At times, I think my dream vacation involves traveling the world and watching a movie in a theater wherever I stop. But despite the fact that I'm a theater geek (as Erik Davis recently pointed out), I do have other interests, and, surprisingly, moviegoing is not usually my primary objective when I take a trip. I am often curious, though, and occasionally I'll check out a cinema in another land, especially if it's a cinema unlike those I frequent at home (such as the El Cerrito Speakeasy). However, after my visit to a faraway theater this past week, I have an additional reason to consider my dream vacation to be something entirely else: cross-country moviegoing would be really, really depressing.
Because I've never been on a cinema tour, I can't say for sure, but I'm assuming that a lot of neighborhood multiplexes around the U.S. lean toward the side of dissatisfactory moviegoing experiences. Whether a corporate-owned or independent business, there are a lot of reasons that a movie theater may be underwhelming its customers on a frequent basis. Look at the usual complaints from Cinematical commenters: expensive concessions and ticket prices, dirty auditoriums, too many advertisements and ill-mannered audience members are constantly cited as excuses for why people don't go to the movies. But more than all these typical reasons is the worst offense of all: poor exhibition.