Monday, June 09, 2008

Majestic Theatergoers Manage to Top Themselves (Literally?)

How's the saying go? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me repeatedly…

Why do I keep subjecting myself to the potential annoyance that is the movie viewing experience at the Majestic – which now amazingly costs over $10 per ticket? I guess the convenience of the location continues to trump the risk.

So I go to see the 9:45 show of Iron Man on Saturday night, thinking that maybe since it's been out long enough, the kiddies have already seen it. When I first entered the theater I scanned the audience and was relieved to see that it was a predominately adult audience. After I sit down, however, I see a family come in with their three kids – one of whom must be no older than four…at a 9:45 show, mind you. But hey, if you want to take your kids to a late movie, then I guess that's your right, provided you make sure they keep their pieholes shut while I watch two dudes in power armor battle it out. At least it wasn't an R-rated movie. I've seen plenty of kids - babies even - at those over the years.

But those kids ended up being quiet, unlike the kids that came in immediately after them. The group of six or so kids didn't find seats that next to each other, so some of them sat across the isle from me while the remainder sat a few rows up. The fact that they weren't seated adjacent to one another didn't prevent them from carrying on a conversation. This spacial impediment to communication can clearly be overcome by yelling loud enough. They also carried on conversations at full volume with those seated directly next to them (in between cellphone calls).

What they really need at the Majestic (in addition to wireless alert devices and cellphone jammers, of course) is ushers in each theater armed with tasers and the authority to use them. I'd be willing to pay an extra $5 per ticket for that.

Of course, this is nothing compared to what one commenter claims to have witnessed at a weekend showing of Sex And The City. At that show, two kids were actually having sex in the theater before the movie and had to be expelled (and hopefully tased) by the police. I don't know which is more surprising – that they thought they could get away with this or that someone actually did something about it.


Messiah said...

Saw "The Strangers" there on Saturday night. Yet for once, the audible commentary was somewhat welcome, as it alleviated the tension to a comfortable level. Plus, two heartening signs: (1) a mother with a 4 & 8 year old came in half-way but then left within two minutes, telling the 8 year old that it was too scary; and (2) an usher came in half-way through to check tickets and kick out several people who were standing in the aisles.

Between kicking out people idling in the aisles after the movie's started and those having sex in the theater seats, it seems the Majestic has finally approved a list of unacceptable behaviors.

It seems that problem patrons could be halved if they could prevent people sneaking in for a double (or triple?) feature. Could they check tickets on a rotating basis at the individual theaters? Could they ever make that cost effective?

Anonymous said...

I saw Sex and the City at The Majestic this weekend, and every time Mr. Big or some other guy committed a wrongdoing, the theater turned into a Jerry Springer Studio Audience ("Ohhh noooo he di-int!!!")

Sligo said...

At least for me, that might actually make seeing it bearable!

Brent said...

Oh, don't be such a drama queen! Just ask the kids to shut up. I have done this dozens of times (at the Majestic and elsewhere) with complete satisfaction. Just sitting there fuming is bad for your blood pressure and doesn't let the kids know their behavior is not ok (they should know this, but who knows what kind of behaviors their parents showed them?).

Now if we could just convince the Majestic to show more movies that aren't complete crap...well, then we would be on to something!

Sligo said...

My wife did say "shhhhhhhhhhh!" but then they just got all indignant and said "don't shush me!" and kept right on talking. You assume they give a crap.

74editrix said...

Likewise, in our experience, politely asking them to be quiet only makes them act out/up even more. These folks don't buy into the social contract that expects quiet in movie theaters. They don't care if the behavior is not okay for us; it's okay for them, and there is no incentive to change.

Like Sligo, we've just stopped going to the Majestic until the company figures out some policies and enforcement options to make it a bearable experience again.

Springvale Roader said...

The Majestic is horrible. I stopped going there on principle since management (local and national) doesn't give a damn about complaints; as long as they fill their seats, the audience can scream its head off for all they care.

I used to ask the anti-social mouth breathers to be quiet, but it was an exercise in futility. Besides, when it seems like half the audience is noisy, asking the brat nearest to you to be quiet doesn't accomplish much.

Let's face it: the Majestic is one of the worst things to happen to Silver "Sprung." It's a magnet for lowlifes to metro in from other neighborhoods where, obviously, anti-social behavior is accepted as normal. Maybe with new devopment in P.G. County and the District, these lowlifes will stay in their own neighborhoods. Until that happens, it's the AFI and the Uptown and Bethesda Landmark for me.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the only way to solve this problem is either to go to theaters frequented mostly by white people or to just watch Netflix in the comfort of your own home. Trying to coax any form of civilized behavior out of DC ghetto spawn is an exercise in futility.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, the best movie experiences I've had recently have been in the new theatre in Hyattsville, of all places, but only because the theatre was completely empty (we saw "There Will be Blood"). You don't have to worry about a noisy crowd in P.G. if you see a movie that requires some brain cells.

