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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinema Yak   » Share your bad cinema experiences! (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Author Topic: Share your bad cinema experiences!
Daniel Fuentz
Member

Posts: 212
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted April 11, 2003 03:04 AM      Profile for Daniel Fuentz   Email Daniel Fuentz         Edit/Delete Post 
The mention of the Fresno, Ca. Signature theater in another thread got me to thinking about bad cinema experiences.

The radio station I worked for hosted a movie premiere at the Signature shortly after it opened. This theater features a "self-serve" concession area. On the evening of my visit, there was little monitoring of this area. Kids were playing in the popcorn, drinks were spilled all over -- it was gross. Then, when the premiere actually started, the film broke! I know that's not necessarly the theater's fault, but when I'm already having a bad experience these things tend to get magnified. I have not been to that theater since.

However, the WORST experiences I ever had were at the now-closed UA Manchester cinema. This was a "bargain" theater, that also had double features from time to time. Every single film I ever saw there was horribly scratched, they usually looked as if someone had taken sandpaper to them. (I now know this wasn't necessarily the theater's fault, as they were showing second-run product, but it was definately the theater's fault that the picture was often projected off the screen onto the walls.)

If the presentation issues weren't enough, they didn't show any evidence of owning a broom or mop. The most vivid memory I have of this theater was when I saw a roach crawling on the back of the seat in front of me.

After I (and probably lots of other people) complained about the conditions UA did close the theater and remodel it. It wasn't so bad after that, (if you didn't mind badly scratched films) but the theater closed within a few years of the remodeling after the Edwards 21 opened. I doubt it would've lasted much longer anyway, since it was only a 2 screen theater. (I got the feeling it was a single screen that was twinned, but that is only a guess on my part.)

I'm sure someone out there has been to a worse theater than this, though!

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Paul Linfesty
Member

Posts: 64
From: Bakersfield, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 11, 2003 06:36 PM      Profile for Paul Linfesty   Email Paul Linfesty         Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, Daniel, the General Cinema Corp built the Manchester Mall Cinema as a single back in the sixties. It was later twinned around 76-77 (the same time they twinned Bakersfield's VP Cinema, NOT an original build for them. Thank God. I HATED GCC designs. Those shadowbox screens and grey metallic walls. Yechh!) General Cinema either sold off or closed their valley theatres in the 80's. Manchester Mall to UA, Visalia complex to Mann, Bakersfield to the wrecking ball. THey were re-grouping at the time, and were concentrating on the biggest markets.

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Daniel Fuentz
Member

Posts: 212
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted April 14, 2003 01:26 AM      Profile for Daniel Fuentz   Email Daniel Fuentz         Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for that info! Even though I was rather young when we went to this theater regularly I always thought it looked like someone put a wall down the middle of the auditorium. I'm trying to recall how the theater looked originally -- in the late 80's, early 90's the Manchester North center was gutted and converted from a traditional walk-through mall to a strip mall. At this time the outside of the cinema was renovated to how it looks now, (and how it is pictured on this site)but I can't for the life of me remember how it looked prior to that.

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Dave Stambaugh
New Member

Posts: 37
From: Eugene, OR
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 14, 2003 01:26 PM      Profile for Dave Stambaugh   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Stambaugh         Edit/Delete Post 
I'd have to say the most unpleasant first-run theater I've ever been to was the old UA Twin in Westminster, CA. The auditorium walls were some kind of perforated corrugated steel -- no fabric or other real sound deadening material. I remember the place being a dark and skanky hell-hole with terrible acoustics. They ran ET in 70mm, and it was not very impressive.

As for the dirtiest, it was the Edwards Big Newport, the morning after they ran a midnight premiere of one of the Star Wars movies (might have been Empire). They had 1200 people lined up outside, leaving all their litter behind, then after the show the auditorium wasn't cleaned for whatever reason. I was there for the first matinee show the next morning and the place was a total disaster - filthy, inside and out. That's the only time I ever saw anything like that happen there.

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Adam Martin
Administrator

Posts: 1090
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 14, 2003 03:01 PM      Profile for Adam Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Adam Martin         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
The auditorium walls were some kind of perforated corrugated steel
National Amusements used to do that with their line of Showcase Cinemas, too.

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Bill Gabel
Member

Posts: 288
From: New York, NY
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 14, 2003 06:20 PM      Profile for Bill Gabel           Edit/Delete Post 
GCC did the same with some of their Southern California units.
Like GCC Sherman Oaks 3,4,5 , Woodland Hill 1,2,3 .

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

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


 - posted April 14, 2003 06:26 PM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
Ahhhh the Big Newport. I never saw a film there but I did run around like an idiot in that building until about 5:00am once. A friend of mine was a closing manager and I used to go down and visit him every so often whenever I was in the area. That entire complex is a trip. You'd think the old sections would have been modernized being that it was Edward's big happy headquarters.

And David, the Westminster Twin has been demolished... so justice has been served.

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Chuck Cook
Member

Posts: 66
From: Kentwood, MI
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted April 14, 2003 10:59 PM      Profile for Chuck Cook   Email Chuck Cook         Edit/Delete Post 
Whatever you do, AVOID the GKC Theatres in Traverse City (Grand Traverse 9 and Horizon 10) at all costs. When I saw The Waterboy at the GT9 some years back, the theatre was full and I had the misfortune of being in front of two idiots who HAD to bring their toddler along. I had to face 90 min. of yelling, screaming and the kid even used my chair as a bongo.

Not to mention, the Horizon wasn't much better (imagine a 60's style twinned moviehouse X 5); me, my Dad and Grandmother went and saw Captain Morelli's (sp) Mandolin (don't laugh, we knew the movie sucked) and the idiots forgot to adjust the screen before the flick started. Not to mention Grandmother complaining that the sound was too loud.

