Saturday, June 28, 2008

You thought it was bad at the Majestic before? Now they want to burn you alive.

  If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then I'm completely nuts. I guess the convenience of the Majestic trumps all other considerations, because it seems like I'm there every week instead of going elsewhere to see movies. (Then again, where else is there really to go?)Anyway, I decided it was worth the risk to see a 7:30 showing of Wall-E at everyone's favorite theater, but I guess I hadn't counted on someone SETTING FIRE TO A GODDAMN TRASHCAN. I mean what kind of freaking degenerates do we have that think it's funny to potentially create a conflagration inside a packed twenty-screen theater? And this was certainly no accident - trashcans don't accidentally ignite. "Best" case is that someone was smoking and put their smoldering butt in a trashcan full of empty popcorn bags. The reality is more like that some piece of crap wannabe arsonist did it for pyromaniacal kicks.
Anyway, I arrive at the theater thirty minutes early and the fire alarms are wailing and everyone is crowded outside the theater on the sidewalk and in the street. At first I assume that some jerk-off just pulled the fire alarm, which certainly isn't out of the norm for the Majestic, however I begin to suspect that there may actually be a legit fire after catching a slight whiff of smoke. I hear the oncoming sirens of the Silver Spring fire department and I see the hook and ladder on it's way down Fenton. I assume it will slow down and let people clear out of the packed street, but it actually just makes a hard turn onto Ellsworth, sending people screaming and scattering like roaches when the light is turned on. This is about the point where it went from annoying to entertaining. So the fire fighters go into the theater to check out the situation. Meanwhile, no one from theater management will make any sort of announcement and all the people that got kicked out of their movies are just idling around not knowing what the hell is going on. A few minutes after the firemen entered the building, a flood of water suddenly shot out of a unobtrusive drainage pipe along the side of the sidewalk, once again sending people scattering.  (See poor cellphone pic below.)
So, finally, at about 8 o'clock, a representative of the theater comes out and makes an inaudible announcement (I heard this tenth-hand) basically saying they don't really know when they will re-open.  At that point I just left, figuring I'd have to figure out a way to get my money back the next day.I'm not ashamed to admit that I really wanted to see Wall-E and since I had already paid, I went back this afternoon after exchanging my tickets.  Of course, I was sandwiched between a screaming baby and a guy with a cellphone in his lap that blinked throughout the entire movie, but I guess I should be grateful that I wasn't on fire...

UPDATE: Now I hear that the fire was set in a dumpster outside the theater. Maybe that's better, maybe it's not. I still want to know where that mysterious water came from.


dan reed said...

I went to the 3:45 showing of Wall-E at the Majestic today. There was a slew of little kids parked up front who'd go hysterical every time the little cockroach got smushed. Outside of that, my visit was pretty uneventful and decidedly not on fire.

Jacob said...

Dumpster on fire behind/below the theater, not just a trashcan.

Anonymous said...

The Jerry's Subs and Pizza at Four Corners had 5 or 6 hook and ladder trucks in front at around noon on Saturday the 28th. Someone's on a rampage or just coincidence?

Anonymous said...

I miss segregation.

Nate said...

So someone outside the theater set a dumpster on fire, in an incident that may or may not have been deliberate, and that somehow supports your vision of this place as Sodom and Gomorrah? Does the phrase "confirmation bias" mean anything to you?

Given the fact that these redundant posts wailing about the Majestic always bring out the most charmingly racist sentiments in your commenters, I really wonder why you feel compelled to put them up so frequently when it's pretty obvious you don't share those attitudes.

Sligo said...

If I get confirmation that it was a dumpster inside/outside the theater, I'll post an update. A theater employee used the exact word "trashcan" when referring to the incident, so that's what I went by.

If people want to make it an excuse to express their racist views, they can be ignored... my continued beef is with the theater management who continues to do nothing to fix the problem with disruptive customers. They can charge $10.25 per ticket but can't be bothered to enforce any rules?

People say wait until it comes out on DVD or go to another theater, but why should my moviegoing habits be dictated by a bunch of miscreants?

Even if they lit a dumpster on fire outside the theater, that isn't much better. The theater's lack of communication to the displaced customers didn't help, either.

Jerry A. McCoy said...

I saw WALL E at the Majestic Sunday morning at 9:30. There were about a dozen people at the screening, mostly adults, who were on their best behavior. Better yet, it only cost $8.25.

Question. How did that plant manage to grow inside of a closed refrigerator?

Dave Murphy said...


Your take on the event is decidedly more pessimistic than my own. I believe than in spite of the conflagration (which fortunately occurred AFTER the torrential downpour) there was a pretty good vibe in Silver Plaza on Friday.

But I share your attitude towards the theater experience. Not much of an improvement over the old City Place cinema.

Sligo said...

Hey, everything down there was just was fine; I'm just annoyed that someone (presumably intentionally) set a dumpster/trashcan on fire near/in a crowded theater.

Jessica McFadden said...

My kids were at the show just before the one you attended. Their screams at their much-anticipated, beloved movie being interrupted would have freaked everyone out. Big time.

Sorry your Majestic experience was bad. Again. I have not heard back on my online suggestion/submission.

Sligo said...

If I had actually been in the theater in the middle of the movie and this had happened, I would have screamed too. I guess I was lucky in that respect, although my plans were still disrupted.

ed said...

