What does that extra few bucks at Arclight get you?

Caryn and I simply had to go see The Departed today but were crushed to find that it wasn’t playing at the greatest theater in all of creation. Why it wasn’t at Arclight I don’t know, and also don’t care. It wasn’t there and that’s all that matters. We are content to go see it at the Vista but the showtimes there weren’t matching with our schedule so we ended up at The Grove to see the film. Two weekday movie tickets at Arclight will set you back $22, at The Grove those tickets cost us $17.50. $4.50 is not much of a difference considering how much of a difference the movie going experience is. Here’s a very incomplete list of things we dealt with at The Grove that we never would have had to deal with at Arclight.

  1. Only one person attending the registers, constantly shouting for people to go buy tickets from the kiosks.
  2. Only one person attending the snack counter.
  3. 10 million strollers blocking half the hallway.
  4. No ice in any of the self serve fountain drink machines, and no one to fill them (see point 2)
  5. Theater that never got completely dark.
  6. Slightly out of focus projection.
  7. 15 minutes of advertising and commercials BEFORE the trailers even started.
  8. 4 phones that rang during the movie.
  9. 3 people (that I could see) checking their phones, and voicemail, throughout the film.

$4.50 prevents all of that. Totally worth it if you ask me.

22 Replies to “What does that extra few bucks at Arclight get you?”

  1. the Grove is very family friendly and if you go during the mornings thats when they have mommy theatre? or something like that where they give special screenings for parents with their newborn kids.

  2. Personally, if the Grove was wiped from the Earth, I wouldn’t miss it. And I wish you people would stop mentioning the Vista. Shhhhhh…. Its supposed to be a secret.

  3. This blog alternately enlightens me, and makes me want to bomb the internets. I’ve learned about events, scenes, bands, art shows, restaurants–piles of stuff that I would never had heard of otherwise, and for that I thank all of you who write here, it can be a great resource. But does anybody really care about some lady who parked too close to Sean’s driveway, or the guy messing with heathervescent’s garbage? Holy narcissism, Batman. It’s like since you have this forum you’ve decided you should use it to bitch about stuff like, oh, how many calls came in to the movies when you were there. Sorry for my first post to be all bitter, but maybe people should save the oh-my-god-there-was-this-guy-at-the-trader-joes-and-he-totally-cut-in-front-of-me posts for their personal blogs. So none of us have to read it.

  4. Sounds like you went to the “Mommy and Me” showing. During these showings they allow strollers and they do not turn the lights all the way down…

  5. the arclight is worth every penny, every time. when I am forced to go to the grove since a movie I want to see is not at the arclight, I usally dread the experience.

    can there be anything more un-cosumer friendly than those stupid automated snack machines?

    1) If you are hungry, go talk to the machine.
    2) good luck getting your money to go in.
    3) come talk to a human after you have spent your money.

    I bought a overpriced bottle of water, and it wasn’t cold. I asked for a cup of ice, and the cup they offered me was big enough for 3 ice cubs. thank you so much!

    arclight forever!

  6. All this hating on the Grove…
    The automated machines rock when the concession lines are too long, but only then.
    As a theatre, the Grove is gorgeous and clean. The crowds may be your typical cel phone talking, Blackberry texting jackasses, but its no worse than at any other multiplex in the city.
    The only thing wrong with the Grove is that it simply isn’t the Arclight.

    By the way, if someone is talking on their phone, you are allowed to toss popcorn/Milkduds/hotdogs, etc. at their heads. Its the law.

  7. i will never understand why everyone loves the arclight and for that matter, amoeba. the arclight is overpriced, and amoeba looks like an old warehouse. i think it’s just cool to say you like them, so everyone does. if they were in another smaller city they would just be another place.

  8. let me get this straight, greg: you don’t like amoeba because it “looks like a warehouse.” brilliant.