Anonymous said...

um, yeah, congrats to the above poster on his racially charged generalization about PG county. please, feel free NOT to come to hyattsville. we don't mind.

Anonymous said...

Word from IHateYuppies...

I hate The Majestic for several reasons.

1. Stupid teenagers don't know how to behave in the theaters. They chit-chat on the cell phones and talk loudly during the films.

2. The lines for refreshments don't move at all. This is partly because you have overweight people buying a gallon of popcorn, nachos, boxes of Milk Duds and 32 ounce sugar-filled sodas. The Majestic customer base has lots of potential for heart disease and diabetes.

3. Why do stupid parents insist on bringing toddlers to rated R movies at night?

4. Customer demographics. Movies featured at The Majestic involve lots of violence, crappy directing, crappy scripts, and underwhelming acting by the performers. You won't see avant garde films that require thought and appreciation of the art. The customer base is predominately African-American and Latino AND they come from low-income areas of PG County and the District. I also see lots of working class whites who are on military duty as well. The customers are attracted to those films due to a lack of sophistication and education. Harsh and bigoted but very true from a sociological perspective. This isn't so much a comment about race but it shows that poor people will pay for garbage because of the marketing from Hollywood.

Plus, for many kids who live in crappy neighborhoods of DC and PG County, there's nothing to do on weekend nights. Silver Spring is just a Metro ride away and hanging out at the movie theater is the height of the social scene. If you built a new multiplex cinema on Georgia Ave. in DC...the kiddie traffic would plummet dramatically.

Oh...if Montgomery County decides to rip up that turf and build the civic center as promised, that will drive out the teens and gang-bangers from DTSS.


Springvale Roader said...

IHY, you speaketh the truth, but you left out stuff. The Majestic (bad name -- let's rename it!) does occasionally show more highbrow films, but the audience still sucks. We went to see "The Illusionist" there, and we still had brats run in midway during the film, and some braindead adults talking during the damned climax.

Also, even us pointyheaded feelmgoers enjoy the occasional Spiderman or similar fluff, or we like good horror movies, etc., and we ought to be able to watch them in peace even if they're not highbrow works of art.

Anonymous said...

What's with all the ignorant, racist, classist comments? Is that typical? I just started reading this blog because I thought it was about Silver Spring, not a rallying spot for white supremacy.

My experience at the Majestic has been disrupted by teens of every race talking, using cell phones and generally just being young jackasses. Almost all the extended loud conversations have been middle-aged and older white folks.

What can be drawn from my experience? Nothing. The plural of anecdote is not evidence, something your racist readers seem not to understand. No wonder civilized people seem to think Montgomery County is a backwards-looking haven for ignorant selfish white people. I think we will be moving back to Northern Va.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 10:47. I call B.S. on your observations.

Have fun moving back to Virginia.

Anonymous said...

'Cause no one's racist or xenophobic in Virginia...

Anonymous said...

You call B.S. on my observations? Well, I can't do anything about that, because they are what I've observed. My wife and I go to movies at the Majestic about once a week.

And we will enjoy moving back to NoVa, thanks. Enjoy your little Klan haven by yourself, cracker.

Anonymous said...

" Enjoy your little Klan haven by yourself, cracker."

"Cracker"? Looks like this board has a racist on it after all...

Anonymous said...

They were definitely gettin' it on. Full lights and pretty full theater too before show time... I mean WTF, any sense of decency here?

Never ever wearing a skirt to the movies at the Majestic again.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:58, which SATC showtime on Saturday was that?

Anonymous said...

It was the 8:40pm(ish don't remember specific) showing on Sat

Anonymous said...

Thats the showing I went to....but we arrived late and got the 2 seats left in the back row....they weren't in the very back row, were they!? D:

hateUglyRacists said...

I followed a link from the Washington Post Local blog to here. Amazed at the amount of openly racist comments here. Wow.

Been to Majestic several times and seen disruptive behavior by youth of ALL races. I would say their attitude had more to do with their age and the general upbringing in our society today, and less due to race.

And only a moron would expect crowds here similar to those in AFI or Landmark Bethesda - the genre of movies shown are completely different .. but then, judging by the comments of "anonymous @ 9:31am", he/she IS a bigoted moron.

HateRealityDeniers said...

The comments here are not racist. The comments reflect the FACT that much, but not all, of the disruption at the Majestic is done by black kids and adults. It's not because they are black, but because of their "general upbringing" in an area where the underclass is overwhelmingly black.

Social dysfunction is what happens in underclasses of any color. Does anyone deny that the most violent and crime-ridden areas of this region are found in P.G. County and the poorer parts of the District? If you get murder and assaults and other crimes in higher numbers in these areas, along with broken families and children raising children, why does it suprise anyone that kids who come from these places will also show terrible manners in a movie theater? And the fact is, in the D.C. area, the places with the most social dysfunction are overwhelmingly black. That's the reality here. It doesn't mean black people are inferior, and it's not racist to point it out.

