The Proposal gone wrong

You might guess that my proclivity in movie watching would be of the romantic comedy bent, and you would be right. I am a rom com girl. BUT ONLY IF THEY ARE SMART. I can stand those insipid ones that mock my intelligence. Like look, Hollywood, I am not stupid, don’t skimp on the clever scripts and plots please.

So when I saw the ads for The Proposal I was intrigued, not because one of my most long standing cute-brown-hair-girl-crushes is in it, but I liked the set up of a “forced marriage.” This is rarely possible in Contemporary Romances since our society and culture these days does not require it, but ever so popular in my historical romances and I heart this trope, so I was very curious to see how it was done in the movie.


But Washington, DC conspired against me, this is an epic tale, but stick with me to the tail of the tale (this is foreshadowing people). We had three theatre choices at 4pm on Friday:

  1. Georgetown: hard to get to from where we live, need 2 buses or 1 bus and walk
  2. Chinatown: 10 min metro ride with no transfers, but sort of ghetto theatre
  3. FriendshipHeights: 30 min metro ride with no transfers, nice theatre

We decided on Chinatown since it was closest and we could lounge on the couch until it was close to go-time. MISTAKE NUMBER ONE. Since the movie had been out for at least a week and we were planning on being a bit early we didn’t buy tickets in advance. MISTAKE NUMBER TWO.

We arrive at the movie theatre 45 minutes before the movie is set to start, PLENTY of time. But first we had an epic sidewalk battle with the 4th of July tourists and then push our way through the doors as there were loiterers blocking them.

As we sidle up to our trusty credit card machines (that have no line, yay!) a long arm shoots out of nowhere accompanied by a disembodied voice that mumbles indistinctly, “Can’t buy tickets here. Not until 7pm.” We look up, and up and up, and finally find the face of the movie theatre employee some 6 feet above us. He was looking off into the distance, cell phone pressed to his ear. We didn’t ask him why we couldn’t buy tickets now. MISTAKE NUMBER THREE.

Sighing, we trudged to the end of the looong regular ticket booth line, about 40 people in front of us at this point. Looking up at the board all the movie times were for 7pm or later, and this was at 3:30pm. I told hubby (yes he agreed to see a rom com with me, i recognize how lucky i am) that maybe it was because the movies earlier than 7pm were all sold out. He did not agree, said it was no big deal as everyone knows this theatre is crappy, it’s just a simple error. MISTAKE NUMBER FOUR. We continued to stand, watching as more people are turned away from the credit card machines.

Finally after shuffling forward mere inches in 15 minutes I decide to find out why all the showtimes on the board in the ticket booth are for 7pm or later. Circling the ticket booth  I see no employees, so figure I’ll see if I can get any more info out of the taciturn giant guarding the credit card ticket machines.

“Excuse me…excuse me? Hello?” Finally his eyes turn towards me. “Why are all the times on the board 7pm or later?”

“Uh, cuz we had some ‘lectric computer problems. We’re not showing any movies until after 7.”

“What?! You are not playing any movies for another FOUR HOURS???!”


I don’t even bother to berate him for lack of signage or ANY sort of warning, just sprinted back to hubby to impart the bad news. This is the kind of thing that makes him really mad (and rightly so) but I knew I would have the bear the brunt of the anger since it was my idea to see the movie, and I agreed on the Chinatown location. Steeling myself for his reaction, which was as I expected, I tried to calm him down as we got out of line. Everyone around us heard what I said and about 10 people asked, “Did you just say they’re not playing any movies for another 4 hours?!” Upon my confirmation about another 15 people left the line as well. SO ANNOYING THAT NO ONE WAS TOLD THE MOVIE THEATRE WAS BROKEN. Arrrgh, incompetence pisses me off sooo much.

Hubby recovered his spririts on the walk back to the metro as he played with his Blackberry because he found another showtime at Union Station and we had 20 minutes to get there. We hopped on the red line, had another sidewalk battle/train station battle with all the travelers and made our way down to the cinema in the basement. After paying $20 for two tickets (lame!) I ran to save seats, but there were only 6 other people there, I thought to myself, “We should come here more often!” MISTAKE NUMBER I DON’T REMEMBER.

Hubby surprised me with popcorn and a Cherry Coke without my even asking, and we settled in to enjoy the previews which were just starting. Sighing contentedly we patted ourselves on the back for our good timing.

The movie was fabulous, I laughed so hard I cried. I cried so hard I laughed at myself. I laughed so hard I slapped my knee (dorky!) and it made a really loud noise in the nearly empty room. I would HIGHLY recommend it.

