since i moved to London i've missed a lot of things.  one of these things is the movie experience.  you see, in England not all movies open at the same time as they do in the States -- only the biggest ones -- and often when they do open in England it's many weeks after you have gotten them in the U.S. theatres.  this sucks.  it's also harder to be "in the know" about little indie flicks here unless i read American websites and then seek them out over here months later.  maybe i haven't tapped into the right website or magazine yet, but since i got to London i've sorely missed the quirky oddball films i used to love so dearly.

also, i miss American movie theatres.  more specifically, i miss Los Angeles movie theatres.  places like the Arclight Cinema, where they have a cool gift shop, a sit-down restaurant and bar and reserved seating with gorgeous comfortable seats (not to mention stellar popcorn).  i even miss the Century City Mall theatre, which is a close second to the Arclight, and would even say that the Westside Pavilion Mall theatre (deserted as it was) is sorely missed.

in my new neighborhood of Hammersmith/Chiswick there is one movie theatre that's walking distance from my flat.  it's called Cineworld and i don't think a manager has inspected or upgraded anything inside it since the 1980s.  despite the fact that it has the latest big budget movies on offer, the letters on its marquis are falling off and/or crooked.  when you walk inside it's dreary and desolate with one hopelessly miserable worker behind a counter.  there's a rope system lined up for potential waiting customers, but there's never a line.  this cinema is two stories tall and it has a snack counter on both levels.  this seems a bit over the top considering the most people i've seen in a given theater hasn't exceeded about 7 people total.

and let's talk about the POPcorn here.  it's shitty.  plain and simple.  i think they make it every two days or so, and the last time i ate it it was almost chewy it was so stale, and the pieces themselves were tiny crumb-like bits.  i asked the girl behind the counter if there was any salt (the popcorn was flavorless) and she handed me a giant commercial-sized container of table salt.  so much for the glamour of the movies.

i also ordered a Diet Coke and was told that if i wanted ice in my drink i'd have to go downstairs for that.  being in Europe i half expected them to not put ice in the drink anyway, so i got what amounted to about a half gallon of all soda in my cup (which my movie partner proceeded to spill down the front of his shirt).

upon walking into the actual theatre you get two tiers of seats.  it doesn't matter where you decide to sit, i guarantee that at least one seat in every row will be torn or damaged and many will have their upholstery bandaged together with duct tape.  this is pathetic.  also, you can't sit in the seats near the fire exits because the safety "EXIT" light never goes out and it's got such a bright bulb in it that you can hardly pay attention to the movie on the screen.

this may all sound like futile complaining, and i know that if i was willing to venture on the tube into central London for a flick i would probably find a higher quality theatre somewhere over there, but the whole point is, i have a first-run theatre walking distance from my home and it sucks ass.

even the smallest towns in America have good movie theatres.  come on, London, step up to the plate.  gimme a movie theatre worth paying for.