Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Never again, Promenade

Friday The Beefcake and I rolled down to Venice and had lunch, then drove up to Santa Monica to have dinner and Where the Wild Things Are on the Promenade. Big mistake.

The movie was perfectly awesome. There were tears, and The Beefcake and I spent a good deal of our post-movie time discussing the allegorical elements.

No, it was not a mistake to see this brilliant film. It was a mistake to go to the Promenade.

Over the past few years, I have only seen theater releases in two places: The Arclight and The Grove. For those of you who don't know LA, The Arclight is a theater where you have assigned seating and no commercials and generally there are very few kids in the audience. The Grove is part of an upscale outdoor shopping mall where you get the occasional kid in the theater, but usually they're accompanied by an adult, usually an LA resident, and generally the kids are few at night. These are also theaters frequented by Industry people, so there's a lot of respect for the art of film and people generally stay through the credits.

The Promenade is a major tourist attraction in Santa Monica. Lots of shops and restaurants, and it's within walking distance of several beach front hotels and the pier you see in every movie ever about LA. You know, the one with the ferris wheel.

The Promenade is a place where Daddy drops his kids off with a credit card and a pick-up time. We forgot all this before we went to see the movie. The kids movie. With oversize puppets.

There were children everywhere. Loud, unaccompanied children. After the previews started, a group of about 8 or 9 teenagers stomped in waving their bags and giggling and playing musical chairs across two rows for like ten minutes. Then they talked. They talked to each other for the entire first act.

I turned around and Teacher Glared. I shushed. They barely acknowledged my existence. Then about halfway through the film the kids in the back row decided it would be fun to push and tickle the kids in the row in front of them. The tickled and pushed kids giggled and pushed back.

This is what I wanted to say: "Hey, you see this big guy here next to me? In a minute I'm going to rip your trachea out of your neck and beat you to death with it, and he won't lift a finger to stop me."

This is what I said: "Shut the fuck up."

I combined it with Teacher Glare. Not a peep out of those kids after that. I can be very intimidating even without beaten-to-death-with-your-own-trachea fear.

Meanwhile, as I am becoming increasingly aggravated by the giggly children behind me, the cell phones pop out all over the theater.

Hey, people who like to look at their cell phones during the movie, stop it. It's not only annoying to the people directly around and behind you, it's also extremely aggravating to the people all the way at the back of the fucking theater who can see it but aren't close enough to say something to you about it.

So if the person in front of you is annoying you with their cell phone, they're probably annoying everyone behind you. Don't be afraid to say something. You have the support of the entire theater.

At one point a woman had some kind of exciting and funny text, so she passed her giant phone with the huge blue screen to her friend, who also read this hilarious text and then passed the giant blue screen to the person in front of them, who read it and passed it back, at which point the original lady read it some more then responded, then left her phone open while she waited for the next message. Altogether her phone was probably open and glowing for ten minutes. I was easily 15 rows behind her and 8 rows to her left but I saw all of this very clearly.

As she was doing this, some guy on our side of the theater kept opening his phone and texting every few seconds.

THIS IS ANNOYING. If it's that important to you, leave the theater. If you want to text and watch the movie, wait until it comes out on DVD and do it at home.

I will never, ever go to the Promenade for a movie again. Or if I do, I'm leaving with blood on my hands.


  1. Anonymous10:43 AM

    I was dragged to this movie.
    This is not a movie.
    See Bright Star instead.
    And take the kids to see GI Joe instead. And it's difficult being a father or a mother. Actually very hard.
    Screenwriting is easy, parenthood is hard.

  2. Anonymous:

    I kind of want to kick the shit out of you.

  3. Anonymous12:47 PM

    Never again, Promenade.
    Would never go there. Too busy and its like the twilight zone.
    I say yes to your blog.
    Some people bring
    their the whole family to
    a "guns and roses" concert for example. Saw the KISS concert, these parents were crazy, it was like family get together. I think it's the same thing in the movie theatres, what's happening nowadays.

