Saturday, December 6, 2008

Why I love the local Regal Cineplex

1) Last year, after watching Grindhouse late one Thursday night, I walked out the cineplex to find my Honda Accord had been stolen. In a display of sympathy, the manager gave me several free tickets and pointed out that that kind of theft occurs quite often, so they always have a police presence in the parking lot on Friday and Saturday nights. Funny how I learned that after the theft. My car was never recovered, and now I'm always careful to park in a place where someone in a ticket booth can see the vehicle.

2) One afternoon, this past summer, I saw the saddest thing--a dozen local middle management guys walking out after seeing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, all of them wearing plastic fedora-like Indiana Jones hats as they returned in a manly fashion to the plant across the street.

3) Every time I visit, I like to check out the posters in the lobby, but the advertising barrage is omnipresent. You hear ads as you walk up to the building, and in the bathroom. Ads appear on flat TVs in the lobby, and you can no longer sit and talk quietly with your friend in the theater before the movie starts, because Coca-cola, the Gap, Sprint, the National Guard, and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital all have urgent appeals for our attention. I can remember when theaters used to just play radio songs under mood lighting with the curtain closed. Even the later local ads in slide show format had a certain cheesy charm. Now we get macho propagandistic videos conveying how cool it is to take orders in the military.

4) Lastly, thanks to my Regal Crown Club card, I sometimes get a ticket or food free. Yesterday I went to get the Free Small Popcorn, by using a voucher, but the employee at the concession stand said that I would have to pay a dollar because the reward had expired on Dec. 3, 2008 (according the fine print). I told the employee that the corporate management is composed of a bunch of weasels. Could he tell his manager that? He said yes, he would.

5) Perhaps I was just being peevish. Viewed objectively, I overreacted to this last bait and switch, but it felt like the last straw after years of indignities in an atmosphere of co-opted consciousness and corporate control.

8 comments:

Keith said...

1.00 for a small popcorn? That's so much less than the regular price, it might as well be free. I'm surprised they even let you do that, though. I wonder if all expired coupons can be used for such a discount?

FilmDr said...

Keith,

The "free" bags are very small. I don't know about other expired vouchers. Certainly, the popcorn business does not make for a very heavy-duty conclusion (I should've ended with the car theft). I was just fed up with Regal, and this dear blog gives me a place to vent.

Dead Pan said...

I totally agree. I actually worked at the Regal Cinemas last year around this time. I needed a little extra cash and wanted to get into movies for free, so I started working as an usher.

I always thought the crown club card was a nice addition, but the other things you mention(i.e. constant ad's everywhere) I completely agree with. My main beef is with the National Guard ads. Not only are the propaghanda to the highest degree but couldn't they at least choose a better variety of music to accompany their lame ad's trying to show how "cool" it is to be in the military. I think the ads to an injustice to those who are fighting in the military.

The car theft thing is pretty ridiculous.

I actually ended up getting fired. I had it pretty nice for awhile. I worked a lot over the Christmas holiday because that is a huge time for movies, even Christmas day. but after that I asked to only work sunday nights. Eventually they stopped scheduling me at all, but I was still employed there. So I was able to go for months without working but reaping the free movie benefits. It wasn't until Easter, when I was out of town, they called me telling me I was scheduled that day(I had stopped checking my schedule after like 2 months) and since I couldn't possibly show up they fired me right away.

I still like it somewhat because we only have one independent theatre, and it's 40 minutes away from me while the Regal is 10, and they normally have one of two small indie films playing that none of the other cineplex's have. Currently they have Nobel Son.

Anyways, thanks for the rant, It was worth a good laugh, but also tragic. hehe.

FilmDr said...

Thanks, Shawn. I guess that I get more sensitive to environments all of the time, and there's no reason why Regal has to have the entire place commercially compromised.

I also find myself brooding on those well-lit, Mtv-redux military ads. At the end of the recent one, the soldier looks on after saving the poor villager from the battle, and what does he look like? The noble lunkhead.

MovieMan0283 said...

As the theater I grew up attending closes down, I will soon by left with no choice but Regal. I will miss the quiet radio music over local ads, which the soon-to-be-closed theater still uses before the show. Will we someday be nostalgic for overblown MTV ads before the movie? What new atrocity could push us in this direction? The mind boggles.

FilmDr said...

That's a good question,Movieman. Massive screens on the exterior of the building? Chemical "butter" sludge as IV drip? They still haven't figured out how to wire the ads into our brains.

OKonheim said...

the guys were wearing baseball caps that said indiana jones or fedoras?

why is that sad? i think thats kind of cool

FilmDr said...

OKonheim,

They were wearing fedoras, and it just seemed like they were assuming a brief tough-guy masculinity before returning to their worker drone lives. After all, Indiana Jones maintains his cool by being the only one who dresses like he does. Imagine Harrison Ford with a bunch of lookalikes?