Friday, April 25, 2008


Hollywood Assistants like the Arclight. One of the main problems with today’s movie theaters is that they are usually found in malls. Now don’t get me wrong, I love malls. I grew up in suburbia and the mall was like my drug of choice all throughout adolescence (who needed beer when you could drink a delicious milkshake at Johnny Rockets?). To this day I still enjoy walking into a mall, smelling that weird mall smell and seeing like a bajillion baby carriages as well as little kids having scary temper tantrums. And while it’s totally fine to deal with that stuff when you just want to buy some flip flops at Old Navy it is the main reason why I don’t want to see a movie at a mall. Sure, it’s like killing two birds with one stone: see the latest Jackie Chan flick and then get your ears pierced at the Icing, but is it really a truly enjoyable experience? Parking alone makes me want to rip my eyes out and turn around and go home and just watch an America’s Next Top Model Marathon. Don’t even get my started on a mall during Christmas time. And that, my friends, is why Hollywood Assistants like the Arclight.

It’s fair to say the Arclight is the nicest movie theater in Los Angeles. I’d even go so far to say the world. And maybe even the galaxy. The Arclight is unlike any other movie going experience. For starters, it has assigned seating! Can you freaking believe that? It’s only taken like one hundred years for movie theaters to realize that you could actually assign seats to people going to see a show (unlike live theater which has had that under control for six hundred years already but whatever). The best part of assigned seating is that if you buy your tickets in advance you can just show up to the theater like two minutes before the movie starts. No hassle, no worries of getting a sore neck or going blind from sitting in the front row. Though if you are too late to the movie they won’t let you in. Which is another reason why I love the Arclight so much. There’s nothing I hate more than having some asshole show up to a movie five minutes late. It’s seriously distracting to me. I stare at them and concentrate of when they're going to go. Are they going to sit near me? Will I have to move? Am I going to miss a pivotal scene and thus be totally lost for the rest of the movie if they walk past me? Ugh, it’s seriously frustrating and makes me totally lose focus. I should be focusing on Cameron Diaz! Not some tardy jerk. But luckily at the Arclight if you show up late then too bad for you. It’s like an airplane. You missed your boarding call, well too bad. The airplane is closed shut and you’re just going to have to go standby for the next one. Suck on that, slow pokes.

Another great thing about the Arclight is the people who work there. Everyone wears a badge with their name printed on it along with their favorite movie. Just the thought of wearing the name of my favorite movie pinned onto my shirt stresses me out and makes me really reevaluate my life. What movie would I put on there? Would I go with a classic? Or some teen comedy that I can recite by heart? Oh, the choices. I’m not going to lie but I totally judge the guy selling me popcorn based on his favorite movie. I like the people who are the most honest best. In my opinion it’s so much cooler to say your favorite movie is Dumb and Dumber rather than The Battleship Potempkin (so pretentious). Another thing I like about the staff is that before each movie one of them comes out and introduces themselves. They give you some information about the film you are about to enjoy (good for those who have gone into the wrong theater!) and tell you they will be standing to the side to make sure that the sound and picture is to the highest standard (like our very own flight attendants!). It's beyond crazy. It's like "seriously? You’re going to do that? Just for us? Wow. Can you get me a pillow while you're at it?" That is first class service if I’ve ever seen it. And it really comes in handy too. Like the time I went to see No Country for Old Men and Fred Claus accidentally began playing. We just called out for our new friend Steve and he fixed it right away. Goodbye Vince, hello Javier!

The Arclight really is one of the greatest places in Los Angeles. Sure, it costs a fortune but it’s worth it. Really, really worth it. The only downfall is after going to the Arclight you get spoiled. This really is a one of a kind movie going experience. The thought of having to go to a theater early and find seats and then worry that some loser is going to stumble in late and you're going to miss the funniest joke of the whole movie is horrifying. And what if god forbid the picture is off and the sound is distorted? Where's Steve when you need him?? I need Steve! So that’s why if I have a choice I’m always going to go to the Arclight. Even if there’s nothing good playing there I’ll still go; that’s how I can explain seeing such movies like Mad Money and Martian Child. Though the 21+ screenings (where you can actually bring alcohol from the bar into the theater) helps with the pain of seeing a really bad movie. And let's face it, one day we hope to see one of our own movies in the Dome at the Arclight. One day, fellow assistants, one day.

