Monday, October 6, 2008

Movie madness

Wow, where to start... We went to see Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna tonight and it was horrrrrrible. I was so excited about the storyline that I chose not to read any reviews on it because I didn't want to be influenced. But it was a disappointingly bad flick, I have no words to describe it, just really pitifully bad.

AND to top it all off, we had a horrrrrrible movie theater experience at the Metropolitan: the movie started and it seemed slightly out of focus to me but I assumed my contact lenses were dry or dirty so I shrugged it off... as the film went on, the focus got worse and worse until everyone in the theater was whistling and shouting out "fuoco", "proiezione" in hopes that the person in the projection booth would wake up. Well, we found out the hard way that there is NO person in the projection booth anymore, instead they have tiny monitors near the ticket booth that they use to check up on the various screens. First off, it's really hard to tell if a film's out of focus on such a tiny monitor and second off, it's even harder if you're not looking at the monitor! Soooo, after missing out on 25 minutes of film because it was incredibly out of focus and because everyone was shouting at the screen, I get up and walk down to the ticket booth (thus missing even more of the film). I tell the workers the film is out of focus and while I'm complaining, another guy from our theater comes down and starts yelling too.

So that should've fixed it, right? It did, for about 5 minutes, then it slipped out of focus again, not extremely out of focus, but enough that it was noticeable to everyone. In fact some people start shouting out "fuoco" again but it was useless because they can't hear us from downstairs and there isn't a soul in the projection booth. We stay till the end (as does everyone else) and watch not only an out of focus film, but a bad out of focus film that lasted forever!

Movie ends, we go down to the ticket booth and I politely say "We'd like a refund, the movie was out of focus the whole time".... The ticket seller starts giving me lip saying that the movie was not out of focus the whole time. I politely insist that it was and remind him that I even had to come downstairs to tell them to fix it. Then he goes on to say the subtitles were out of focus, not the film. Give me a fucking break buddy, I can tell the difference between an out of focus film and out of focus subtitles. The most annoying thing was his attitude, he was being so rude, condescending, and uncooperative. He kept denying the movie was out of focus, hence implying I was lying. I'm a believer in the saying: You catch more bees with honey than with vinegar BUT I have a limited supply of honey so I started turning sour at this point. The dickwad kept insisting and shaking his head and treating me as if I were full of shit. Some of the other people gathered around by now and were confirming the fact that the film was indeed out of focus the entire time. Funny sidenote: not a single man from the audience said a word, the only people involved in this confrontation were women... interesting.

Anyway- I ask for the manager. Whoa, if the ticket seller was a dickwad, the manger was King Dickwad. A total asshole who had the audacity to say "If the film was out of focus then why didn't you leave sooner? Why'd you stay and watch the whole thing?" Well asshole, seeing that I work for a living and I don't have free time aplenty, if I make plans to see a movie with people and make an effort to haul my ass to Via del Corso #7, then I'm going to stay. Especially because it shouldn't have been an issue to fix the focus in the first place! I already had to get up once and miss part of the movie to complain, which is in itself a reason to give me a refund. This went back and forth for about 15 minutes and I was blown away by how flippant and asshole-ish this manager was. I suspect (and hope for Metropolitan's sake) that this guy was not the real manager because he did everything a manager should NOT do. You have a group of 10 people complaining about the focus on a film- and instead of apologizing or mending the problem, you insist the film was in focus and tell us we should've left the theater? Dumb dumb dumb. My theory: the manager was not on duty and these dickwads didn't want to give us a refund or proper voucher because then they would get in trouble for not having paid attention to the focus of our screen.

I asked for a refund or a voucher, at first the manager refused and said he would only allow us to come back and see the same movie again... (now why on earth would I come back to see a movie I just watched???) then he gave in and signed our tickets, which apparently is our voucher. I'm curious to see what happens when we present said "vouchers", I have a feeling it's a crock of shit... I'm pretty pissed off, not so much about the film, but about the outrageous behavior from their staff and "manager". They should've been apologizing to all of us for the inconvenience but instead they were furiously arguing with us, telling us we were wrong. For the record, I do plan on continuing this battle because it's unacceptable for them to treat customers like that.

Oh yeah, note to non-Italian speakers: although this movie is publicized as "original version", there is a lot of Italian dialogue that is not subtitled at all and a lot of German dialogue that is subtitled in Italian... so if you can't read/understand Italian, do not go see it because you'll miss half of the film.


Piccola said...

thanks for letting us know. I was planning on going to see the film but I'll save my ten bucks and wait for Netflix to get it.
Wow, what endless frustration with customer service over there. That kind of crap would never be tolerated here. Shit, it would probably make the local news! The Italian was so impressed with how kind people are here.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

sigh. I'm so sad to hear this.

The reviews have not been kind. I used to work for his production company in L.A. and think he is a very talented filmmaker. I was hoping this film would be great. I heard the book is excellent.

The last Spike joints I really enjoyed were his two docs Four Little Girls and When the Levees Broke (brilliant) and Inside Man. She Hate Me was bananas!

Romerican said...

Piccola- Yeah, it was probably one of the top 5 worst customer disservice moments I've ever had in Rome.

I was very hopeful based on his previous films which I loved (apart from She Hate Me), but Miracle at St Anna was a royal mess. sigh....

Emmina said...

Wow that sounds extreme. I say fight to the end - is this an independent cinema or part of a chain?? You should definitely try to take it further - people think they can get away with this sort of behaviour simply because they usually do. Good luck!!

Romerican said...

emmina- It was so ridiculous it was surreal! The worker/manager need to be held accountable for their bad attitude. I wrote a letter to the movie theater. It's not part of a big chain which I suspect will make it harder to actually get a response of any sort.