Big Screen Troubles: Where Entertainment Becomes Work


By Matthew Le Blanc

A night out. A date. Boredom. Everyone inevitably finds themselves at the movies in hopes of being entertained for a few hours. Long gone are the days where you could simply walk into a theatre and within minutes purchase a ticket to a poorly written film. A trip to the movies has become a job in itself and requires more patience then what should be required. Somehow entertainment has turned into a part-time job, which usually consists of standing around with a bit of actual labour sprinkled in.

Through my experiences, and using the most scientific of calculations, I have discovered that for every two hours of movie you will spend roughly one hour standing idle in anticipation; a 2:1 ratio if you will. To prove my point, allow me to enlighten you with a play-by-play case study, which draws upon my findings.

The Goal: To sit and enjoy a movie your girlfriend picked without your consent. The movie starts at 1:30 p.m.

12:15 p.m.
You leave your house to travel to the theatre.

12:30 p.m.
You arrive at the theatre and step inside. Quickly surveying your landscape, you choose to wait in the automated ticketing kiosk line thinking technology can outsell its human counterparts. Out of the four kiosks two are out of order, which should serve as a warning, but you choose the one on the left.

12:35 p.m.
You begin to doubt your choice of line. As if on cue, the screen above the kiosk displays “Why wait in long lineups? Get to the movie faster. Use a kiosk.” With new found confidence you take a deep breath and persevere.

12:40 p.m.
You eavesdrop on the conversation taking place directly behind you. You hear the words “Vagina” and “Stank” used in the same sentence. Baffled, you recommit your focus back to the line.

12:41 p.m.
The man standing directly in front of you has had enough and leaves the line, putting you one step closer to the kiosk. Said man, who happens to be wearing a vibrant and clearly distinguishable orange shirt, joins the huge box office lineup that’s out the door.

12:45 p.m.
You slowly inch your way out from the line to peek at the front of the line. You notice a group of girls, six in total, who are huddled around the kiosk.

12:53 p.m.
Eight minutes later, the six girls are still huddled around the kiosk as each one pays for their tickets separately.

12:55 p.m.
You take one small step as the girls finally finish giggling and purchasing tickets.

12:57 p.m.
You notice the man in the orange shirt has made his way to the front of the box office line. Being able to sense your hate, the man turns around with a smug look on his face and locks eyes with you. He buys his tickets.

1:00 p.m.
The vagina stank behind you begins complaining about the long lineup. You turn around, smile and nod your head in agreeance. Not wanting to continue the conversation, you quickly turn back around avoiding the stank.

1:03 p.m.
You’ve finally reached the front of the line and are next to go. Currently at the kiosk is a father taking his kids out for the day. In a bold move, the father lets his eleven-year-old son operate the touch screen.

1:05 p.m.
The father scolds his son for picking three senior tickets and hits cancel, starting the process over again. The father realizes his mistake and takes the reins.

1:08 p.m.
The abusive father slides his debit card through the machine and waits for his tickets to be printed.

1:09 p.m.
The suspected wife beater is still looking for his tickets. His six-year-old daughter, who is eye level with the drop box, eventually spots them and points them out. The happy family leaves the kiosk.

1:09.47 p.m.
It’s your time to shine. You walk up to the kiosk, crack your fingers and begin purchasing tickets.

1:11.11 p.m.
Setting a new automated ticketing record, you finally have the tickets. You grab your partner and leave in the direction of your theatre.

1:12 p.m.
An awkward teenager rips your ticket and, assuming you’re completely lost and bad with numbers, points you in the direction of your theatre. On your way in you pick up a free entertainment magazine.

1:13 p.m.
Since your girlfriend picked a romantic comedy, the theatre is empty. You both choose to sit in the top row near the middle.

1:14 p.m.
Finally sitting down you open your magazine, but find it impossible to read due to the low lighting. You throw the magazine on the unwashed and sticky floor.

1:15 p.m.
Bored, you unenthusiastically watch the screen and play along with the preshow bumpers for the first time.

1:22 p.m.
The preshow finishes its loop and plays for a second time. However, this time the group of six girls from earlier scream out the answers to each question as they come up. This is nowhere near as annoying as having to watch Fredo the Magician perform an uninspiring card trick for the second time.

1:29.59 p.m.
You watch Fredo the Magician make it halfway through his trick for a third time before he’s cut off and the lights dim.

1:30 p.m.
You make yourself comfortable in your seat and sneak an arm around your girlfriend. For the next few minutes you’re subjected to a random string of commercials as if you were at home.

1:33 p.m.
An older couple, who just arrived at the theatre, makes their way up the stairs and into the row in front of you. With the theatre practically empty, they decide on the seats directly at your feet.

1:34 p.m.
The man sitting in front of you quickly leans back in his chair capping you at the knees. Trying to be quiet you cover your mouth to prevent yourself from screaming in agony. No longer comfortable with the seating arrangements, your girlfriend drags you over four seats to regain some precious leg space.

1:38 p.m.
You regain consciousness from the brutal assault on your knees and watch a couple trailers for upcoming movies, all of which your girlfriend wants to see. At the moment, you’re unsure whether or not you will want to return to this hell in the future.

1:43 p.m.
You begin using the pop cans you snuck into the theatre as ice packs for your swollen knees. You also open one discretely and take a sip.

1:45 p.m.
At long last, after an hour and 15 minutes, the movie begins.

Two hours and fifteen minutes pass.

4:00 p.m.
Movie ends. You leave the theatre wanting your money back.

Learning Outcomes

For all our advancements in technology we have yet to master the art of efficiency. Technology is everywhere and although it improves some aspects of our life there are certain areas that are perpetually hindered by it. Something as simple as going to the theatre to watch a movie on a rainy day has become a test of patience. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to avoid the use of any automated machinery at least until Skynet becomes self-aware and begins creating machines that can actually do something, like revolting against its creators.

Don’t bother picking up an entertainment magazine; it’s a waste of time. The theatre is just bright enough to find a seat. The rack might be conveniently placed near the theatre entrance, but they actually want you to watch the advertisements during the preshow. Instead of giving out 3-D glasses, the theatre should be providing night vision goggles to help combat the low light reading conditions. I suggest bringing in little tea lights or generic candles. They’re easy to conceal and they smell good when you blow them out. Be sure to use the exit doors below the screen if you “accidentally” set the building on fire.

Always put your feet up on the seats in front of you to deter anyone from sitting there. It’s simple and effective. This is just like when you park your car 500 yards away from a building and without fail someone will always park themselves right next to you. Maybe it’s Earth’s gravitational pull bringing things together or maybe it’s your kind face. No matter the reason, repel them with a sure sign of ignorance by putting those legs to work.

And finally, someone needs to create a petition to make Fredo the Magician disappear from theatres.

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