I’m on record as saying the Angelika Film Center & Cafe on Carmel Mountain Road is my favorite theatre. I like the reclining seats and their cheeseburgers. As someone that is 6’1” and…well, nevermind my weight…having the extra room in the seats is also nice. I’ve joked that I’m so comfortable I fall asleep when the seats are that relaxing, but…I’ve fallen asleep in the crampy, crappy seats of the AMC Mission Valley, too.
It blew me away to hear about a theatre chain in Switzerland that is putting beds into the theatres. The first thing I thought is how annoying it would be to spend $20 on a movie ticket only to fall fast asleep. That’s what “Netflix and chill” is all about.
I remember the first time I ever witnessed someone sleeping in a movie theatre. I had gone to visit my grandmother in L.A. and we went to see Soapdish (Robert Downey, Jr., Kevin Kline, Sally Field) in the early ‘90s. I heard her snoring 20 minutes into it, and she didn’t wake up until 15 minutes before it ended. As we walked out and I was telling her how funny it was, I laughed just about as hard as anything in the movie when she responded, “I didn’t think it was that good.”
Other than falling asleep (a work hazard if you’re a movie critic), my big fear has always been head lice. I had read a story in the newspaper 30 years ago saying that the two biggest ways lice spread was from kids wearing each others hats and sharing hair brushes, and movie theatre seats. Now with beds, I’m going to be thinking about lice, and possibly bed bugs. Even though the theatre in Switzerland said they’ll clean and change the bed sheets after each showing, do we really trust some pimply faced 16-year-old kid? I can’t count the amount of times I’ve gone into movie theatres and there is still trash in my cup holder, and sticky stuff on the floor. Normally I think sticky stuff on the floor is a spilled Cherry Coke and melted Milk Duds. I don’t want to imagine where my brain will go when there’s stuff in the bed I find. And we all know that person that hates sleeping in beds at hotels because they don’t think they’re clean. They probably wouldn’t step foot into a theatre like this. I’d use a black light over the thing like I was one of those reporters working on Dateline.
I’m also one of those old cranky guys that tells people to be quiet when they start talking (I’m a lot more tolerant of people turning on their cell phones to check the time or text). I can only imagine how mad I’d get when I hear someone next to me snoring. And what about that young couple on a date night that’s having a little too much fun at the movies? You think couples won’t be doing that? We see people doing that on the beach under blankets in the day time that do this.
My wife just made the comment the other day when we were leaving the Reading Town Square in Clairemont. She saw a sign for the “Crybaby Matinees.” She wondered how enjoyable it was going to be for parents to bring their crying babies to a movie. Perhaps not all that enjoyable, but it’s certainly more enjoyable for the audiences that normally have to deal with a crying baby that nobody can figure out why it was brought to a loud movie like Avengers: Endgame.
Cinemas Pathe in Spreitenbach, Aargau (which I hear is lovely this time of year), has devoted one entire theatre to double beds. I can’t believe there isn’t one water bed. That would be so much more fun when watching Jaws, The Meg, Open Water, Finding Nemo, etc. I do seem to recall a theatre in the U.S. years ago that had a few bean bag chairs, but nothing like this.
The beds at Cinemas Pathe have headboards that are soft, nightstands in which you can put your soda and purse. There are only 11 beds, which is enough room for 22 viewers (math was always my strong suit). There are also blankets and pillows, so you don’t have to bring your own.
When I found out the price of tickets, I was shocked. It’s $49 a ticket, per person. So for a couple, that would be….oh hell, maybe I’m not so great at math, but it’s a lot. Yet what makes it a better deal than you realize is, you get unlimited soft drinks and snacks. With the price of popcorn and sodas at theatres, you could get up to $100 easy with regular priced tickets. I’m just more curious as to how you munch on popcorn and M&Ms while you’re laying down. I see myself choking on a green M&M (which doesn’t sound nearly as cool as those rock stars that choke on their own vomit).
I also wonder how soon until some people eat so many snacks, they put a cap on that. Remember when theatres first offered unlimited popcorn, and they quickly changed that to one refill?
Guests are allowed to arrive 30 minutes early. If I was dropping $100 for a movie, I’d take advantage of that, and start all my eating of Red Vines and popcorn at the 29 minute mark before the film starts. Side note: as much as I love Red Vines, what I want to know is…if it’s unlimited, can I get 10 packages of them? Or, would they ask to see the empty box that I finished, to make sure I wasn’t just asking for extras to take home? These are the questions my devious mind wants to know when that much money is spent.
For those that are on a first date and think the bed might be rushing things, the theatre offers a “VIP Lounge” ticket, which is the same price, and offers sofas and loveseats instead, with plenty of legroom.
Oh, and even though you’re paying more for the comfort, you’ll also have to pay a few extra dollars if it’s a 3D movie or something in IMAX.
I think I’ll be content with the Angelika Film Center. I love their cheeseburgers and chocolate chip cookies and for $100, I could buy a lot of those there. Not sure how many because again — math.
See you at the theatre.