Posted by: thescoundrel | August 1, 2008

The Dark Knight Afternoon- An (embarrassing) Showcase inema Experience

I had some free time on my hands the other day and spent the afternoon at the Davenport Showcase Cinemas watching the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight. The movie actually lived up to most of its hype. Batman has experienced a Hollywood metamorphosis since the extremely campy 1960’s TV series staring Adam West. The latest movies with Christian Bale have become more like the serious and edgy comic books, displaying the fight for survival of good vs. evil and how it can be difficult to tell the two apart at times. As with all the Batman movies the villains and heroes are yin and yang, in the sense that one cannot exist without the other. The one moment of the movie I found lacking was a scene where the Joker is confronting the mob bosses. The movie reminded me too much of the scene in Kill Bill, where the O-Ren Ishii character is confronting the Japanese mob. Otherwise, the movie had a nice balance of character exploration, action and special effects. I actually like this series of Batman Movies much better than the previous and successful (1989-97) Batman movie series starring Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney. I also thought the Michael Keaton Batman Movies were very good. Though the series bottomed out with the Clooney movie.

On the other hand I was a bit disappointed in the theater. I understand that equipment malfunctions happen but the tone of the theater experience was set right from parking lot when I noticed that the “C” in Cinemas was burned out. That in itself is not a big deal but it was representative of things to come. The next less than extraordinary experience was at the concession stand. Okay I am familar and understand the concession pricing concepts used at sporting and entertainment venues. And when you pay their high prices you would think that they would have someone that could adjust and balance the syrup-carbonated water- ice ratio proper for a soda drink. (I am not even going to start a rant on the stale popcorn problems.) Nope you get a watered down drink that tastes vaguely like a Pepsi. Please, it is not that expensive to do it correctly!!! There is more cost in the container of a drink than is spent on all the soda and ice put inside. It is not that tough to get the balance right people. Also when you walk up to a concession stand where there is two people being waited on, one by the manager, plus several dazed and confused teenagers shuffling aimlessly around inside the booth there should be no reason for the manager needing to direct traffic to wait on the customers that are walking up. Perhaps what was more bizzare was the attitudes of those that were being asked to wait on people. Instead of the apologetic “oops my bad” expression – they had that “you talking to me” look. Yikes!! I guess when I pay $5 for a 32oz watered-down soda I expect a little enthusiasm and cheer for that extra cash. I know it must be tough getting paid to stand around in an air conditioned building when the temperature is hot. Alas I received no more cheer when the person taking my ticket stub directed me to my theater. After entering I go through my usual routine of sticking my hands underneath the cup holders of potential seats before I sit down. That day was a good day as my first choice was acceptable. Now I know all the other people in the theater are wondering why a grown man goes from seat to seat feeling plastic cup holders. Well after two bad experiences of leaving the movie house with a previous patrons sticky chewing gum on expensive dress pants -> I check underneath the cup holders for such presents left behind. As I looked around the room I also noticed no one had bothered to clean-up following the previous movie. (I suppose they were all too busy playing bumper cars inside the concession booth.) There was trash in the aisles, floors, seats and even one paperwad on the back of a seat. Wow, another embarrassment for the Showcase Cinemas. Still I was delighted that no gum would be mounting an attack on my clothing so I settled in to watch the movie. The usual summer-teen cell phone disruptions offered up entertainment while waiting for the movie trailers. The movie trailers started. Oops, another embarrassment for the Showcase Cinemas. No sound! I looked around and did not see an usher to hail. So I looked around again to see if I had mistakenly entered a silent movie showing and perhaps would have Pearle Bodine playing the organ as sound accompaniment. Nope, just another chink in the movie experience. An individual that was seeing less humor in the situation than I was left to track down assistance. And finally we had mind-blowing ear-crushing sound. Hooray! In the mean time I saw Mr. Dad wander in with his three kids in tow and helped them get placed and distributed out their various concessions. A tear came to my eye as I realized this was no cheap thrill for this dad. Factoring in the high cost of concessions I figure the Dad probably spent at least thirty dollars on snacks and food. Heck they should have given him his tickets for free. Then -hallelujah- the movie started! And it was a great movie with few crowd disruptions. Even better. Then it was over and it was time to leave. Ahh but they had to have one last embarrassment before I left. Perhaps I am spoiled by the Moline Great Escape Theater bathrooms, but the Showcase Cinema’s bathrooms really need an enema. I cannot remember the last time I went in to their bathrooms where the sinks and floors looked clean and paper towels were not strewn everywhere. (Oops I forgot they all need to be playing bumper cars inside the concession stand.) On the upside I did not have to wait in line the usual Showcase Cinema hour to expel my 32 oz sort-of-soda. Oh well, at least the movie was a good experience.



  1. The QCOline site has an interesting story talking about the evolution of good guy and the bad guy roles and their appeal in movies.

  2. I saw the movie last week and really liked it. One pundit (can’t remember which one) said it was the first true 9/11 movie and I agree with that; it was all about the limits of civil rights vs. limits of national security. It’s about the havoc one lone terrorist can play when he has nothing to lose. It’s about making tough choices—for all of us.

    On the other hand, Mr. Examiner thought it was awful—“discombobulated” was his opinion of it; he doesn’t do nuance. 😀

    We also saw it at the 53Cinemas (don’t know how to do the faded “C” thingie), but we didn’t notice any of the problems you encountered. I don’t know what time you went to the movie, but we usually try to go to an early show and eat BEFORE the movie starts, being cheap and all that. 😀

    So maybe time of day/night makes a difference, or maybe the theatres are just going downhill—we had not been to a movie since January—they have just been too sucky!

  3. Here’s a link to a Dispatch op-ed written by one of their editors suggesting that the corruption of Gotham mirrors the corruption in our Wonderful State O’ Illinois, and just as Batman won’t kill The Joker, the powers-that-be in IL won’t oust Blago—pretty grim stuff!

  4. Yeah QCExI really liked the movie. It would have been better if the supporting cast that operates the theater had lived up to the cast in the movie. 😦

    Thanks for the interesting link, I missed that one. If I am going to make comic book supervillain character comparisons to our State legislators I could see Blago more as the Joker or the mad Norman Osborn/Green Goblin. I could see Richard Daly more as the Kingpin character. But I do not see any heroes much less superheroes in our state legislature. With our luck any hero that turned up will more likely be a Forbush Man clone! 😥

  5. Yikes!! I steal a line from the Keaton/Batman Movie – “this town needs an enema”- and I get a link to a site dedicated to enemas! 😯

  6. You know, Soviet Russia does have a statue modeled and dedicated to the enema with the following slogan: “Let’s beat laziness with enemas!” and we all thought the Japanese outdid everyone in the Weird Shit category. Now they have a possible contender 😀

  7. ROFLMAO, I hope the pigeons are making good use of that statue.

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