6360 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
COST: $11-$14 based on the day and time (but worth every single penny!)


Jesse Porter said...

Why the Arclight is the worst movie theater in town, the world, any maybe even the galaxy:

1. The prices. I remember my first date, in seventh grade (1996, not that long ago). We saw Toy Story, and it cost $10. For both of us. The fact that I am now paying $10 plus for a single ticket at most theaters is odious enough. That is MUCH more than the rate of inflation. But you can't do anything about it... every theater charges $10 or $10.50 per ticket. It's like the price of gas -- what can you do? However, for the Arclight to charge an extra three dollars above that is just completely arrogant and inexcusable. It's like there's one gas station (with "assigned pumps" or something) that charges $4.75 a gallon for regular. Sorry Arclight, the going rate at malls is intolerable enough. I'm not paying more for needless frills.

2. The assigned seating. Seriously? I show up ten minutes early (plenty of time, lets be honest), and some idiots who aren't even there yet have bought all the good seats down the middle? Oh really, they came earlier, bought their tickets, and then went to dinner or something? They've got that kind of time? I call shenanigans. I say if you want a primo middle seat, you buy it and then you sit in it until the movie starts. Ten minutes early should be enough time to guarantee the best seat in the house. Oh wait, no, it got bought by Rodrigo, and he's still finishing up his sushi somewhere... he'll show up a minute before the movie starts and glide into that perfect seat that I'm salivating over. I don't think so.

3. If you are late to a movie, they won't let you in. This has never happened to anyone? You're picking up your date, and she takes a little longer getting ready than you had budgeted for? You're planning to see a film by yourself after work (it's ok, we all do it), and you have to stay a little later than you thought? You roll up to the theater on time, but you can't find good parking? You're stuck behind a family on the line, and they've got a bunch of coupons and gift certificates? Seriously... who hasn't walked into a movie two or three minutes in? I can't count on two hands the amount of movies I've had to put on the Netflix queue in the last few years because I've missed the beginning. Sometimes it's unavoidable! How dare they tell me I can't enter? That doesn't even happen at much more expensive events, like live sports, or even live theater. You're late, it's ok, these things happen, c'mon in. Who does the Arclight think they are?

4. They're imperialist. The Arclight octupus just took over the cinema at the Galleria in Sherman Oaks, which is my local theater. That's just too much for me to bear. The Galleria's theater was perfectly fine! Street parking was easy if you knew where to look, prices were high but no more so than in other malls, and seating was awesome and stadium-style. Now we've got inflated prices, oppressive seating, and draconian deadlines or you miss your film. Goddamn it, Arclight. Stay in your priviliged little enclave down in Hollywood and leave the rest of our normal theaters alone. You're not wanted here.

Good post, thanks---


Mika said...

Jesse, I feel your pain. However....

1. The prices are higher, yes. Arclight does not play any lame commercials for Dawn dish soap or Ford Trucks, only movie previews. I actually stopped going to movie theaters when they started playing commercials, and can now resume my movie-going experience at Arclight. However, no commercials means less profit for them, hence higher ticket prices.

2. You can't sit in the seat you like? It's called reservations, and anything decent has them. Would you rather fly Southwest? Buy the tickets ahead of time, takes about two minutes, seriously. It's not that hard! If you have the time to stake out your seat you can go online and you shouldn't be worried about late seating. :)

3. Late seating. It is really distracting, face it. Arclight allows you to enter up to 10 minutes after the movie time starts-- 5 minutes to buy your ticket (which you can do via computer kiosks if lines at box office suck) and another 5 to find your theater. And if there's no managers or security around, the ticket taker is usually even forgiving on that. With no lame commercials there's only 5-8 minutes of previews, so yes the movie has started I don't care how much you argue that it hasn't. And just because you have the luxury of ordering movies on Netflix to rewatch because you were late to a movie doesn't mean I have the time to watch a movie a second time I've already paid to see because you were late and distracted me/blocked my sight while the beginning of the movie was going.

4. Arclight Octopus? Really? There are TWO Arclights in existence in the entire Universe. Two. They have nothing to do with the street parking or parking structures at either location, and the seating is still stadium style but now with wider seats and with armrests that are double-wide and raise up for cuddling. And yes Arclight Sherman Oaks hears a lot of the bs from customers when they come late or are kicked out because they can't keep their paws off their cell phones during the film. Arclight is better than your average theater and makes no apologies for it!