Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Multiplex Life: extra nacho cheese please!

If you ever want to see the underbelly of humanity and decide that working at a WWF wrestling venue isn’t for you, then I recommend employment at your local cinema multiplex. During graduate school, I too worked at a 12 screen multiplex (But in the UK, where we serve alcohol in the cinema!). On the positive side, since I worked up to 14 hours a shift, I almost never saw the sun, finishing work after 3 a.m., waiting out the midnight showings and then hunting down and clearing out the drunks and couples having sex. On the negative side, I got to see, hear and touch humans all night long, including cleaning up enough garbage in one shift to make me swear off nacho cheese for life.

Because of my “distinctive” personality, I was the person to make announcements in sold out and special screenings. First, because I could actually get people to move over in a sold-out screen and second because I got people genuinely excited about the film; or wanting to kill me. My favorite was Harry Potter openings, as I would stand in front of 1200 kids and parents and tell them, “I can’t wait for this film! Finally Malfoy is the hero. Down with Harry Potter! Come on, everyone, chant with me: Slytherin! Slytherin! Slytherin!” You just haven’t lived until you have hundreds of children booing at you and screaming out “Gryffindor!” Or having a serious six year old girl tell you that “Harry Potter is going to get you.”

The opening of Star Wars was pretty wild, but also where I met my all time favorite costumed fan. He wasn’t dressed as Luke, or Vader, or Leia (thank goodness). You remember in Star Wars: New Hope, where the rebels are making an attack on the Death Star and one pudgy guy with mustache just keeps saying “Stay on target, stay on target!” until he gets blown out of the sky? Yup, this fan paid hundreds of dollars in specialist costuming to look just like Jek Porkins, a.k.a. Red Six. You gotta love a guy who chooses a bit player for a hero. He saw the film four times the first day.

Try the online comic Multiplex if you want a taste-test of cinema life and career options. Though it cannot capture the stunned speechless nature of daily work there: like when management asked us to clean out a stopped toilet…with our hands, or when parents asked for refunds for Disney’s Atlantis because “they didn’t know it was a foreign film” leaving us to explain that a) there are only 2 minutes of subtitles at the beginning where the Atlantians are speaking and b) there is no language Atlantian, it’s fiction...please enjoy the show. Or when a customer refuses the assigned seat because of the skin colour of the person next to them, or when you have to call security for a guy caught masturbating during the Harry Potter film, or when a film runs BACKWARDS for 20 minutes and not one of the 300 people watching come out to us to say anything (“We’d heard it was kinda arty” they explain afterward). Ahhh, the good old multiplex days.


elizabeth said...

Harry Potter IS going to get you. (You Slytherin scum. lol)

GayProf said...

Your multiplex had assigned seats?

Liquor in theaters would be great! I would never need to try to find a valuable human relationship ever again. Plus, liquor would help kill the pain of how bad both Superman and Wonder Woman films are going to be (Nope, I am still not convinced).

thephoenixnyc said...

A man dressed as Red 5. Brilliant.

Elizabeth McClung said...

elizabeth: yeah, he is - but I tell you, no other crowd screamed as much pure joy at seeing Harry Potter show up for the first time on film as the one that I riled up.

Gay prof: yeah, they phased it out later becuase it required them to hire people who could read, write AND point a flashlight. The most popular drink option was for chick flicks where this guy (striaght from the trailer park) comes with his girlfriend to a romantic comedy, heads straight for the bar, gets his bottle of wine and glass and she drags him out two hours later going, "Every time! We can't go to a simple movie without you....blah blah"

Pheonix: Thanks for the tip - red, not gold - scary how many fan sites there are for this guy - guess he really is a Nerd-in-Space sort of hero.

funchilde said...

f'ing hilarious. great post. i just found your blog last week and have probably spun through the entire thing. your wit and style keep me in smiles.

funchilde said...

hey! thanks for the comment on my blog, now i can't figure out how to get you out of "moderator" hell. anyway, i need to check out some more of your posts but i can see you and elizabeth m both have senses of humor that i like.

elizabeth said...

Hey Beth - Sorry I've been stealing your friends (lol) and they are leaving messages here for me. Hope that's okay. ;-D