Thursday, April 07, 2005

When Dorks give Geeks a bad name

There is a time and a place for everything in life. Sometimes you get to decide when and where, and sometimes you don't.

For the past six days, rabid Star Wars fans have begun to line up outside of the historic Grauman's Chinese Theatre, so that they can be the first kids on the block to get their Star Wars tickets. Since the release of Episode I: The Phantom Menance in 1999, the new Star Wars trilogies have been screened at the historic Grauman's Chinese on Hollywood Blvd.

For those of you who have not been to Los Angeles, the Chinese was the premiere movie theatre of the city. That was of course, until the Arclight Cinemas opened up as a renovated extension of the historic Cinerama Dome. The Cinerama Dome was built in 1963, and was famed for its capability to screen 3-strip Cinerama formats. Even in its heyday the Cinerama Dome was still always eclipsed by the stylistic glamour of the Chinese, which had been around in Hollywood since 1927.

But since 2002, when the Arclight opened with a renovated historic dome and an additional 14 black box screens, things have been changing. While there is no doubt that the Arclight's environment lacks the internal and external decorative charm and elegance of the Chinese, it does have its own strong selling point. The Arclight has all reserved seats for all of its screenings, and tickets are available for purchase both in person and online, and are sold weeks in advance of the actual screenings. Which means, no more standing in line, no more splitting up your group because there are no seats to sit together, etc. I've been known to arrive up to three hours ahead of time just to ensure that I get an excellent seat for my film of choice. It can be amusing, and is part of the excitement in its own right, but let's be honest, at this point in my life, I could be using that time for more productive things.

Not so for the few fans who lined up in front of the Chinese theatre expecting to buy their tickets first. They were subject to a rude awakening when it started to leak out a couple days ago, that Episode III, will be showing, not at the Chinese, but at the Arclight . Tickets have not gone on sale there yet, nor has a time and date been set for when they will go on sale, but yesterday the official press release hit, and geeks everywhere were a-buzzing.

There is a part of me that thinks it's a bit of a shame about Revenge of the Sith will not be shown at the Chinese. It has become a bit of a tradition, and it is a historic and stunning theatre. But it was also a real pain in the ass to wait in line for six hours, and if you happen to have an actual job, you can kiss your dreams goodbye of getting into the first midnight screening.

If you ask me, this levels the playing field. Now its everyman for himself, each geek has to figure our what his method will be to get tickets, be it on the internet or over the counter. It's almost like a ...strategy game.

My sentiment is not shared by those on line. In an article in Variety, Sarah Sprague, a designated spokesperson (for geeks everywhere?) said:

"Even if it's not here, we'll just go see it somewhere else. We're not doing this just for the movie. What's the point of lining up at the ArcLight if someone is going to go online and get the best seat in the house?"

That's right Sarah, that is why there is no point in lining up in front of the Arclight, that's the whole idea - RESERVED seats. I'm sorry, but her statement doesn't make any sense. Yes, they will in fact have to see it somewhere else than the Chinese, but they refuse to see it at the Arclight? Why? Because they won't have the honor and glory bestowed upon them by having waited in line the longest? And what's that about “we're not just doing this for the movie.” …you're not? Huh? What is the matter with you people?! What else is there, if not the movie! ,Wouldn't the truest of Star Wars fans, want to be guaranteed the best theatre viewing experience, with the best projection, sound, and comfortable seats, which can all be provided by the Arclight?

But of all the quotes in the Variety article , this one is my favorite of all….

“The telling thing is -- for me, at least -- if the film is not playing at the Chinese ... I have zero desire to see it at all," a fan who calls himself Obi Geewhyen posted on the message board at "I'm in it for the lineup only and don't give a darn about the conclusion of this lackluster, so-called 'Star Wars' series."


I'm not even sure how to comment on that quote, because I think it speaks for itself. Its completely illogical, irrational, and idiotic. But it is funny, and for that I'd like to go on the record and say “Obi Geewhyen, thank you for just being you.”

Well enough about this whole lining up talk. I've got more important things to do. Its about time for me to head down to the Arclight Bar and see if I can ply some of the managers there with Jesus juice; I gotta find out when those damn tickets go on sale.


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