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MIKE AT THE MOVIES (Dec.05) by Mike C.

Folks...I officially hate going to the movies. I'm writing a letter to the Loew's theater management and I thought I'd share (coughcoughpublically complain and humiliate themcoughcough) my letter with you.

Here's the letter I will be sending to the Loew's theater management:

Dear Sir/Madame:

I'd like to preface my letter by stating that I understand it that box office revenue is in a bit of a slump this year. If the typical movie going experience is close to what I experienced at the Loews Roosevelt Field movie theater, then I can understand why.

Ill begin with a complaint about one of your theater policies: We were not admitted into the theater until 15 minutes before the start of the Coca-Cola commercials. The lobby was largely empty, it was a cold windy night. When we reached the ticket taker at 7:32 we were told we could not entry the lobby or theatre # 3 until 7:45. We asked if we could get a get a cup of coffee at the concession stand, at the very least, and were denied. We were offered a space between the glass double doors. We took the compromise and stood, patiently, between the glass doors and humbly observed patrons entering Theater # 3 at 7:38. I couldnt help but think how Id sure have liked that cup of coffee while I watched people who arrived later than I get seating ahead of us.

I cannot blame this on your staff, who were merely enforcing company policy. Im not sure, however, why such a policy exists. Is it to clean the auditorium before the next screening? If thats the reason you should explain that to the staff. No trouble, though, the cuff of my jeans managed to swab up most of the Coca-Cola puddle that was in front of my seat.

After the Coca-Cola commercial, and the Steve Martin public service announcement, the trailers began. We couldnt help but notice the image was crooked. A cold, but short, wait to be seated I can handle. A sticky floor? All part of the experience. Steve Martin public service announcement, painful, but I made it through. I, however, will not pay $10.25 and see a crooked image. I stood up before the end of the trailers, yanked my sneakers free from the now congealed Coca-Cola puddle, and hurried down to the lobby where I approached our ticket taker. I explained the image was crooked, and he said he would radio for someone to check the image.

The film began. The epic remake of King Kong. I wasnt so much drawn into the scene in which Carl Denham dreamily describes why Ann Darrow should be part of his film by the performances of the actors, or the engaging script. No, I kept wondering just how Ann Darrows coffee didnt slide right off the table in front of her, because the image, you see, was still crooked. SoI had to leave my seat, wrestle free from the muck, and find yet another member of the staff. I explained to her that the image was crooked in theatre ..3. I was promised a fix, again. Im not sure if it was ever fixed, because the next hour of the film takes place on a rocking boat. I would have to wait and see if The Empire State building looked more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

So, you are aware that King Kong is a 3 hour long film? At the midway point I found my bladder giving up on me so I had to hurry down to the restrooms. Im very grateful to find that there was plenty of soap and water down there. I found myself, however, looking for a pot of boiling water and some penicillin because these were the most disgusting bathrooms Ive ever seen. Lets look on the bright side: The urine soaked floor managed to eat away whatever Coca-Cola syrup remained on my shoes. I returned to my seat again to find Adrian Brody and Jack Black walking up a hill...oh, wait,....no, the image is still crooked.

Always one to live on the edge, and having been denied that cup of coffee 2 hours ago I decided that I might try one of our your snacks and a refreshing cup of Coca-Cola (as per the trivia slides, and commercials earlier in the evening). I was on line behind 2 patrons for approximately 10 minutes before being served my nachos, lumpy cheese, and value sized Diet Coke. No straw, however. I had to pick that up myself by the self-serve butter machine. Remember the bathrooms? They were an improvement over the self-serve snack area. Greasy, cooled butter sauce was all over the table. Salt scattered everywhere. I reached over the stainless steel table and over the pool of lardish vegetable oil and salt, and retrieved my straw. This, I thought, is the reason straws come individually wrapped for my safety.

By this point, I'm sure the image was no longer crooked. The big old ape managed to climb straight up that Empire State Building. For guidance, I'm sure he used the half-inch wide bright yellow scratch in the film print that had been running up the screen for about the last 30 minutes.

Im not sure that I will return to this theater, its the latest in a series of unpleasant experiences there. The King Kong affair was the breaking point for me as a patron. I hope this is helpful to you to understand why people may not be heading to the movies like the used to. I hope you can use to letter to make some changes to your theaters. Really all we ask as filmgoers is the respect of courteous treatment, a clean environment, and professionally projected movie.

Sincerely yours,
Michael W. Cucinotta

-Mike C.

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