Rant: A Wasted Afternoon

I go to the movies a lot and I am happy to say that, the vast majority of the time, I have watched films theatrically without a hitch.  In fact, before today, the only time I’ve had a screening cancelled on me was when a power outage disrupted a screening of State of Play back in 2009.  That incident annoyed me, but I eventually accepted it as a freak occurrence caused by the weather.

Today was a little different.  I went to see the film Killer Joe, which is currently only playing on one screen at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto.  I would guess that I got 75% through the film before the picture blacked out.  Five minutes later, the film was stopped and about five minutes after that the screening was cancelled due to the fan on the projector burning out.

There was understandably a lot of annoyed folks in the crowd, many of who were quite vocal in their displeasure.  While it would be easy to, like the power outage three years ago, to shrug this off as me being at the wrong screening on the wrong day, it did get me thinking.

I cannot help but feel that there was some fault on Cineplex’s part for why the projector broke in the middle of the film like it did.  From what I’ve heard, Cineplex (and most corporate multiplexes) don’t really employ properly trained projectionists anymore.  The “projectionist” is likely a kid, whose only job is go into into the projection booth and press a button to start the film.  Since most cinemas now project digitally, they don’t have to worry about loading or changing reels.

As such, I don’t really think that the projectionist is really that equipped to do anything when there’s a problem.  In fact, part of the reason the screening (as well as subsequent shows) were cancelled was that the theatre had to call an expert in to look at the projector.  I sort of feel that if Cineplex had a proper projectionist that took care of the projector, this sort of incident would have been less likely to occur.

Now where does this leave me?  As part of their usual damage-control, I was given two courtesy passes by the manager.  I will likely use one of them to try and rewatch Killer Joe when I have the chance, even though I don’t like the thought of having to rewatch the entire film just to see the end.  I also feel apprehensive about returning to the Scotiabank Theatre to see the film.  Right now I don’t really have a choice, since it is the only theatre that it’s currently playing at.  However, part of me wants to see if it expands next weekend, so I can go see it at a different theatre.

If I could, I would go and rewatch Killer Joe today, since I absolutely hate having a lack of closure on my mind involving a film.  Going back to the State of Play cancellation in 2009, I ended up rewatching the film (at a different theatre) that evening.  Sadly I don’t have that option with Killer Joe and now I have to anxiously wait for my chance to see the film in full.

I am sure that many of the (mostly older) folks at that screening would see the incident today and decide that its not worth it to see a film again in the cinema.  To them, it would probably be easier to just watch a film at home with no disruption.  It’s no wonder that attendance at movie theatres are down.

Well, I have no choice but to move on.  I will probably rewatch Killer Joe before the week is through and I could put this event behind me.  However, I still lament the time that was taken away from me today that I will never be able to get back.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).