My wife and I have learned that when it comes to deciding what movies to see, we cannot depend on the opinions of newspaper and online movie critics. These are disgruntled people who are looking to criticize even the most enjoyable films — no doubt unhappy that they can’t write off the $12 tub of popcorn as a business expense.
I once suggested to Mary Ellen that we go to the theater and hang around outside, then listen in on people as they exited the movie to see what they were saying about it. My wife was against this just like the time I advocated the same idea for picking a restaurant. Mary Ellen felt that standing out in the cold in front of Red Lobster to eavesdrop on the patrons seemed desperate. And it might look a bit fishy.
The other night we headed out to see a movie, certain we’d enjoy our selection since it was getting great reviews. But just to be sure, I lingered outside the entrance to see what I could overhear as people exited.
“That was awesome.”
“Best time I have had in a theater.”
“What a night. The best entertainment dollars I’ve ever spent.”
To hear such universal raves is uncommon, so I decided to question one of the patrons. “Was the film really that good?” I asked.
“No, it was just mediocre, but those new seats? Wow! Never had such a great evening,” said one lady.
“The most fun I have had sitting,” said another patron.
My wife and I were eager to see what all the talk was about. We walked inside and there they were: The Regal King-Size Recliners. Yes, movie theater seats with a La-Z-Boy feel. “This is awesome,” I said. “It looks like the chair Captain Kirk sat in when he was negotiating with a Klingon or preparing to enter a black hole.”
The seats were twice the size of the previous ones—nice and leathery with a remote button that lets you adjust the recliner wa-a-a-a-y down, making your back almost parallel to the floor, assuming you want to look at the ceiling. You can also bend your knees and then raise the lower part of your body. I was so excited, I didn’t know where to put myself. Literally.
We watched the movie. The name of it was … ? It was about … ? The lead actor was … ? Actually, I remember nothing about the movie. My wife, by the way, liked the new seats, but there was a problem. “Well. That’s the last time we go to that theater,” she said.
“Why? Name one thing you didn’t like.”
“Look, Mary Ellen, you can’t put a guy like me in a reclining position and expect me to stay awake.”
“Well, you also fiddled with that remote every 20 seconds, trying every position imaginable. I was a little embarrassed when the guy behind you asked if you could spread your knees apart so he could see the screen.”
“Is that it?”
“Let’s see. If you said, ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ one more time, I was going to scream.”
When the movie was over, there was chatter in the lobby about the new chairs. People were posting photos online. There was talk of a hashtag: #awesomemovieseats. I’m sure by the time you read this, these new chairs will have their own Facebook page.
Oh, and by the way, the cup holders are huge. They can even hold a small bag of popcorn, which is a great idea. I don’t like going to sleep on an empty stomach.