Thursday, January 05, 2006

Prepare to be disappointed

From the Landmark Cinema's email circular:
Says Entertainment Weekly: "To call Match Point Woody Allen's comeback would be an understatement - it's the most vital return to form for any director since Robert Altman made The Player." The NY Times agrees: "Mr. Allen's bite has never been so sharp, or so deep. A movie this good is no laughing matter."
I can only pray it's actually good. But I hate the way the critics are getting my expectations so high. Anything short of another Manhattan will be sure to disappoint.

If I don't get home too late tonight, I'll add a little anecdote about Woody Allen films and working at the movie theater. (Oh, maybe you didn't know I worked at a movie theater in Seattle for about a year after college. Big surprise, right?)

Update: The movie theater story.

Unlike most people, I got a job working at a movie theater during my last quarter in college. I stayed in the job for about a year after I graduated. We were a grab-bag group. Most people were in college or were 'taking time off.' All of the 'older' people had day jobs, including one fellow in his early 30's who was an architect. I had a day job, too, driving a van. There was a brief time where I actually shuttled between three jobs, but that was too crazy for me, so I cut back to two.

I only got the job because my friend Amanda had worked there. I went by and asked for an application. They hesitantly gave me one. Then I said, "Oh, Amanda said I should apply."

"You know Amanda? Come on in!" The manager practically hired me on the spot.

For some reason, our theater (The Varsity on University Way, for those of you who know Seattle), had an exclusive on Woody Allen films for the first couple weeks of a run. We would often get lines down the block. Not because the film were great, but because we were the only place in the city limits showing it. Apparently, this was a marking strategy that Mr. Allen himself insisted on, but that was just a rumor.

The Varsity had a small, rarely used espresso maker. It would get a healthy work out when an Allen film opened. It was amusing how the concession buying habits of the customers varied by the type of film we showed. The Woody Allen customers wanted their espresso and chocolate almonds and fresh cookies. They were not so interested in extra large bags of buttered popcorn and soda pop.

About a month after I started working at the movie theater, a new health code requirement forced us to get rid of the espresso machine (it had to do with the milk preparation, which constituted 'cooking' and we couldn't 'cook' without the right kind of sink system). The next time we showed a Woody Allen film, the customers ordered espresso without even looking at the board. I would say, "I'm sorry, we don't have espresso. Would you like a cup of regular coffee?"

"You had espresso the last time I was here."

"I'm sure we did, but we're no longer allowed to serve it."

"Why not?"

"It has to do with a new health code regulation. We do have regular coffee."

"I really wanted espresso. I don't understand why you have regular coffee and no espresso."

"If you really want espresso, you can get some at the shop down at the corner and bring it in. Just don't be too obvious about it and we won't say anything."

"But I don't want to go out again!"

"Are you sure you wouldn't like a cup of regular coffee?"

Those Woody Allen people were such babies. I'd have to spend five minutes explaining that we didn't have espresso while the line backed up across our tiny lobby. Sometimes they would complain that they'd had trouble parking or ask us why the movie wasn't showing anywhere else, as though we had any say in that. I've never said "I just work here" more often. It was as if they thought that minimum wage employees at a movie theater controlled distribution, parking and concession prices. Yes, we do. We're all powerful that way. And we've done our best to ruin your evening. So there.

Grateful for: the movie theater.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments will be rejected. You don't have to use your real name, just A name. No URL is required; enter your name and leave the 'url' line blank. Thank you.