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12.12.2007by: Jim Law

Top 10 Worst Theatrical Experiences

Great theatrical experiences are far and few between. The costume contest at a midnight screening of HALLOWEEN 4 on Halloween night. Literally sitting on the edge of my seat during the finale of ALIENS and SE7EN. Seeing someone puke during THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. These were all great times. However, the bad times heavily outnumber the great times anymore and has created a personal screening window that I must follow in order to have any chance of enjoying a film. It has to be a matinée preferably during the week so most people are at school or work. I have to sit behind the railing section of the second row next to the aisle so no 7'6'' idiot checking his cell phone every five minutes can sit in front of or beside me. An ice cold Coke is always appreciated so I can have a tasty beverage while scanning the most recent cinema magazine, relaxing after a mandatory half-hour early arrival time. That's how it's supposed to be. This is what usually happens.

10. CHARIOTS OF FIRE (1981)

From what I remember of this movie (nothing) I guess I fell asleep 45 seconds in. Seriously, we sat down, watched a couple previews, started reading the opening credits, and then I woke up by myself as my brother called for me from the back exit. I wish I could go back in time and check my popcorn for Ritalin. Maybe someone shot me with one of those blow dart thingies from the back row. Maybe there was something in those credits that triggered a sleep command from a previous hypnotic state. Maybe I was tired.

9. VAMPIRES (1998)

Twenty minutes in and forty-five cheesy James Woods lines past, somebody pressed mute. If the original volume was set at 10, it was now at 2. Twenty minutes later and nothing had changed. How does nobody in the booth notice this? Numerous trips to the manager proved fruitless. "Hey, the sounds still out." "Is it?" "Uh... yeah." By the time we could hear again all was not lost because Daniel Baldwin had given enough dramatic frowns and head-tilts to tell a story of his own. No idea what was going on in the movie though.

8. LA BAMBA (1987)

Ah, the summer of '87. Primed for high school, I had just started to make a name for myself around the city due to basketball, girls were the new cartoons, and being cool and popular meant nothing more than life itself. So I decided to go catch LA BAMBA by myself. I can't imagine the amount of boredom that had set in at this point in my life. Turns out I knew everybody that worked at this particular theatre, from the ticket girl to the usher. The popcorn girl was so hot I just put my head down and walked right past her. These were the usher's (a future basketball rival from across the city) exact words - "Jimmy Law! Looks like it's just you and Ritchie Valens today." And he was right, I was the only person in the theatre. He must have come in and checked on me a thousand times to make sure I was really that much of a loser.

7. 300 (2006)

Every so often I get invited to a screening in Detroit. I usually pass due to my work schedule and baby related duties but this one was to be special. I rounded up my trusty go-to fanboy (the guy I go to movies with when my wife refuses), Scotty, and headed to the border. We left two hours early and got lost. Not super-lost mind you, we were two or three blocks away at all times, but could never make that one right decision that would get us to our seats. Finally, after sweating through wrong turn after wrong turn, we arrived a few minutes past tip-off time. The ticket girl kind of laughed when I declared myself to her. "There's no more seats." "But I was invited." "No. More. Seats." Heads hung low, we turned and walked towards Canadaland. I'm pretty sure I could hear the crowd, four floors above, cheering for what was surely the greatest film ever made. To make things worse, the representative that invited me said we should have been fine. The screening started late and there were two seats being saved for us.

6. TMNT (2007)

Another screening, another disaster. This time Scotty and I made with plenty of time to spare only to be greeted with a thousand little kids in line with green hair and nunchaku. This theatre was packed. The ushers didn't seem to care either as they threw in kid after kid, seating them on the floor, the stairs, Mommy's lap, it didn't matter. Ten minutes into the screening an elderly obese couple roll in on their matching motorized carts and park them right in the middle of the isle separating the front and back sections of the the theatre. Right in front of a five year old boy and his mother sitting on the floor. The kid, just wanting to see the f*cking Turtles do flips and shit ended up standing through 90% of the film because of this. I missed that same 90% because of insane anger. I couldn't comprehend why these lazy twats thought it was okay to curb their carts in the middle of an aisle. People literally couldn't walk past them to the exit. Too far to physically abuse them, I prayed to my movie god that justice find them in the near future.

5. AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981)

My dad and brother dragged me to see this when I was seven years old. Unlike CHARIOTS OF FIRE, I spent most of this night hiding and plugging my ears due to the relentless horror that filled the screen scene after scene. My father, annoyed to all Hell with me, might as well have put toothpicks in my eyes and duct taped me to the seat. I think I got grounded for being too scared.

4. CHEECH & CHONG'S NEXT MOVIE (1980)

Let me start by saying I was 6 years old at the time of this story and have no memory of it whatsoever. I tell this tale from the mouth of my brother, seven years my elder thus wiser in the ways of the world. Apparently, during a double-bill showing of NEXT MOVIE and UP IN SMOKE I had to go poop. My brother, the loving soul he is, refused to bring me to the bathroom. So, if you've already gotten over the fact that my father would drop off a 6 year old at a Cheech & Chong marathon with a brother that hates him, add this to the scenario - I crapped myself in the theatre. There, I said it. I finished the movie like that. I rode home in my dad's car like that. For all I know, I slept like that. Let us never speak of this again.

3. THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!! I'm not sure exactly when it happed but shortly after Bruce gets shot and he meets the kid, my girlfriend (present wife) turns to me and says "Bruce Willis is dead." A week had passed since the film's opening and all the buzz was about some big twist at the end so I knew she was right. The rest of the movie ruined, the pay-off destroyed. It was like I had already seen the film, waiting to see other people's reactions to what I already know and worse, wait for my girlfriend to say "See, I told you." I haven't talked to her in a theatre since.

2. CAST AWAY (2000)

The one time I couldn't handle someone talking during a movie. This wasn't just talk though, it was having this asshole describe every last detail to his obviously brain-dead wife. She wasn't blind, that was the first thing I checked - just incredibly stupid. No plot devise got by this guy either. See that screen cap above? He turns to his wife and says "Hey Martha, look, four years later." loud enough for half the audience to hear. At one point my wife and three other women sitting in our row were turned around shooting daggers with their eyes. It didn't even phase him. There couldn't have been a worse movie for this to happen during either. There would be 10-20 minutes of on-screen silence while this guy explains he needs fire to keep warm. I was just laughing by the end and patted him on the back on the way while calling him a f*cking asshole.

1. THE EXORCIST: THE VERSION YOU'VE NEVER SEEN (2000)

It was supposed to be one of my greatest theatrical experiences filled with film fanatics like me who wanted to finally watch their favourite horror movie on a giant screen with creepy extras and gloriously enhanced video. It turned out to be everything that's wrong with film goers today. The frat-f*cks beside me wouldn't shut up, the little girls in front of me wouldn't stop giggling every time something scary happened, cell phones went off, people yelled at the screen (smart things too, like "Oh no you didn't!"), conversations the length of entire rows went off without an interruption, and someone farted behind me. This is literally the last time I have ever went to a movie theatre past 5:00 pm. I don't need this shit anymore than the next asshole.

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