Wednesday, August 03, 2011
“I Felt Dirty After That Film...and Not in A Good Way”
Posted by Courtney Small
Pop quiz: What do washrooms, nail polish and nachos all have in common? The answer is that they contributed to one of the worst theatre going experiences I have had in my life. A few weeks ago my wife and I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 at the Coliseum theatre. It is part of the Cineplex theatre chain here in Canada. By the end of the night I felt what can only be described as a combination of disgust and sadness...though mostly disgust.
I was not even going to write about the experience but it has been bothering me of late. I think it is just a symptom of a larger societal problem, one that I am not sure can ever be fix, but I am getting ahead of myself... The thing that started the evening off poorly was the condition of the washrooms. Granted I can be like Seinfeld’s George Constanza when it comes to public restrooms, as I generally try and avoid them at all cost, yet on this particular Saturday night it looked as if a nuclear explosion had hit the restrooms. You know that scene in a comedy where the protagonist needs to use the washroom and only the filthiest of stalls is available? Well picture that stall repeated six or seven times in a row, even the stall reserved for people with disabilities suffered the same fate. The urinals did not fair any better, as patrons had to stand in pools of water, streaming from the one aforementioned toilets.
Now I understand that theatres usually have staff do a check on the washrooms ever hour and sign their name on a sheet verifying the check. However, I am not exactly sure what they are looking for? The right levels of hand soap? Enough paper towels? Clearly the washroom had been in this state for a while. The weird thing is I cannot completely fault the theatre for this, the customers who left it in that state have to take responsibility as well. The lack of respect, or even consideration, for others was prevalent the entire evening.
Which leads me to my main area of complaint the cinema itself, or more specifically the people who frequent the cinema. Where do I even begin? There was the young woman who was sitting two seats away from my wife that decided to use the seat between them as her personal napkin on which she wiped her nacho cheese laden fingers. Not subtle mind you, but openly commenting to her friend that she “was glad no one was sitting there so she can use the seat to wipe [her] hands.” Did I mention there was still another 15 minutes before the film started? So there was still a chances that someone could take that seat.
Or how about the couple who came in just at the commercials starting playing and the female of the two decided it was a good time do her nails. The strong stark smell of nail polish engulfed the air and the people sitting beside her did not seem to enjoy the fact that their popcorn was right beside her nail polish. Last, but not least, who could forget the person that needed to answer their cell phone in the middle of the film. They did not even bother to sneak outside and chat real quick, just opened the phone and started gabbing.
Now I know in the 18th Century the theatre going experience was vastly different than it is today. People would go to the theatre for the social aspect rather than to see the play going on in the background. The invention of film eventually curbed that ritual, but it seems to be making a strong comeback. I think what irks me the most about all of this is how self-important we have become as a society. Everyone assumes their life, or their actions, are far more important than anyone elses. That is why people can wipe their hands on a seat without even considering that someone in the next show might be sitting there.
As a blogger, I am guilty of falling into bouts of self-importance as much as the next person. However I was raised to have consideration for others, especially when in public. I go to the cinema to be entertained by what is being projected on the giant screen in front of me. Yet more and more I find myself distracted by what I witness around me.