  9. The last time my husband and I went to the Grove a father and 3 boys sat behind us. All four kept talking talkING TALKING!!. We began with glares and then moved to shh’s. After that I said “stop talking”. Then I said it louder. After half an hour of this I turned around and invaded the father’s space by swatting him on the knee with my hand!! I can’t believe I did that! But it worked. They stopped talking but I missed the first part of the movie and felt agitated for the remainder of the film. I can handle (barely) most annoyances at a theater but I cannot abide incessant chatter.

  10. the arclight is overpriced

    How is The Arclight overpriced? There’s a difference between “expensive” and “overpriced.” Sean’s comparing weekday tickets, but that’s not even the best comparison. Evening weekday tickets at The Grave are $11, plus $1 fee if you order them online. Guess how much they are at The Arclight? Um, how about $11. And no fee. Weekends are a similar deal. Movie going is expensive, period.

    The only theather in the city that’s actually affordable and decent is The Vista, but you get what you pay for. Long lines that are poorly managed, no reserved seating, bad concession stand and no customer rewards programs, which are the kind of thing that make The Arclight stand out. I still go to The Vista on occassion, but to claim that the experience is the same as The Arclight, or that The Arclight is just like any other theather, is completely naive.

    Of course, you’re welcome to go stand in line for an hour and battle poor crowd management at The Grave if you want. Just means more space at The Arclight for us adults.

  11. Now if I could just get a woman to swat me while I am at the Arclight….oh man, cinema heaven!!!!!!!

  12. rob,

    did i say that was the only reason i don’t like it? no, i didn’t. did i say you were a douchebag? no, i didn’t. but i am now.

  13. this happens at the arclight also, it happens everywhere you go. You pay more for your food, doesn’t mean that your going to get better service. It is just secretly more expensive so it tricks 10 percent of the movie goers.

  14. well you ALL missed the point….

    “The Departed” SUCKED!!!! realy bad. needs a major snip. Marty’s try at Pulp Fiction.

  15. Bwana, The Departed was Scorsese’s best (and in my opinion, only good) film since Casino. It wasn’t Goodfella’s sharp, but it was a fun stab at a modern day, B movie cops and gangsters epic. My second favorite film of the year so far, after “Little Miss Sunshine”.

  16. If more theaters were like ArcLight, that would help the film industry greatly. You know, right after making better films. (That would probably help, too.)

    Anyway, isn’t it funny that the people who have the money to actually buy the shit in the ads are always paying to have an ad-free experience?

  17. PS: You know that both the ArcLight and The Grove’s theaters are owned by Pacific Theaters, right? That (among other reasons) is why sometimes one gets a film that the other doesn’t. (They are only about 4 miles apart, after all.)

  18. My Arclight Story

    I’m trying not to carry a grudge because it seems like a pretty terrific theater, but my first experience there left a rotten taste in my mouth.

    I saw a movie there, and about five minutes later, in the parking lot, I realized I left my flannel shirt behind, on the back of a seat. I went back to the theater. They let me in to look for my shirt. It was gone. I asked the employee who was still cleaning if he knew where it was. He said, “I asked if this belonged to anybody, and nobody said anything, so I asked if anyone wanted it, and some guy took it.”

    ? ! ? ! ? (WTF?)

    If you find somebody’s belongings left behind in the theater, you don’t give it away like the lovely parting gifts at a gameshow. You give it to the lost and found!

    I complained to management, and they took my name and address, promising to send me a movie pass as compensation. Two tix is just about what the shirt cost, but dammit that’s not the point, it’s the principle of the thing! That old red flannel was a favorite. Just warm enough to keep the arms from getting chilly without being too warm.

    The epilogue: they never did send me the movie passes, despite several follow-up phone calls.

  19. That was a flannel shirt, right? I believe the theatre employee was doing you a favor by giving it away. Unless this was back in 1989.

  20. Actually, the reason that “The Departed” was not showing at the Arclight probably had more to do with the Chinese Theater than with the Grove. If the distributor made a better deal with Mann for the Chinese than it did with Pacific, they would forbid Pacific from showing it at Arclight. They wouldn’t want the competition for the screen at the Chinese.

    Just a thought…

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