So, it could be I’ve lived under a rock for most of my life. Or, that my lack of dates have bestowed an unintentional vow of loneliness upon me. Or, maybe it’s because I just like seeing a movie the old-fashioned way with stadium seating, reclinable chairs and an industrial-sized bucket filled with popcorn. Whatever the reason, I found seeing a movie at Studio Movie Grill to be a totally baffling, eye-opening and slightly entertaining affair.
Before I regale you with the details of my experience, I have to relate the story before the story – the “prequel” if you will. There I was sitting at my computer in a dark room checking my email when I received a message from my favorite addiction Groupon. While I won’t say I buy a lot of them, I will say I’m compelled to click on each one that finds its way into my inbox. The deal-du-jour was a movie ticket and a free drink for $5. Right away I was sold. It wasn’t until the purchase was confirmed that I realized that the theater was not in my neck of the woods. No biggie, I thought. We live in the age of Google maps and GPS, I couldn’t possibly get lost. Boy, was I wrong.
After a failed 1st attempt which ended in me getting lost and arriving 20 minutes after the movie started, I finally made my way to Studio Movie Grill. From the outside, it looked like a normal theater. It wasn’t until I was through the floor-to-ceiling glass doors that it hit me that I might have strayed a little too far from AMC territory.
This place was nice! Think high-end lounge/night club meets movie theater. The box office was off to the side and set up like a hotel concierge desk.
Of course, they were ready for the Groupon crowd (a.k.a the cheap-o’s) having set up a special line just for us. On the other side of the “lobby” was a full bar. Yes, I said a full bar. No cash registers. No neon signs advertising cheesy nachos, candy, and popcorn. Just a full bar complete with two bartenders.
Surrounding the bar were plush sofas and rolling Ottomon chairs. The lighting was definitely “in the mood” with modern track lighting fixtures creating a very cozy, yet cool vibe. On each wall were flat screens showing the latest trailers (on mute of course, because any sound would have definitely killed the vibe).
If the lobby wasn’t fancy enough, the people showing up for a movie decked out in their finest club attire definitely were. Right away, I could tell this sort of movie-going experience was the perfect date because couples were everywhere. So imagine those people with me in the midst of it all, gaping like a fool at the decor, while decked in my finest scruffy jeans, distressed hoodie and my running sneakers that have seen better days. Needless to say I was underdressed. Awkward situation #1.
Once over the initial shock of the place, I try and make my way to where I think the theaters are. Mood lighting has a way of not lighting anything at all, so getting around was kinda dicey. But I soldier on and find a hallway with a marquee advertising the movies and their theater numbers. At first glance, I don’t see my movie, but I figure how hard could it be to find, I’ll just walk around. I get two steps pass the entrance to the movie corridor and I hear this rude voice exclaim, “Hey, what are you doing?”
I whirl around to face this petite woman at a podium. “Excuse me?” I say.
“Let me see your ticket,” she says impatiently. Like a chastised child, I quickly fiddle through the stuff they’d given me at the ticket counter which, along with my ticket includes a food menu, a drink ticket, and my receipt. I hand the ticket over. She takes a look at it and responds rather curtly, “Sir, we’re not seating that movie yet. Have a seat.” Normally the attitude would have made me angry, but I was just so shocked and confused by the whole situation that I obediently took a seat. Awkward situation #2
Apparently, one simply doesn’t walk into a theater at Studio Movie Grill. You actually have to be escorted to your theater and seated by a theater usher. I was blown away! As I’m walking in behind our usher, I notice that the seating is rather interesting. It’s stadium, but on each level there is one row of regular theater seats with a table between each set of two. In front of that row is another set of seats facing a high-top table running the entire length of the aisle. I go for the theater seats because that’s what I’m used to. Turns out it was a good choice, because the high-top was actually reserved seating! Can you imagine? Reserving seats at a movie? Fortunately for me, I narrowly missed awkward situation #3 by a hair.
Once I got to my seat and the previews started to roll, things seemed to go as they normally would in a normal theater. That is once you ignore the waiters taking food orders, delivering food, and whispering loudly, “Will there be anything else?” while you try to concentrate on the thing you actually came here to do – watch a movie. All it all, it was a unique experience and when I get the chance to go again, I’ll definitely be more prepared.
1. I’ll try not to go by myself as I seemed to have gotten more “You poor, lonely soul!” stares here than in normal theaters.
2. I’ll definitely prepare to be escorted like royalty into the theatre (“re” because it’s fancy) by wearing my best top hat, sporting a monocle and practicing my goose-step with a gold-tipped cane.
3. I’ll make sure that the movie is one that doesn’t require a high-level of concentration as dine-in cinemas seem to add an extra level of distraction to the movie-going experience.
4. I’ll actually try to have something a little more substantial than popcorn and Coke. Maybe a basket of wings or a hamburger and fries which they have on the menu. No fajitas though, because that’s really just crossing the line.