Stop the self-flagellation at Majestic. We go over to Tysons Corner 16. Great theaters, totally quiet crowds. And, for movies like Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda they have an all digital showing. It is the best. We take our kids to the early Sat morning and save $10 on tiks. I can't take rude and loud moviegoers of which I've experienced EVERY single time I've been to the Majestic. That's not to mention the "parents" who bring their crying infant to the 10:30pm movies. Then, when done with the movie, you can walk around and shop/eat at an actual nice (Non-Shitty-Place) mall.

Anonymous said...

Ah Ed,

Why the hell you are traveling to Tysons Corner, Virginia? You can find nice theaters for the family in Bethesda and Rockville. You might want to eye some real estate in Fairfax County if you like Tysons so much.


Sligo said...


The Bethesda theater is pretty crappy (not landmark, the regular one) and the Rockville Theater apparently isn't much better than Silver Spring with regard to disruptions - or so I hear.

The closest "quiet" theater that I am aware of is the one in Mazza Gallerie.

Ed said...

Hey Yup Hata, I've been to all of the Beth and Rockville theaters, meh. Rio is OK, best of the rest I'd say. Pretty quiet there, Rockville not so much.

Sligo, I went sour on Mazza when I took the family on a weekend to see the forgettable "Everyone's Hero". We had free tiks to a preview screening. As we enter the movie, ALL of us are subjected to hand-held metal detectors! WTF? This isn't the midnight showing of "Thugs 4eva" at the Compton Cineplex. This is friggin Chevy Chase yo. After the shakedown, (no shivs, shanks or gatts found) the understaffed (for 1 movie) crew had zero soda machines working and zero popcorn.

Now I don't want you to think I've abandoned SS. I'm a member of the AFI and it is by far my personal fave place to see movies.

Sligo said...

My one experience at the Rio was very Majestic-like, if not worse.

I think I went up there because it was one of the few places Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was playing when it first opened up. Because there wasn't many other places to see it, it sold out fast. That didn't stop people who missed their opportunity from going anyway. A lot of people just bought tickets to something else then walked in. A lot of legitimate ticketholders had to sit in the isles. (that sucks)

To make matters worse, someone brought their three year old in there and she was running up and down the aisle screaming. Finally someone (justifiably) yells "SHUT YOUR FUCKING KID UP!", which of course elicited an outraged reaction from the parent who couldn't understand why someone would feel that way.

That was my first and last trip to the Rio.

Really, you can get absurd behavior anywhere. About 5 years ago, I went to the Arclight theater in LA which is probably one of the nicer theaters in the country and had to deal with some assholes there, too. At that theater, you get assigned seats and the usher shows you to them. So we go into the theater showing Dirty Pretty Things and it is pretty much empty. Of all the seats in the theater, someone decided to go ahead and sit in ours. The usher asked him to move and he said "no". Since the theater was empty, we just sat somewhere else - it wasn't worth it.

I guess the point is that you deal with these idiots at every theater sometimes - it's just at the Majestic, it's almost EVERY time and the management doesn't really care.

Ed said...

Sligo, I've been lucky at Rio, haven't had a bad experience thru many movies. You're 100% correct, you can have a bad night anywhere. Sadly our largest common denominator is having a bad experience about 99.9% of the time at Majestic. It sucks cuz I've lived here in SS for 18 years and waited breathlessly for the Majestic to open. I really enjoy your site.

Eileen said...

I echo the comment on the AFI -- there is always something worth seeing there, and the crowds (or lack thereof) are usually pretty good. I live in DC and will travel out to SS to see movies there. The Avalon (at Chevy Chase Circle) also is generally good, especially the big theater -- just don't sit near the old people, who think they're whispering and don't realize exactly how much their hearing has diminished. Bethesda Row is OK at offhours (weekday afternoons) but the weekend evening crowds are horrid -- every time I've tried to see a movie their on the weekend, it's been ruined by suburbanites carrying on conversations throughout the movies, as if it were there living room. I've only been to the Majestic once, and it was fine -- but it was a matinee and the theater was almost empty. You know, that's the real solution -- only go to the movies when the theater is empty. I also bring earplugs with me to movies; they help me tune out the annoying chatter when I can't get away from it.

lonebear said...

OK. that's weird. We were there for the same show, probably the same time. We were in the theater when the alarm triggered. And everyone left in an orderly fashion. We saw WALL-E the next morning.

We've generally had good luck at this theater. Maybe it has to do with when we go.

And for the water...Based on some study of fire systems that was probably a dump of the sprinkler system. If it works as one of the possible formats the pipes are kept dry until an alarm sounds, then pressurize the system to wait for a heat trigger of a spray head.

I should verify, as trivia like that is fun to know.

WashingtonGardener said...

Ed - you were WANDED because you went to a PREVIEW screening - duh!!! This is standard practice to have tight security at these so pirated copies don't leak out early. You are NOT wanded at regular Mazza showings.

Jerry asked: >>Question. How did that plant manage to grow inside of a closed refrigerator?<<
There are amny seeds that do actually REQUIRE dark and warmth to germinate -- of course, if the fridge had not been openedthe plant wold have died at a certain point, I thik this was a pea plant or other legume -- though the film did not elaborate on that point much. I was more disturbed by many other Wall-E plot points like the future humans with NO bone strength suddenly being able to walk...

Anonymous said...

The company promoted the employee who started the fire to become a manager.

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