Saturday, August 11, 2018

Tales of the AMC Stadium Seven, and the Afternoon Matinee That Almost Wasn't.

Hurry, hurry, hurry, ladies and gents, boils and ghouls, and movie freaks of all ages, gather around and listen to my latest tale of chaos and calamity concerning the Three Ring Circus that is the AMC Stadium Seven, my disaster prone hometown movie theater.

There I was, itching to catch a matinee of Mission Impossible: Fall Out (2018) and, by some miracle, I had awoken from the Odinsleep in time to feed, med-up, and clean-up to catch the 1:10 matinee before reporting for my four to midnight shift at the paper. Arriving at the mall at 1pm on the dot, I get in line for a ticket. About five people deep. Plenty of time, right? Well, Bert the Turtle was taking tickets -- and if you frequent the Stadium Seven, you know EXACTLY who I’m talking about. And when I finally get to the front, some older lady and her gaggle of grandkids decides to cut right in front of me and waves her phone at Bert. Who summarily ignores me to deal with her and her brood and her phone. I’m guessing she bought tickets online, which, apparently, gave her carte blanche to move to the front of the line. (And the next time some old coot tells you millennials are entitled brats…) Whatever. Thankfully, there were no glitches, she got her tickets for Christopher Robin (2018) and moved on. Then, I got my ticket and Bert says my movie will be playing in Theater #7. Still with me? Great. Because this is when things get a little nuts.

And so, I enter the maze and head for Theater #7. But hanging above the door of the theater is an illuminated placard for The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018), and right next door, above the entrance of Theater #6, is a placard for Fallout. Thinking the wily Bert was trying to trick me, I check my ticket stub, which, indeed, says Theater #7. The door of which is open, with five minutes to showtime, but the theater is already pitch black. (Further deduction deduces that with this being the first screening of the day, no one had bothered to turn the lights on in ANY theater. No safety lights. Nada.) So, a little confused, I head into the dark and empty theater except for two gals sitting way up in the corner, sitting in the warm glow of Maria Menounos shilling for something. What I don’t see are the four to five gents who were in line in front of me, who all bought tickets to see the same movie I was.

And so, I decide to duck back out and check with Bert at the ticket line to make sure I’ve got the right theater. He’s swamped. So never mind on that. Thus, I return to Theater #7, still empty except for the two gals. Begging pardon first, I ask if they’re here to see Mission Impossible. Nope; they’re here to see The Spy Who Dumped Me. One snootily telling me there’s a sign above the door, duh-doi. And what was I, stupid? To which I replied I saw that but my ticket says Theater #7 and the idiot at the box office told me my movie was in Theater #7. So, forgive me if I think my movie will be playing in Theater #7. Then again, this is the AMC Stadium Seven we’re dealing with.

OK, then, so, I abandon Theater #7 and enter Theater #6, which, if you remember, says it's showing my movie, which is also dark, the previews are playing, and I spot two of the guys who also bought tix for Fallout. And so, I take a seat but grow instantly wary due to the animated and juvenile trailers we are being shown. And when they finally wrap up, sure enough, when the movie proper spooled up, I was greeted with the opening scene of the latest Hotel Transylvania movie.

OFFS, said I, and vacated the theater -- along with everyone else who was in there, mind you. And as we reach the lobby, I got to witness a mass exodus from every single theater, all seven, just as one of the assistant managers pops out an employee’s only door, eyes wide as she takes in this nonplussed crowd of instant cinema refugees, and gets an earful from a father and his trailing kinder, who was very upset by the adult R-rated red-band trailers his kids just watched, thinking they were about to see Hotel Transylvania 3 (2018) only he wound up in the theater which, by process of elimination, was actually showing The Spy Who Dumped Me -- which, I will point out, was NOT showing in Theater #7. The signage was wrong on every theater. No one trusted their tickets, or Bert. Obviously, they’d all been here before, explaining why, oh yeah, we were all in the wrong theater.

And so, cackling all the way, I return to Theater #7 along with everyone else who was in Theater #6. Inside, I see those two gals are long gone and take a seat just as the trailers end and the commercial for the snack bar shows up, signaling the movie is about to start. Then, that assistant manager walks in and shouts, asking if we were all in here to see Mission Impossible. And from the darkness, she got her answer: “I sure as hell hope so!?!"

Yeah. That was me. And the moral of this story kids, as the movie ended, which was pretty great, and vacated the auditorium, I stopped to check the sign over the door of Theater #7 one last time, which now read: Now showing Hotel Transylvania 3. Sorry I ever doubted you, Bert. The Stadium Seven, folks. Give it up for the Stadium Seven. 


Unknown said...

The place sucks. Most monopolies do.

W.B. Kelso said...

The sad thing is, they've actually gotten better since they switched to digital. The horror tales I could tell when they tried to project film. There have been rumors that they were gonna refurbish the place, new seats, but then that died. And then the rumor was they were waiting for the Sears to close so they could expand and take over that whole end of the mall. Only Sears won't go. And with audience attendance plummeting everywhere, I have no faith in any of this. And so, we're kinda stuck with this terrible venue. Always an adventure at the Stadium 7.

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