Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Daily Reads: Great Movies Almost Made By Different Directors, 'SNL's' Edgiest Sketch of All Time and More Daily Reads: Great Movies Almost Made By Different Directors, 'SNL's' Edgiest Sketch of All Time and More Daily Reads: The Best 'Law & Order' Episodes, the Fall TV Season's Worst New Show and More Daily Reads: The Best 'Law & Order' Episodes, the Fall TV Season's Worst New Show and More Criticwire Classic of the Week: Fritz Lang's 'M' Criticwire Classic of the Week: Fritz Lang's 'M' FX's 'Married,' With Judy Greer and Nat Faxon, Could Find Just the Right Balance of Bitter and Sweet FX's 'Married,' With Judy Greer and Nat Faxon, Could Find Just the Right Balance of Bitter and Sweet 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible Now Streaming: 'It's Such a Beautiful Day' and 'Los Angeles Plays Itself' Now Streaming: 'It's Such a Beautiful Day' and 'Los Angeles Plays Itself' 'The Duke of Burgundy': With Butterflies and BDSM, a Kinky Romance Woos Critics 'The Duke of Burgundy': With Butterflies and BDSM, a Kinky Romance Woos Critics With Kelly Reilly as a Bipolar Neurologist, ABC's "Black Box" Is Crazy Bad With Kelly Reilly as a Bipolar Neurologist, ABC's "Black Box" Is Crazy Bad Augustus Waters: 'The Fault in our Stars' Manic Pixie Dream Guy Augustus Waters: 'The Fault in our Stars' Manic Pixie Dream Guy 'Do the Right Thing' Tops The Dissolve's 50 Greatest Movie Pop Music Moments with Public Enemy's 'Fight the Power' 'Do the Right Thing' Tops The Dissolve's 50 Greatest Movie Pop Music Moments with Public Enemy's 'Fight the Power' Daily Reads: The Problem with 'Forrest Gump,' the Lowdown on Malick's Latest and More Daily Reads: The Problem with 'Forrest Gump,' the Lowdown on Malick's Latest and More 'The Look of Silence' Reviews: A Worthy Companion to 'The Act of Killing,' or 'The Best Nonfiction Film Ever Made'? 'The Look of Silence' Reviews: A Worthy Companion to 'The Act of Killing,' or 'The Best Nonfiction Film Ever Made'? This Is How Entertainment Weekly Says "I'm Sorry" This Is How Entertainment Weekly Says "I'm Sorry" As Shock Waves Spread, "The Good Wife" Takes Stock of Grief As Shock Waves Spread, "The Good Wife" Takes Stock of Grief 'Gravity's Companion Short, 'Aningaaq,' Finally Hits the Web 'Gravity's Companion Short, 'Aningaaq,' Finally Hits the Web The Criticwire Survey: Paul Thomas Anderson's Best Film The Criticwire Survey: Paul Thomas Anderson's Best Film Barbed Wire: 'The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure' Barbed Wire: 'The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure' First Reviews: 'Let's Be Cops' – Nah, But Thanks Anyway First Reviews: 'Let's Be Cops' – Nah, But Thanks Anyway Lianne Spiderbaby Plagiarism Inspires Anger, Sorrow Lianne Spiderbaby Plagiarism Inspires Anger, Sorrow

No Coffee in the Theater, Even For Critics

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire April 5, 2012 at 10:50AM

Out in San Diego, critics are steaming over a new rule. Get it? Steaming? With the coffee and the drinking and the, eh whatever.
1
"Clerks."
"Clerks."

Out in San Diego, a controversy is brewing (stop groaning, you love it).  In the San Diego Reader, Scott Marks writes about a recent change in policy at the local AMC multiplex where many critics attend press screenings.  While these journalists were formerly allowed to bring whatever snacks they wanted into the theater -- including coffee, most importantly -- AMC is now enforcing their rules about outside food or drink, which means San Diego critics are boiling with rage.  Or rather they would be boiling with rage if they weren't so sleepy due to their lack of caffeine.

To prove why he and his fellow critics should be allowed their cup of joe, Marks proposes a hypothetical example:

"Little Scooter's parents want to rent an auditorium at AMC Fascist Valley to throw a birthday party for their adoring tyke. They arrive with 30 ill-mannered toddlers and a Carvel Cookie Puss cake in tow. Are you going to tell me that the heartless bastards at AMC would dare deny little Scooter the joy of sharing his special birthday cake with friends and loved ones? One person's cake is another person's coffee. In both cases, it's a private rental. When last I checked, neither Cookie Puss nor his sweetmeat sidekicks Hug-Me Bear and Fudgie the Whale were currently playing at an AMC snack counter near you. Neither is a freshly-brewed pot of coffee at 10 a.m.  Either have a pot of hot stuff brewing at point of purchase or let us smuggle in our own containers of forty weight."

I don't have a problem with a movie theater enforcing its rules equally for all its customers; if we've learned anything this week, it's that critics are no better than anyone else.  But it does seem a bit cruel -- not to mention shortsighted from a business perspective -- not to allow critics in with an overpriced cup of coffee when you simultaneously refuse to sell them an even more overpriced cup of coffee from your concession stand.  Likewise, from a publicity perspective, the last thing a publicist wants is a cranky audience grumbling about the lack of java and dividing their attention between the screen and their unfed addictions.  You'd think someone -- a manager looking to make a few extra bucks, a PR rep looking to maintain the most ideal screening environment for her clients -- could find a solution to this dilemma.

Still, let me propose one other reason why it might behoove a theater chain not to permit writers on the premises with a beverage or any other consumable foodstuffs: film critics are slobs.  Last weekend I was at a private screening room with a strict no food or drink policy.  For whatever reason, the staff was being leinent this Saturday afternoon, and were letting people in with whatever they brought with them. After the second of three screenings, I noticed an enormous pile of crumbs in the aisle behind me; it looked like an explosion at a bread factory.  Whoever'd made the mess was long gone, too.  They hadn't stuck around to help clean it up.

If you let critics with food into an early morning screening, you have to keep a cleaning crew on hand to sweep up after their slovenly asses.  As Marks points out, these critics screenings are held before the theater opens, and thus before most of the staff comes in.  So their no food policy may have less to do in this case with wanting to make a little extra money and more to do with wanting to save a little money.

San Diego movie criticism.  Such a grind.

[H/T Movie City News]


E-Mail Updates