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Thursday, May 15, 2003

Went to see The Matrix - Reloaded last night. Gotta see it again. Good flick. And an interesting commentary on religion. Can't go into that and spoil it for everyone else. People will be talking soon enough.

But I gotta say, I'm just not willing to keep going to Century theaters when AMC does it better. First there's the difference between Movietickets.com and Fandango. On Fandango, you pay a $1 service fee per ticket. On Movietickets.com, it's fifty cents, or better yet, it's free with a MovieWatcher card. And that's another thing - the Moviewatcher card they gave me almost always spits out some sort of incentive. Sometimes it's free popcorn or a free soda, but every 15 or so tickets, it's a free movie ticket. And that adds up fast when I buy two at a time. Another difference between Fandango and Movietickets.com is that on Fandango, they warn you extensively that these tickets are non-refundable, and if you don't have the printout or the confirmation or the credit card, too bad, you're screwed. With Movietickets.com and AMC, if you need to change to a different showing, just go to the customer service desk at the theater before the show starts and they'll gladly exchange your tickets or even provide a refund.

All that aside, when I get to the theater, that's where it really matters. Picking up my tickets is always quick and easy with the ABOs (Automated Box Office) at AMC, and it's still easy if I don't do prepurchase tickets on line. And when things go wrong, AMC theaters have a customer service desk that's always happy to assist, even in some wild and wacky situations like the time I left my wallet at home but they could get my tickets for me by other means. And then when I sit down in the theaters, universally, AMC theaters have much better seating. Century has taken a weird approach where they alternate rows of love seats and rockers, which basically means that if you're in a love seat row, it makes British Airways seating look spacious. Last night at Shoreline, the guy in front of me casually sat down and smacked his seat back into my knees rather painfully. And that's with someone who is a mere 5 feet tall in the seat. Anyone taller would be in agony. And getting out to pee in the middle of a movie involves causing a major disruption because everyone you pass is forced to stand up. So not only do you disrupt your row, but also the people behind you. And sometimes my bladder is just not mighty enough for a long movie. At the AMC theaters, more space is left between rows, and all the stadium seats are non-rocking, wide-butt loveseats. Getting out to pee usuallly involves very little disruption beyond someone having to pull their bag out of the aisle.

So I guess this is my notice. Hopefully my friends will choose AMC theaters (The Mercado, Saratoga 14, or Emery Bay) and Movietickets.com in the future for group movie outings, otherwise, I will likely not be joining them. Unless it's for something at the Grand Lake theater. That's a whole other animal for which I'll gladly give up the conveniences of online ticketing and stadium seating. The acoustics in that place, and the pure grandeur of the old movie palace still make it a better choice for a perfect movie going experience.

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