TRAVEL HERE: WELL, YOU CAN FORGET THE ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE AND CINEMA!
Talk about an epic fail! Alamo Drafthouse and Cinema recent mailing campaign would have to be the worse pratfall I’ve observed in a long time. I remember opening my mailbox and finding their thick laminated postcard a few weeks back. My first thought? “OMG! Imagine how much money it cost to send out this thing. ” I didn’t know what parameters they used, but I wasn’t exactly their in their neighborhood and I tried to calculate what kind of response rate they might get. (I know. I’ve spent entirely too many years in marketing and sales.)
Then the words “FREE” and “$25” grabbed my attention. Wary of one of those “you have already won” offers, I perused the card skeptically. After carefully reading the whole card, it seemed that a new movie theater was opening and they would give me $25 worth of free food, if I would just come watch a movie. I love going to the movies and I love eating – a perfect combo, but I was a little under the water with family commitments just then. So I put the bright shiny card on my desk a promised myself I’d try to go visit. I mean really, I have to check these things out for you, after all.
Then on the final Sunday night the offer was available, I found myself in a position where I could turn off my phone and go to the movies. It had been a long time since that was possible. But first we had to decide which movie to see. I, of course, wanted to see The Butler. Bill dislikes one of the stars so that was a no-go. None of the other movies sounded remotely interesting to me, but Bill thought Meet the Millers would be just the laughfest I needed right then. I doubted it, but I did want to do something that felt normal. So I slipped on my flip flops and headed to the car. The best part was that I didn’t even TAKE my phone.
Before the Movie
There was no crowd waiting at the ticket booth, but Sunday nights are slow pretty much everywhere, so that was no harbinger of things to come. Glancing around the lobby I saw a bar with several patrons and admired the old movie theater vibe they’d managed to capture. We found our seats in the appropriate theater and sat back to enjoy the experience.
They played a series of shorts and excerpts. The primary theme seemed to be video related to smoking weed. There were some clips from mainstream movies where marijuana was being smoked or discussed. Then there was some ridiculous comedy skit where a rapper made a DEA agent look like a fool. Most of that stuff I could do without, but there were some film clips from the forties and fifties similar to “Reefer Madness.” Those I found pretty funny. Bill didn’t find any of them even slightly entertaining. He would have much preferred trailers of coming attractions.
Then there was our server. He earned points for enthusiasm, but he was pretty lame at everything else. His schpiel included a pretty serious rant against cellphones, along with a number of threats about what would happen to us if we dared interrupt the film with our phones. I want theaters to be phone-free zones, but his admonitions were a little over the top. A bit later on the theater aired animated announcements of the same vein. He was obviously on message when he threatened our well being. Phones are not the only no-no. A quick whisper to your movie mate or an exhaled “WOW” would also be pretty dangerous at Alamo.
And here’s another beef. They took a drink order as soon as we found our seat, but we didn’t get the beverages until the lights went down. Since we showed up thirty minutes early to enjoy the promised pre-movie amenities, that was all wrong. What’s more, we were the first people on our row to arrive and place our order, but we were the last to get our drinks. That’s worse!
Really Bad Food
But the crowning glory of horror was the food. Even free food should be decent. It was cold. The bun was tough.The meat was greasy. I didn’t even finish the fries. (If you know me, you know that’s a real indicator of yuck food.) We really wished we’d stayed home, nuked us some frozen food and watched an episode of Pawn Stars or Say Yes to the Dress.
And the movie? OK, it had some funny parts, but only enough for about a thirty minute sitcom. (Newsflash: The Millers, a CBS sitcom airs October 3rd. So we paid to see a TV pilot?) Outside those funny thirty minutes, everything else was downright awful. Bill was not as disgusted as me, but then he likes Dumb and Dumber.
We will not be returning to Alamo. I don”t recommend it as a movie venue. If we absolutely had to have a meal with our movie, we might go Studio Movie Grill and someday I plan to go to LOOK, just to check it out, but we’ve pretty much decided that when it comes to movie dates, we’d rather go to dinner and then go to the movie. Not try to do both at the same time.
What about you? Do you like your movie and food at at the same place and have you found a theater where the food is actually good?