I recently took a flight to Los Angeles from Phoenix. These flights really should be easy. They last about an hour and they leave something like every 15 minutes. Yet every time I fly, thanks to heightened regulation, security and the removal of one's shoes, I can't help but repeat to myself this phrase, "Ah, the indignity of flight."
Well, that's nothing compared to the indignity of seeing a free movie.
My friends scored free tickets to see "Julie and Julia," the latest Meryl Streep flisk, dedicated to Julia Child. Thinking it would only appeal to a certain audience, I was unprepared for the huge crowd lined up at Arizona Mills, our sorta ghetto outlet mall. But I guess people will pretty much see anything for free.
The Harkins folks did their best to control the crowd, which was way bigger than the capacity of the theater. We three managed to slip into the last wave of people, high-fiving all the way down the hall. Until we got to the second line.
This line featured three security guards and a man yelling at people to "limit your ins and outs." In other words, don't plan to save your seat and then go to the bathroom. This line was dedicated to searching purses for cell phones or recording devices. Now, that is perfectly fair. It was a sneak preview. But they waited until people had been waiting for an hour before telling them they could not bring a cell phone.
And if they didn't happen to find your cell phone in your very messy purse (which, luckily happened for me), the security guards then used a wand to screen your body for hidden devices.
I totally understand the desire to keep out the riff raff. But the demeanor of these guards and the great lengths they achieved to anger their viewers made the experience a little less than magical.
It was supposed to be fun! Sneak preview of a cutesy movie about cooking and blogging! But instead of eagerly talking and reviewing the movie, all we could talk about was feeling like we had just visited a prison. My friend Catharyn was kicked out of line at one point because they discovered her old cell phone -- which did not have video capability, mind you -- and told her to put it in her car. Instead, she put her phone back in her wallet and got back in line. Made it seem like the security was all for show.
Bottom line, I don't think I'll be returning to Arizona Mills any time soon. And I am extremely disappointed in the Harkins brand, a local treasure here. Bon Appetit!