pick a seat, any seat

June 17, 2008

What’s the best thing to happen to movies pretty much ever? Not CGI. Not much better food selection, and trays to eat with in the theaters. Not even stadium seating, without which I would never go to any mainstream, for-profit movie theater. In fact, not even color. Or sound.

Nope. Number one on the list of movie innovations, in the history of movies is . . . reserved seating. And not just reserved seating at the ticket counter, though that is nice too. But reserved seating over the Internets. Reserved seats transforms the experience. No more lining up, EVER. No more saving seats EVER. Whether you like movie previews or not, you can now arrive at showtime, and walk right in to  your prime movie seats that you purchased on the Internets, maybe an hour before.

The rest of the movie-going public seems to have not caught on to this magical innovation. Last night, from my office computer, I bought five tickets for The Incredible Hulk for me, kim, and the kids at the Jordan Commons Megaplex. But before we could leave home, we had to drive the neighborhood looking for Holden, which set us back, then drive the 20 minutes to the theater. We arrived 5 minutes after showtime.

No worries. We walked inside, swiped a card in a machine, which printed our pre-reserved tickets, walked into the theater, kicked 3 girls and a random guy out of our prime seats, caught the last preview (I’m very excited about “The Clone Wars”), and watched the show.

Why did this take so long? Why didn’t we have this FIRST? What, we got Compuserv, we got AOL, for crying out loud, but we had to wait until now to get reserved seating at movies? I go on the Internets, pick a show, and I’m shown a picture of the theater and seats. I click on the ones I want, and pay. The seats are now MINE.

I don’t wanna get off on my movie idiosyncrasies, on how I HATE people in movie theaters, how I almost got in a fight for the good seats for Return of the King with another middle aged father, how Kim and I were almost killed by some female gang member who wouldn’t stop kicking Kim’s chair in Dallas, how somehow otherwise normal people seem to think it’s okay to use a parking lot voice in the middle of a movie, all that. Oh, I have issues. I’ll make an annotated list someday.

But now, which seat I’m in isn’t one of them.

Yay me.


17 Responses to “pick a seat, any seat”

  1. ty Says:

    So what you’re saying is, don’t go see Hulk?

  2. dug Says:

    ty, no, no no, not what i’m saying. we liked the hulk. liked it a lot, in fact. i agree with this critic:

    “Five years after Ang Lee attempted a reimagining of what a comic-book movie could be (an example that tanked disastrously at the box office), the big green gamma-guy returns to the screen in a purer, more unadulterated, vastly more entertaining form.”

    hulk good. hulk smash.

  3. KanyonKris Says:

    I agree, I have no idea why it took them so long to offer reserved seats. But the theater experience is still wanting, mostly because of movie-goer discourtesy. I hardly even see movies in the theater any more (but Ironman seems worthy, thanks to your review). We catch some dollar shows with the family, but mostly watch DVDs.

  4. Bikemike Says:

    i would love to be able to either have the ability to change into the hulk or have the hulk with me when i go to the movies. oh, don’t worry, i’ll start that list. why, in the freaking snot rocket heck, do they sell candy, chips, etc. in those awful noisy/crinkly bags/packaging. come to the movie don’t make a fuss or kick the back of my seat. shut your pie-hole and watch the movie.
    hulk hurt puny humans.
    flame on.

  5. dug Says:

    kk, you are rolling the dice with that dollar movie thing. on the one hand, sure, it only cost you a dollar. but that opens the door to the assholes who say, hey, it only cost a dollar, i’ll bring my babies, dogs, and tourette’s suffering grandparents. and you can’t complain cuz it only cost you a dollar.

    it’s like religion–if you don’t have to pay for it, it doesn’t mean anything to you.

    bikemike, who you flamin? yer preachin to the choir here man.

  6. BotchedExperiment Says:

    What about when you show up and someone is sitting in your reserved seat? Huh? Then there’s more angst created than if there weren’t reserved seating at all.

    Please note that 100% of the time I’ve used reserve seating, someone else has been sitting in one of the seats I reserved.

    Both times it has happened, here’s how I’ve handled it, (in a quiet voice)”Excuse me, do you think I’m your bitch? Is that it? (in a louder voice) Do you want my car too? How ’bout my wallet? HOW BOUT YOU AND I GO DOWN TO MY BANK AND I’LL CLEAN IT OUT AND HAND IT ALL OVER TO YOU, ‘CAUSE APPARENTLY EVERTHING THAT’S MINE IS ACTUALLY YOURS…oh, you have dyslexia, ah well, nevermind…it looks like these seats right here are open anyway.”

  7. Bikemike Says:

    sorry dug, thought i was on fark.com for a second.
    torch was always my favorite.

  8. dug Says:

    botched, you need more rage.

    reserved seats are an ace in the hole. if the theater is empty, kicking someone out of your seats makes you an asshole.

    but if the theater is pretty full, it makes you a wizard. i’ve never had anybody give me crap for kicking them out. they sigh sometimes. they make a big show of moving ALL THEIR STUFF. but they don’t actually give me crap. you know why? cuz they’re IN MY SEATS!