The Majestic does show all sorts of films, including more artsy types or mass entertainment types like Harry Potter, and it sometimes shows "grown up" movies that you'll also find at the AFI or Landmark, but if you want to see those movies with a well-behaved crowd, you'd better go anywhere besides the Majestic.

Simon Burke said...

Charged list this one -
I have stopped going to the Majestic due to the audience - I would say race has a lot to do with it but moreso age - young audience goers (and I realise this is a generalisation) tend to be poorly behaved. I would say this is a worse cinema than the one in Tysons but even at Tysons I have been annoyed by talky teens and their constant cell phone addiction. I now go almost exclusively to AFI or Landmark and often find the movies there better anyway, plus I can sip a beer in peace. If beer was available at the Majestic all hell would break loose. Also the Majestic needs more ticket machines - its so disorganised.

Simon Burke said...

Christ, meant to say "not so much race, but age!" I think race isnt really an issue as so many people in cinemas lack respect these days.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who remember movies at the City Place movie theater, we have come a LONG WAY. I enjoy the major upgrade to the Majestic. It's no E Street, but I'll totally take it.

Springvale Roader said...

I remember the City Place cinema. The only difference between that and the Majestic is that at the Majestic, you can pay more to have your films ruined by the same horrible audiences as the old City Place cinema, but in cushier surroundings.

And, we're still stuck with the same old bottom o' the barrel City Place Mall.

ian said...

man, given the comments on this forum, its pretty clear why silver spring was built up and gentrified... because the necessary white privilege racism is already here.

this town belongs to the poor, to the minorities, to the people who love the CITY PLACE movie experience. i bet many of you avoided going there because you were scared or felt uncomfortable. but don't forget that silver spring is THAT kindof place. new money and new buildings and new white people cannot completely drive out the people who have lived there for their whole lives. this isn't bethesda, and i sure hope it never will be. if you're looking for that kindof movie experience, then take a short drive down east west highway and PLEASE feel uncomfortable being in my town. i am white, middle class, and raised in silver spring. and i hate what it has become.

Anonymous said...

Ian, there have always been wealthy white people in Silver Spring, e.g. the old neighborhoods along 16th St. and East-West hwy. Not to say that they are being oppressed or suddenly driven out by the poor minorities, or vice-versa. The big elephant in the room (and by "room" I mean the open-air promenade of Ellsworth) is the huge socioeconomic and cultural gap here. To paraphrase Chris Rock, "every town has two [theatres]...."

Anonymous said...

Hey Ian,

Please see a doctor about that chip lodged in your shoulder. It's giving your terminal self-righteousness. You also should abandon the lame ass attack on those awful, awful white middle class people. What the hell are you, white boy? Moreover, your own racism is shining through. Do you beleive that non-white, non-middle class people don't mind having their movies interrupted by noisy and obnoxious people? Because, you know, since they're not white they don't value what movies have to offer aside from explosions and car chases and naked boobs.

You also imply that there are no non-white middle class people in Silver Spring (but if there were, they too wouldn't mind having their movie experiences ruined, since you know...they're not white or even worse, white and middle class).

Grow up already.

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget the that the closing of the late, non-lamented Lowe's Wheaton Plaza probably forced the a lot of this group down the road to the Majestic. My friends and I used to call the Lowe's the "baby-momma" cinema because it was pretty much a given that you would hear the phrase shouted into a cell phone during your attempt to watch a movie.

Anonymous said...

Well if they were to open up a new cinema in Wheaton right now, it would probably be called El Teatro Espanol.

Anonymous said...

Living in DC has made me realize that I really don't like black people.

Springvale Roader said...

Anonymous @7:58, that's a pretty foolish thing to say. I guarantee that if you lived in some parts of rural America where there was a lot of poverty and ignorance, you'd say the same thing about white people. Socioeconomic conditions are what's important, not skin color.

Anonymous said...

I was in there Friday night for The Happening, and there was some group of young people laughing at inappropriate times (apparently at something they were saying to each other) and generally making noise, fortunately not so continuously as to ruin the movie for me. However, toward the end, some guy behind me called out, "Nobody thinks you're funny. Shut the f&%^$ up!" I almost applauded.

The problem is that rarely works. For example, on another occasion not too long ago, some young women in front of me were making noise, and when someone shushed them, they just talked back with attitude: "Don't you sush me!" That's when I had the taser fantasy myself.

Never have I seen an adult of any race, ethnicity, economic status or any other category make a nuisance of themselves. It's always teenagers. And since nothing else works, I think yes, ushers armed with tasers is exactly what they should have. "Spare the rod, spoil the child."

Sligo said...

"Don't tase me, bro."

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