59 PM      Profile for Mark Campbell   Email Mark Campbell         Edit/Delete Post 
i just sneak 'em.

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Jeff Arellano
Senior Member

Posts: 685
From: Monterey Park, CA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted December 23, 2010 12:17 AM      Profile for Jeff Arellano   Email Jeff Arellano         Edit/Delete Post 
ok Danny.. Media 8 I still do like. I did work there too so I know it even better.

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Christopher Crouch
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Posts: 292
From: Anaheim, CA
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted December 23, 2010 04:49 AM      Profile for Christopher Crouch   Email Christopher Crouch         Edit/Delete Post 
My choice for Orange County's most craptastic theatre:

Four Star Cinema, Garden Grove - An early 70's era twin that was later divided up in to four screens. The theatre was remodeled/updated a few years ago, but it still looks like something straight out of the early 80's. Less than desirable neighborhood, a modern megaplex near bye, minimal business levels, shoe box auditoriums, and the second smallest screens in the county, but it operates as a first run and was one of the first cinemas in Orange County to feature all digital projection. Sloped floors and 80's era seating fixtures, but the seats might be some of the most comfortable in the county. A senior citizen daytime clientele, who tend to carry on bizarre conversations, break wind, and burp loudly. A parking lot where you are just as likely to see a drug addicted begger as a happy-go-lucky family. The whole place is one giant wtf.

Runners up:

AMC Fullerton, Fullerton - Three cinemas in one! Late 90's stadium megaplex in the building housing auditoriums 11-20. In the other building, late 80's multiplex in auditoriums 1, 4-10, early 90's multiplex in auditoriums 2 and 3. As a result, we encounter a tour through AMC amenities past; HITS systems, Taurus screens, SDDS, pass through concession, etc. One side as generic as they come, the other a patchwork of half assed remodels and decrepit original features.

Brea 5, Brea - Exterior, clean and fresh; lobby, modern and sleek. Step in to an auditorium, they've maintained the allure of a dying late 70's multiplex.

Brookhurst, Anaheim - Single screen that was very poorly divided in to four screens (complete with awkward seating angles and upwards slanting floors in some auditoriums). Countless remodels over the past 49 years, but none managed to "take". Shady clientele, graffiti, county's smallest screens, perpetual musty odor, horrid presentation quality, wall to wall facility abnormalities; even a Filipino food/pizzeria next door; a glorious disaster of a theatre.

Laguna Hills Mall 3, Laguna Hills - Customer base averaging about 80 years of age, completely clueless operator who is running on a shoestring budget (homemade title art!), theatre that hasn't aged or changed since 1983; all set within one lame and dated mall.

All incredibly fun venues to experience the craptastic side of movie going.

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Chris Utley
Senior Member

Posts: 631
From: Torrance, CA
Registered: May 2003


 - posted December 23, 2010 08:13 AM      Profile for Chris Utley   Author's Homepage   Email Chris Utley         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
As for just bad--and Chris Utley will back me up on this one--the University Village 3 takes the cake. Fixed aspect ratios, graffiti on the seats and even the screens, terrible patrons, horrible smell, nasty upstairs bathrooms--the whole enchilada.
[barf] [barf] [barf] [barf] [barf] [barf] [barf] [barf]

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted December 23, 2010 10:05 AM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
If I'm already there to see a movie, I sneak pictures. If we're on a massive trip where we obviously don't have time to see movies, I ask.

I did pay once to get into the Academy 6 just to see how bad it was. Sadly it was so dark and the camera I had at the time just sucked so bad. I remember one of the screens was showing a scope movie with a flat lense so it would fit on the screen. I wanted to go back ever since. Did a chain own that when it was chopped up or did somebody independent do that?

Anybody who's been to San Francisco (or plans to) should DEFINITELY go to the Opera Plaza 4. My understanding is that it was built by Alan Michaan (owner of the beautiful Grand Lake in Oakland), it was later sold to Pacific and then to Landmark. Now as a funky art house it's quasi acceptable, but I swear the two larger auditoriums seat only 85 and the two smaller "screening rooms" seat 35. On top of the ceilings just being ridiculously low to begin with, the front rows slope up to where I (6'1") have no problem placing my palm to the ceiling. I don't know if Landmark has put any money into the place to make it more tolerable (as they did the Shattuck in Berkeley) but man, the first time I walked in there I just couldn't believe they made theatres that small, and that's coming from me whose first theatre had a house with 48 seats.

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Kyle Muldrow
Member

Posts: 143
From: Laguna Hills, CA
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted December 24, 2010 09:16 AM      Profile for Kyle Muldrow   Author's Homepage   Email Kyle Muldrow         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Laguna Hills Mall 3, Laguna Hills - Customer base averaging about 80 years of age, completely clueless operator who is running on a shoestring budget (homemade title art!), theatre that hasn't aged or changed since 1983; all set within one lame and dated mall.
Hey, I live less than a mile from that mall...but, seriously, you're right about that place, Chris...forgive my ignorance here, but what exactly makes the operator clueless?? Granted, it's far from my favorite theater...and you're right about the clientele being old since there's lots of senior residences near the mall...but I think they're trying to go for the kid market as well. They've got Narnia and Yogi Bear showing there right now (had Tangled last week until True Grit opened) and actually start showing movies before 10:00 AM...personally, however, I think the old Circuit City location would be a better place to put a theater, which would put the one in the mall out of business...somehow, it stays open...

I've been to all the theaters you mentioned, although it's been a while. I personally would say the Brookhurst is the worst of the bunch. The Four Star isn't too bad...although I haven't seen a movie there during the day, so I guess I haven't experienced the strange folks. Also, you said there was a megaplex nearby... I assume you're referring to the Regal Garden Grove 16. I've also been there and, quite frankly, that place isn't much of an improvement over the Four Star. Sure, there's lots more screens and stadium seating...but it's just not a well done theater. Of course, it's a Regal new build...that should say enough...

Thanks for posting this!! That was fun read!!

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted December 24, 2010 12:43 PM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
I do have to say most of the Regal builds before they bought Edwards and UA were somewhat boring and overly generic. Bad seats, stupid alternating drape/soundfold/drape walls. I also never tought somebody could have more obnoxious neon than Edwards had, but the color choices are just awful. The one good thing that Edwards brought Regal is a better color pallete.

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Danny Baldwin
Member

Posts: 130
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted December 24, 2010 06:23 PM      Profile for Danny Baldwin   Author's Homepage   Email Danny Baldwin         Edit/Delete Post 
Speaking of downright awful Edwards builds... Today, I went to bid adieu to the UltraStar Del Mar Highlands 8, which is getting remodeled to become an "UltraLuxe" location next month. I was going to get some photos, but I left in horror after 15 minutes of the movie... and that had nothing to do with the poor quality of "Little Fockers", surprisingly.

At this theater, the screens have fixed aspect ratios of 2:1. Get this: they were improperly running "Little Fockers" (Flat) in Scope format (which just "zooms in" on the image rather than stretching it, because it is digital), on the 2:1 screen. So this effectively meant that BOTH the tops and sides of the picture were cropped off. In medium-shots, characters' heads were out of frame. Even the letterboxed trailers were cropped from the top and bottom it was so bad! I'd say about 40% of the image was cropped.

Hopefully UltraStar will upgrade the screens to have movable masking in the update, but even if they do, there is no saving this horribly built, horribly managed dump. They may attract an upscale crowd and keep the place relatively clean, but this is as ghetto as moviegoing gets!

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