Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Guilt Trip

Last Friday my wife found free tickets for a screening of the Guilt Trip (starring Seth Rogan & Barbara Streisand) at the SilverCity in Gloucester Centre.  The tickets were courtesy of GoFobo where you can be invited to a screening of a movie before opening day.  Just don't expect any stars to show up as this isn't a traditional Hollywood prescreening. 

After eating our sandwiches on Monday evening we headed off on the rainy / snowy evening to the theatre.  On the tickets we printed ourselves GoFobo says to arrive early so as to not be dissapointed.  We arrived at 5:45 P.M. for the 7:00 P.M. screening only to find no indication as to where to go.  We walked over to one of the entrances to ask a ticket taker.  He looked at two people behind him for guidance.  These two people were setting up something for an event.  They signalled for us to go to the main ticket area to exchange our printed tickets for SilverCity issued tickets.

We walked over and got into line at the ticket counter.  To SilverCity's credit we moved at a steady pace as the ticket wickets were decently staffed.  We got to the front and handed over our computer printed tickets.  The ticket taker was a little confused, she had another set of computer printed tickets in front of her but had to call her manager over.  The manager came over and said we should go visit the gentlement next to SilverCity's ticketing area. 

We slid aside and the gentlemen said he was from GoFobo and explained to us and another group of four that normally they don't start taking tickets until an hour before the screen time. He looked at his watch and realized it was 5:55 P.M. and he just said he was going to be taking tickets in 5 minutes while not even being close to ready as he was short a table and his handheld scanner wasn't qued up.  I signalled to him that two people were setting up a table near the cinema itself next to the ticket taker.  The GoFobo gentlemen thanked me for my observation but dismissed these two as possibly cell phone promotional team.  He signaled for the manager of SilverCity that he was missing a table.  The manager and GoFobo representative dissappeared.  Two other employees appeared and set up the table.   At this point GoFobo didn't seem ready for a prescreening despite requesting people to show up early.  But the disorganization goes from there.

At about 6:05 P.M. the GoFobo representative was ready to start scanning tickets.  But one hitch was the preprinted rippable tickets from SilverCity Gloucester Centre showed a screening time of 7:30 P.M. instead of the GoFobo computer printed tickets that said 7:00 P.M.   The GoFobo representative asked the SilverCity manager to screen the movie at 7:00 P.M.  A few V.I.P. tickets were scanned before GoFobo started to scan the tickets of those who dutifully signed up and printed off.  

We were then asked to go over to Cinema 1  and wait outside the theatre.  As it turned out the two people earlier setting up near the SilverCity Ticket taker were from Ottawa's Hot 89.9 radio station.  They had set up a banner outside of the Cinema.  We were lined up outside the theatre and asked to wait for over thirty minutes.  With about 10 minutes left before we were let in, the SilverCity Manager stopped by, said we were going to be let in but the line needed to tighten up as two theatres were going to empty soon.  We tightened up like cattle headed into the slaughterhouse for ten more minutes. 

At 6:35 P.M. we were let into the empty Cinema 1 and sat down.  The reason for the delays as the theatre wasn't apparently ready?  Hot 89.9 had to set up their portable speaker, microphone and soundboard to play their on air music and have two of their roadies insincerely welcome us to the screening.  Great, organization by both GoFobo and Hot 89.9 for cross promoting this screening then not getting it together so ticketing and seating could occur in an organized fashion.  Perhaps the wait outside the theatre was a way to try and create buzz for the screening so other movie goers would see us lining up for the prescreening of Guilt Trip.  It left many of us in line wondering if GoFobo and Hot 89.9 were really that organized of companies to even coordinate showing a movie.

Once everyone was seated, the Hot 89.9 radio station brought up someone who welcomed us to the screening and then proceeded to hand out only 4 loot bags as prizes.  The loot bags consisted of a movie poster and a cloth bag.  Great, hand out only 4 cloth bags, they could have given one to everyone in the theatre as there were only about 100 of us there. Suggestion: if you are going to encourage people to come early to a screening, then perhaps give out bags to the first so many customers who show up.  That is what the Toronto Blue Jays do during giveaway days.

After the giveaway the radio station person hoped we enjoyed the screening.  We then had to wait another five minutes for the disassembly, the good byes of the three people from Hot 89.9 to leave and the GoFobo representative to take his seat.  By the time movie started it was 7:05 P.M.  Yes GoFobo which prescreens movies from Paramount and Fox can't even start a screening on time. 

The movie itself was a delightful comedy about a mother (Barbara Streisand) whose grown up son (Seth Rogan) invites her on a cross country car trip from New Jersey to San Francisco to sell a new cleaning product.  The movie took a little while to get started with the son visiting his mother for a day and then asking her about the road trip to San Francisco.  The dumb part was when the mother had to hedge whether she was going on the trip or not. 

Let's stop right there, if the mother decides to stay home, we have no movie.  There is no "Guilt Trip" of mother and son driving across America.  If she decides to go with her son, we are good to go with the movie plotlines. So why the dilly dallying?  Get on with it!

The mother and son depart from New Jersey and the movie advances along between car scenes, hotel scenes, scenes where the son is attempting to peddle his product to prospective buyers.  Throughout this of course are attempts at humour.  At the beginning the jokes seemed kind of lame and not well written.  As the movie progressed thow there were a few guffaws but nothing hillariously funny that I fell into the aisle.  The storyline though was endearing especially the scene at the end involving the son and mother in San Francisco.  No, there was not a sale in San Francisco of the cleaning product but something involving love that provided a quirky ending.  You will have to see the movie to find out. 

The movie was definatly not Oscar material but did provide for an interesting night out.  It won't be the best comedy you will ever see but it won't be the worst comedy you will ever see. 

Overall GoFobo needs to get things together.  This was the second movie screening we had seen (our first was in Richmond Hill) and making prospective customers to wait in the hallway like cattle going to slaughter seemed a little much when there was an empty theatre available doesn't seem right.  Add to this the ticketing issues of not being ready despite requesting customers come early also added to the frustration.  If this was a half price movie deal I would have left due to the unorganization of the event by GoFobo and Hot 89.9.  Hopefully on the next event SilverCity, GoFobo and whomever the radio station is will pull up their socks otherwise they need to have a serious Guilt Trip of their own.

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