Then an hour into the movie, 3 little vertical lines appeared on the screen, distorting the image only minorly. No one left the theatre to tell someone about it. MISTAKE #89. An hour and a half into the movie, the picture split, cutting Sandra’s beautiful head in half. NO ONE LEFT THE THEATRE FOR 10 MINUTES. Finally I had had enough and got up to go tell someone. I wandered around for 5 minutes but couldn’t find anyone, so rushed back as I would rather see Sandra’s head cut in half than not at all. The image was still distorted, we were just a bunch of idiots I guess, thinking it would fix itself. About 10 minutes later it did.

Leaving the theatre, hubby told the manager about the screen issues, she offered free passes to come back again. He said he would prefer a refund. She said we had already seen the movie so couldn’t have one. He sighed and said, “I really didn’t want to bring this up, I but I saw a rat in our theatre, so I would really rather not return.”


Final score:

  • Theatres in DC: 0
  • The Proposal: 1

13 Responses

  1. That sounds like an outing FAIL. Was the Proposal really that good? I already wrote it off as a terrible romantic comedy.

  2. Pho: i thought it was pretty good, and hubby didn’t feel like killing himself or me afterwards and he is a pretty harsh critic of rom coms.

  3. That, is exactly how I remember Union Station’s theater. It’s been about 5+ years since I’ve been there. But, apparently, some things never change.

    And the Chinatown theater should be ashamed of itself. Ashamed.

  4. Are we talking about the Chinatown Regal? Because that is a gorgeous theater! I mean, I’m not such a fan of its location — I don’t like heights — but it’s clean, new, and well maintained.

    I first saw League of Their Own at Union Station, and I remember thinking the theater was gorgeous. I went back for the first time since a few months ago to see Fanboys — clearly, run down, and understaffed. I went to an 11am Saturday showing and the woman in the ticket box had to call to see if someone was available to start the movie.

  5. (Er, my comment is in regards to it being called “ghetto”)

  6. f.B: i don’t think the Union Station theatre’s changed in 5 years, or 15 or more…Or been cleaned properly in that long too

    Malnurtured Snay: yes the Regal. It is clean and nice and big (twss?) but i didn’t elaborate on “ghetto” since i didn’t want to get myself in trouble, but what the hell…

    i meant the clientele at the theatre, my fellow movie goers there piss me off, all immature city kids, shouting at the screen, calling out “no she DIDN’T” and throwing popcorn. like 50% of the audience.

  7. haha, i do hate the union station theatre too. i’m never going back.

    the WORST one i’ve ever been to was in landmark (way out in va) a few years ago. the problems were piling up, but the icing on the cake was when we got to our theater and the first 15 or so rows were roped off with yellow tape… because there was STANDING WATER in the entire front of the theater. which had clearly been there for more than 24 hours. my dad was with us and he got a little yelly with the management – i believe “mold poisoning” was mentioned – and they STILL wouldn’t refund our tickets, even though the movie hadn’t even started before we left. still pisses me off.

  8. I’m completely spoiled by living 5 minutes from Tyson’s Corner, which has gorgeous theaters. Plus, they show all first run movies for $6 before noon. Um, I’m up before noon! I can always make it there.

    But this experience sounds wretched! I’m so sorry!

  9. Alice: that is GAHross! and I can’t believe they wouldn’t refund. Customer service FAIL.

    Kati: Hi, thanks for visiting!!! All the retail stuff in Tysons is so shiny and nice, lucky you, and I love going to matinees/early shows too!

  10. um, i don’t know dc theaters. i feel so left out. sniffle. it is quite a discussion though, AFTER picking out a movie then you gotta choose a frickin theater. too many theaters around here as well if you ask me (no there’s not, i like them. except for the one that smells like pee. i don’t like that one).

    BUT! i’m glad the movie was good. i’m usually not a rom com gal but ryan reynolds….

  11. Becky: i wouldn’t like the one that smells like pee either. and seeing ryan reynolds naked in the movie certainly improved the quality of the film ;)

  12. OMG! What a terrible adventure you two had. I have to recommend that it’s totally worth driving out to Tyson’s and seeing films at Tyson’s Corner. Since moving back here it’s the only theatre (minus an outing with friends to Silver Spring Magestic Theater on Sunday for YEAR ONE) that we frequent. But as for staying in the city limits, I really love the Georgetown movie theatre even though they ripped down THE BAYOU concert venue to build it.

  13. LOL Sounds like it was far from the relaxing experience that going to the movies is supposed to be. I can’t imagine the theatres around me being in that kind of condition or the staff being that rude and clueless. The beef I have with going to the movies is you pay $8 for the movie and then over $10 for popcorn and pop!!! That must be about a 200% profit on the food/drinks. Yet what is a movie without it?

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