  9. mark Says:

    I actually have the ability to turn into the hulk. I don’t grow to be eight feet tall and green, but that’s neither here nor there. My wife and daughter are quite embarrassed when it happens, but my three year old son thinks it’s cool.

    It’s weird, though–the stuff I get really pissed off about is old man stuff, like people driving 35 in the neighborhood. I’ve never actually slammed someone’s head in a car door over it, though. When I throw pine cones, rocks, or whatever else happens to be within arm’s reach at their car as they speed by, the brake lights inevitably come on, but they usually change their minds about stopping.

    Except that time when I couldn’t find anything to throw, so I just waved my arms and yelled. That time he stopped. It was my neighbor across the street. I think even my son was embarrassed about that one.

  10. BotchedExperiment Says:

    Oh Mark, the #2 on my all-time most embarrassing moment list happened last fall just across the street from me due to the same thing.

    I’ve never told anyone this. Not even my wife.

    The neighbors across the street are a single mom and a teenage daughter. One night when mom was out of town the cars were coming and going and going and coming. It was dark. A dark colored car was especially egregious complete with two iterations accompanied by screeching tires. I keep missing him, but about 45 minutes later I saw him coming. As he was pulling up, I sprinted over and just as the car doors were opening, I delivered an irrational line at high volume: “If you don’t cut that shit out I’m going to bitch-slap every single one of you little bitches.”

    Well, to be honest, not all of the line was delivered at high volume. In fact, right about the time I hit, “…little bitches.” I was trying to shut my voice down all together and pretend I was talking to someone up in the sky.

    Before I get to the punch line, let me answer the inevitable question, “what were you thinking?”

    1) I was assuming that only teenage boys drove like idiots and calling them bitches would put them in their place.
    2) It was dark.
    3) I’m a hot head. An idiot hot head.

    Of course, the people in the dark colored car I was yelling at were not, in fact, idiot teenage boys. The people in the care were mom and daughter, coming home from the airport.

    Just as it’s impossible to explain how overwhelming a simple mechanical problem or slight injury can be when you’re deep into an endurance race, it’s impossible now for me to explain why I didn’t just apologize and explain why I was searing at them.

    In fact, I was physically and intellectually unable to speak. Blank. Clean slate. I turned around and walked away. After I was almost back in my yard, I looked over my shoulder, and there stood mother and daughter, looking at me like I had lost my mind.

  11. KanyonKris Says:

    dug, yes the dollar shows are the bottom of the theater barrel. You are correct that they attract the most patrons who don’t care about a good movie viewing experience. But we’ve found that if you go at odd times or after the movie has been there a while, we almost have the theater to ourselves. Still, it’s hit and miss. But that’s why it’s the family movie thing – even if it’s bad the kids don’t seem to care, and most of the time it’s kids movies so we don’t care either.

    Still, dollar show are like movie slumming. I’m OK with that.

    You know what we need around here? A movie fan theater. No kids under, what, 12? No food. No cell phones or other annoying gadgets. No talking or getting up unless it’s urgent. This is the place you go to watch good movies with other courteous adults who love movies. You have to be a member. You get reported too many times and membership revoked. Eh, I’ll just settle for watching DVDs at home.

    dug, you wanted more rage, I hope you’re soaking it up here.

  12. Rob Says:

    Reserved seating still doesn’t resolve my issue with movie theaters. Which is – people sitting next to me.

    In front, in back or on either diagonal corner from me…I hate people sitting by me.

    These people will still see my seat taken on the screen (on the world wide internet) and choose one right next to me. It’s even worse; I can’t furrow my brow, broaden my shoulders and try to look menacing.

    Hate movie theaters.

    KK. Dollar theater? what are you insane?

  13. Grizzly Adam Says:

    What did the guys you booted out of the seats think?

  14. dug Says:

    rob, amen. but if you want that big screen/big sound, you gotta suffer for it.

    grizzly, i don’t know what they thought. they just got up and moved.

    i mean really, if you’re at a sporting event, do you just let people sit in you seats? if you’re at the opera, do you just figure, oh, you’re in my seats, i’ll go sit in the balcony? of course not. why would we do differently at the movies? they’re MY SEATS.

  15. Rick S. Says:

    I’ve been to a movie with Dug (i made sure there was a buffer seat). I’ve seen Dug stand up, turn around, and get all up in the face of the kids behind us for talking during Lord of the Rings. And when I say all up in their face, I mean loud yelling. You wanna see rage? Go to a movie with Dug and talk duing the movie.

  16. bikemike Says:

    i wonder if Rick S. has ever seen Dug and Bruce Banner together? sounds like taking Dug with you to a movie is just like taking The Hulk. plus, with the buffer seat, you don’t get all that green makeup all over you. cool.

  17. rachel Says:

    Botched, you just made me feel ever so slightly less permanently embarrassed about my husband. Thanks.

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