Memo to those planning to see movies in northern Michigan: want to see a flick? Go to the Elk Rapids Cinema (the TC area's OLDEST and STILL INDEPENDANTLY O&O THEATRE) or any of the Dawson family's theatres (Bellaire, Petoskey, Gaylord and Mackinaw City to name a few) instead. At least unlike any of GKC's theatres, the latter three I mentioned have something I don't think GKC has ever heard of.... STADIUM SEATING.

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Daniel Fuentz
Member

Posts: 212
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted April 14, 2003 11:43 PM      Profile for Daniel Fuentz   Email Daniel Fuentz         Edit/Delete Post 
Ah, yes, now that you mention it I have been in a theater with that corrugated metal on the walls... I *think* it was a 6-plex I visited in Orlando, FL in 1990. I can't remember the name of the theater, only that it was located in the Northgate shopping center, a strip mall that had been converted to a swap meet by tearing off all the storefronts. (People get some really wacky ideas of things to do with buildings, don't they??) From what I remember of the theater it was on the dumpy side.

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Chris Markiewicz
New Member

Posts: 8
From: Oakland, CA
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted April 15, 2003 11:50 AM      Profile for Chris Markiewicz   Email Chris Markiewicz         Edit/Delete Post 
That perforated corrugated steel is SUPPOSED to have fiberglass batting behind it, but as you know it doesn't work. There's a recently built high school theatre here that has that stuff. A worse problem is the WINDOWS the architect put in the auditorium; immediately permanently covered over. When will they learn?

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John McDowell
New Member

Posts: 18
From: Reed City, MI
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted April 15, 2003 08:39 PM      Profile for John McDowell   Email John McDowell         Edit/Delete Post 
The comment about GKC theatres in Traverse City, MI. brought to mind their operation in Big Rapids, MI. Back about 1990, when Fantasia was re-released, theatres were apparently instructed to use 1.35/1 aperature plates so as not to crop the frame. They were using a lens that produced a very undersized picture. It had something like 2 feet of blank screen top and bottom, and 4 feet on each side. I silently stewed during the whole showing.
(Incidentally, I had filled in a few times as projectionist there for a friend of mine while it was still a single screen house). As I had been in the building while it was being carved into 4 screens, I offered to go up and show them what they were doing wrong. Unfortunately, they thought they were right, but they obviously didn't understand what they were instructed to do.
I live only 12 miles away, but have probably only been there 2 or 3 times in the last 12 years. They guy that was their regular projectionist before the quadding hasn't even been back there, and he lives only 7 blocks away.
They still can't get the masking right. The last film I saw there had opening credits at the lower right corner, in 2 lines.
The bottom half of the lower line was cut off. The last I knew, they were getting travel ghost in one of the auditoriums too.

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Chuck Cook
Member

Posts: 66
From: Kentwood, MI
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted April 15, 2003 11:11 PM      Profile for Chuck Cook   Email Chuck Cook         Edit/Delete Post 
GKC: Greatfully Krappy Cinemas.

One thing about GKC is that they overcharge for a movie ticket and I've been to better theatres that charge less. Most of their theatres up in northern Michigan sans Traverse City (that includes Big Rapids, Alpena and Ludington) are split old movie houses.

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Chuck Cook
Member

Posts: 66
From: Kentwood, MI
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted April 16, 2003 10:42 PM      Profile for Chuck Cook   Email Chuck Cook         Edit/Delete Post 
John....

Do you post on the Michigan Radio/TV Buzzboard? If so, irony, ain't it... BTW, I love the pics of the Reed Theatre in Reed City. Got any of the auditorium?

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Daniel Fuentz
Member

Posts: 212
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted April 20, 2003 02:18 AM      Profile for Daniel Fuentz   Email Daniel Fuentz         Edit/Delete Post 
This week I made the mistake of going to the UA Sierra Vista. It's a standard UA shoebox multiplex, center aisle with rows of 7 seats a piece. Fine. It was raining out, so I didn't really want to drive across town to the Edwards. Prior to the film, that wretched Movietunes pap was playing oddly -- the songs were audible, but when Mr. Smarmy radio announcer came on he was distorted *and* barely audible. (All this was from the front speakers behind the screen, there was nothing in the surrounds.) Once the film started, I was hearing nothing from the surrounds. I thought perhaps they just put some speaker boxes on the walls to make it look as if they had surround, until about 30 minutes into the film some music started blaring out of them. Just as suddenly as it started, the music dropped down to where it was almost inaudible. After that scene ended, there was no further sound out of those speakers. That was the extent of the surround sound experience. When I went to the lobby to tell someone about it, not a soul was in sight. (I KNEW I should've said something when the Movietunes weren't playing properly!!) Of course, nobody from the theater peeped into the auditorium once during the entire show. In fact, I had to get up and close the door myself about 10 minutes into the film, as the light from the hallway was annoying. (I was sitting in the very back row, and the hallway has some pretty bright flourescents in it) When I got home, I filled out one of Regal's on-line comment card thingies telling them (in a polite fashion) what a dump their theater is, but those things probably probably go right into the "trash" folder... I knew I should've driven across town to the Edwards!!

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Eric Hooper
Member

Posts: 107
From: Santa Clara, CA
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted April 25, 2003 11:59 AM      Profile for Eric Hooper   Email Eric Hooper         Edit/Delete Post 
Believe it or not, I liked the grey metallic walls at General Cinemas. In 1990 they redid my local GCC (Southland - Hayward, CA) with new high back blue seats (replacing the metalic lounge seats) and painted the metallic walls dark red. They also changed the blue screen lights to red. This all looked very cool!!

Daniel, Regal also owns Edwards Theatres too (in addition to your UA theatre with the bad sound)...funny, isn't it...

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