It's absolutely fabulous. A movie buff's dream.
Advertisements for Mann's Chinese Theatre in Denver rightfully boast of the state-of-the-art cineplex's 16 auditoriums, stadium-style rocking-chair seating and digital sound system. Not to mention the fantastic exterior.There's no question it is unique, inside and out.
But there's one thing it will have in common with every other theater as soon as it opens and it's not a good thing.
The audience of strangers who share a particular film is much more important to the movie-going experience than the snacks the theater sells at its concession, or cup holders on the seats, or even the temperature in the auditorium.
People more than anything else can make or break a movie. And all too often, those people are rude.
They insist on bringing their babies, then act shocked when the little ones start to shriek. They wait until the most poignant scenes to tear open their boxes of Raisinets. And for some reason they find it necessary to discuss the day's events with their companions during the show instead of waiting until it's over.
Oh, they whisper. But even they realize that their murmurs are magnified during the movie's quiet moments. So they try talking in short sentences:
And so on.
All of which is still better than those people who find it necessary to talk directly to the movie.
You know the ones. They warn the Titanic lookouts about the iceberg looming in their future ("Watch out, dudes! Big cube in the road!"). They congratulate the heroine when she finally musters the courage to leave her abusive fiancee ("You go, girl!"). Then they declare their own love for the handsome, yet cruel rogue ("I'll marry you if she won't, honey!").
And if just one person in the theater giggles at their banter, they take it as encouragement to begin a running commentary on the movie's characters, plot and cinematography. ("This is so much better than Amistad, don't you think, darling? That whole film was so dark. And if you ask me, they absolutely wasted Morgan Freeman in what was practically a cameo role.")
For the polite moviegoer, there is no way to combat such rudeness. The glance is ignored. The glare is a joke. And the desperate "shh" is usually returned with contempt as well as some excess spittle. Which puts the burden of policing the boors on some skinny, pimply 16-year-old usher, who probably behaves the exact same way when he's out of uniform.
The answer, of course, is to hire bouncers.
Big, burly, brutal bouncers who would patrol the aisles of the theater as if they were working last call at the dirtiest dive in town.
Parents with crying infants would be asked to leave quickly and quietly. Excessive coughing and popcorn-chomping would result in a warning grip on the shoulder. Siskel and Ebert wannabes would face a choke-hold escort to the front door.
And those who continue to mouth off? Well, they would be fitted with cement shoes near the theater's planned Walk of Fame.
Now, that would be state of the art.