I work pretty regularly at my local cinema; selling tickets, distributing oversized popcorns and making coffees for the old timers etc. But more often than you might expect, part of the job is to make the decision for the customer about what film they are going to watch that day/night. There are people that come to the cinemas with no idea what they are going to watch. I find that unnatural. As far back as I can remember, I have made the trip to the cinema with an agenda to watch a specific film.
Of course, it depends on the person, but for the impatient and often late people that turn up and demand, "What's good?" or "What's Barnaby's Choice about?" or "Give me a run-down of every film you are showing within the next minute" (while I cut you off if you mention subtitles), I find little to admire. Get your shit together, people. The second quote, which I have heard on two occasions refers to 'Barney's Version' of course. But, because we work there, they believe we know everything about every film that is released (including what's playing at a rival multiplex), the kinds of films they interested in, and what fits into their schedule ("I have to be out by 6pm"). Often, it is quite easy to select a film. More often, it is not so.
Well, the other day I went through one of these processes of discussing the various films we were showing. I have seen nearly all of them, so I often prove to be very helpful. This lady and her husband were very nice and wanted to make an informed viewing decision. With the cost of going to the movies these days, I sympathised, but still felt daunted by their trust in a complete stranger to decide what they should see. I ended up recommending Incendies and talked them out of their more favoured selection, How I Ended Last Summer. After the film, they came over and especially thanked me for my patience, my detailed mini-reviews, and my final recommendation. They are yet to see a better film this year, they said. I agree.
Well, I felt quite proud of myself, and it is one of the features I like most about the job. The fact that I watch and review a lot of films and have a passion for cinema is what makes me an excellent cinema employee. Most employees feel that this is not a necessary trait, and it's not. But to get through the day without being overcome with frustration at the frequent bizarre questions, I think it pays to know a thing or two about film. Your average customer does not. I certainly do not want this job forever, but for now I'm pretty content with it.