  4. @ Anonymous: I'll confess I have not seen Where the Wild Things Are. I don't know if it is any good or not. Either way, frankly, it's moot. But I do know it's a movie. Here's how I know:

    1. It's not a stage production.

    2. It's either shot on film or digital.

    3. It's being shown at what many people call movie theaters.

    Now I know this is very simplistic and in no way compares to being a parent--though how difficult can it be really since parenthood has being around since the very beginning of humankind (and, umm... nature, too) and movies have such a difficult time getting made. Try it sometime, it's a hellova lot more difficult than sticking your dick in some female and creating a baby. For instance, as a general rule, there's just the two of you during this act. In movie making, there are countless individuals working to get a movie made. It's a real bitch sometimes, not unlike some parents I've met.

    So, before you put down the movie business--that thing that that entertains you and your children--give us just a little credit for how really difficult it is to do our jobs.

    Cya at the movies and do us favor when you're there, keep your screaming kid quiet so everybody can loathe or love what they're watching and we'll be a little more happier with the experience.

  5. The problems of the Promenade permeate the population like a pestilence upon the planet, Emily.

    All alliteration aside, it is this very element of humanoid behavior, that of the utter lack of respect for what's on the screen (not to mention those around them) that has driven me from the multiplexes forever.

    And boy, I'd sure love to see "Where the Wild Things Are" but home video it will be, I'm afraid.

  6. Anonymous5:17 PM


    I see your point of view but...

    Met some successful directors, producers and screenwriters who are addicted to parenthood and they told me that parenthood comes first and it's much more demanding than film-making.

    The imperfection of life via parenthood is what made them get in the movie business. It's the stress of parenthood that made them write their masterpiece screenplay. It is the stress of tight family deadlines that made them finish a film on time.

    In conclusion

    It is because they married their pretty girlfriend....

    It is because they had children...

    It is because they refuse to drugs and booze to ease the pain...

    They embraced adapted to the stress...

    I went to see the Harry Potter movie, all the kids there were talking during the movie. It's a new generation to shine, it's an entertainment culture that belongs to them...

    And I recall seeing SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, we were all talking and cheering and dancing in our seats...and of my Italian disco friends could not stop taking because they were happy....

    All the best,

  7. Trachea, endocrine system, I'm down with all of it.

  8. Anonymous, I really hope I don't have to teach your kids because I bet they're holy terrors.

    Good points, everybody else.

  9. I. Cannot. STAND. rude moviegoes.

    Especially the cell phone bullshit. Put it away for 2 hours. Jesus.

  10. Anonymous11:49 AM

    I don't know if you live anywhere close to it, but try out the Landmark at the Westside Pavillion sometime if you can. It's a movie-lovers dream -- comfy, reclining chairs, stadium seating, some lounge seating, assigned seating, and you're generally surround by other considerate movie lovers. Of course it's probably more than half are smaller films, but they do put in a fair amount of major theatrical releases. I saw Star Trek there and it was great.

  11. I may have been there, but I'm not sure.

    You had me at "comfy chairs".

  12. The Landmark is good, but the Arclight is still my favorite. Well, that and the Vista, a terrific single-screen house over in Silverlake that is well-run, the people who go are usually respectful of others and the back half of the auditorium has a massive amount of leg room between rows. I couldn't recommend it more highly. Go over there some weekend to check it out. Where The Wild Things Are is showing now but they'll get something else soon enough, they always do.

  13. I have a feeling you've been to every theater in town, Peel. Your recommendation is definitely worth something.

  14. Saw it at the Landmark. A girl in front of us got up and came back three times, answered text messages throughout. Otherwise, solid crowd.

    But it was opening night. Gotta roll with the punches.

    Good flick, though. Arrrooooooooooooo

  15. Merriweather4:47 AM

    When I was a kid, my dad took my brother and I to see a movie. After some sort of drama between my brother and I, which I got blamed for, my Dad took us outside, and threatened to make make us wait and apologize to everyone as they left for interrupting the movie and interfering with their enjoyment of said movie. Needless to say, my brother and I STFU.

    A tad strict? Perhaps. But we learned courtesy in my house.

    In NYC if one wants to enjoy a movie, it is best to go to the first showing in the AM. And make sure the theater is not in Times Square.

    To Anon #1: You're probably one of the people whose children need to be spanked.

  16. I refuse to put up with this shit.

    People are so fucking annoying.

    Heaven't seen a movie in a theater in yrs. We are very happy staying home & watching DVDs from our comfy chairs with no one to bother us but our dogs.


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