Stupid ArcLight 3

Okay, I have to rail against one of the more beloved institutions here in Los Angeles: The ArcLight Theater on Sunset.

I went and saw two movies there tonight, Stander and Open Water. The timing of the movies was such that the group of us who got out of work at a reasonable time could make both, and everyone could make Open Water (which more people wanted to see anyway.

I hadn’t been to the ArcLight since right after I moved here, and now I remember why.

First of all, a friday night movie there costs FOURTEEN GODDAMN DOLLARS. I still think nine bucks is highway robbery, but fourteen bucks for a movie is just fucking obscene. I should have just waited and bought the goddamn DVDs of these films.

Second of all, a couple of the people who came with me knew someone that worked there and got their tickets through him, and I went early to go get my ticket.

What foiled this plan? Reserved Seating. At a movie theater. So we ended up having to go through this elaborate ticket-exchanging charade in order to even sit near each other.

And nobody in the group going remembered either of these things (price or reserved seating). If they had, I probably would have bailed immediately.

But then I would have missed the unbearably pretentious movie-introduction spiel from the cinema employees. They quoted reviews, they touted the ArcLight’s stringent sound and picture standards.

They got applause for this.

I will admit, the sound and picture were of noticeably better quality than at my friendly local shitbox in Marina del Rey, but at least there I can get a movie for less than the price of dinner.

Oh, and as for the quality of the movies: Open Water wasn’t as scary as it should be (at least not to me, my friend Liz almost tore my arm off from gripping it so tightly), and Stander couldn’t decide if it was a heist film or a political film, and it ended up sucking at both.

3 thoughts on “Stupid ArcLight

  1. Reply Nate Pence Aug 16,2004 6:59 am

    Pretty much Arclight is the only theatre I will go to, and much of that is dues to the reserved seating. You can decide to go whenever you want, buy your tickets online (for no extra fees), print the tickets at home, and show up 5 minutes before the movie starts and not have to worry about whether you’ll have a good seat or not. You already reserved yours. Ellen, I suspect you’re not mad at the idea of reserved seats, you’re just mad you didn’t know about it before you got your seats in two separate parties.

    The Arclight is by far the cleanest movie theatre I’ve ever been to. It was so nice, the first time I went I took my shoes off. It’s all stadium seating. The theatre is also almost universally free of people talking, making noise, or leaving cell phones on during the movie. I have a feeling the high ticket price has something to do with both these things. Only big movie fans go.


  2. Reply Nate Pence Aug 16,2004 7:00 am


    Finally, the Arclight has great events for members. For example, they have a series of films showing one of AFI’s top 100 films each month. A while back Liz and I went to see “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” projected from Milos Forman’s personal 35mm print. They have special screenings of more obscure films where members get a slightly reduced price, and screenings combines with lectures combines with writers, producers, directors, or actors. And, the Arclight has special Alcy-movies (I don’t remember what they’re really called) which you can drink at. Not to mention that they have the huge Cinerama Dome and sometimes surprise guests, like the writer/director of “Saved” when I went to see it opening night. All this in addition to members earning points for every ticket and food item purchased there good toward free movies.

    The Arclight has become my favorite theatre in LA. I’ll pay the extra premium for what I get.

  3. Reply Ellen Aug 16,2004 7:08 am

    And I’ll continue dragging my broke ass to Marina del Rey to save 5 bucks :)

    I don’t buy food at movie theaters so the rewards don’t mean much to me. And people don’t talk in the theaters I go to (and if they try to answer their cellphones, even in Santa Monica they get the smackdown). The theaters I go to are mostly stadium-seated and clean…only one is kind of bleh and in need of renovation.

    The special programming is cool, but anyone can get a ticket to it if they want to. But I wasn’t talking about special programming. I was talking about a regular Friday night movie.

    I agree, I’d probably be less pissed about the reserved seating thing if I had known about it in advance, but I still think it’s kind of silly. I think half the fun of going to the movies with your friends is getting there early to get good seats, then having half an hour to bullshit. The reserved seats thing takes all the fun out of it.

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