It is the best of theaters, it is the worst of theaters.
ArcLight Cinemas opened this past Fall in the Sherman Oaks Galleria. It looks like ArcLight Hollywood. Yet, aside from selecting your own seats and the departure board listing film times in the lobby, it doesn’t do its namesake justice.
I think I’ve given it a fair shake. I sat through I Am Legend as the couple next to me held a two-hour conversation. I avoided eye contact as a woman behind me cackled through previews before The Orphanage. I have been patient and kept my mouth shut with a generation of movie patrons who have gotten accustomed to weekends spent with Blockbuster, Netflix, and TiVo.
Last night, we went to see Atonement. I was lucky enough to sit next to an older woman who asked insightful questions like, “oh, are they all dead?” I don’t know, lady. Rows of bodies. Eyes open. Gunshot wounds to the head. You got me.
I did have plenty of warning before the first preview:
“Can you turn up the music?” the woman yelled to an usher.
“The movie will start in about 2 minutes,” he replied.
“Well, we’ve only been sitting here for 20. It would have been nice to have something to listen to. We ought to get something for paying as much as we do to go to a movie,” she growled back.
She was right, on so many levels.