Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

Complain in a way that doesn't annoy! (AWK-warrrrrd Part Two)

Sometimes complaining is needed. Also, sometimes, so is tempering that complaining.

As I said a few days ago, I'd been bothered that the Bagdad's Sunday afternoon screening of Big Trouble in Little China kept the restricted-audiences trailer for the very violent, sexed-up and illicit drug-influenced Heavy Metal: The Movie, when that screening was open for kids. (The trailer opens with drug-addled aliens voiced by Cheech and Chong discussing how to land a spaceship while deeply stoned.) I finally decided to write an e-mail about that to the Bagdad people.

The thing is, I'm not a fan of the "I have NEVER been SO offended EVER in my LIFE and I will NEVER patronize your business EVER again because you SO offended me" sort of complaining. I'd be lying, after all, as I like the Bagdad and am pretty sure the trailer thing was an aberration. (And I have no problems with kids 10 and up seeing Big Trouble in Little China; profanity aside, it's reasonably kid-friendly. Harlan Ellison didn't call its action "looney-tune-fu" for nothing.) So I wanted to temper what I said with a tone that showed that. I think I did it.

What follows is my exchange (with some slight edits) with the Bagdad's manager.

I clench my teeth a bit as I write this, because one thing happened that I wish hadn't at the Super Trash Film Festival. I went to the Sunday 2:00 p.m. showing of "Big Trouble in Little China," and felt the contact-embarrassment of having the red-band "Heavy Metal" trailer play at a screening where kids were allowed. Not what I want kids to see.

Were the trailers included with that particular print? I've been a projectionist, so I guess that it would've been awkward to fast-forward past the trailer had it been on that print, but maybe it would've been better to turn off the bulb for the length of that trailer. (I wish I'd thought to ask about that before the screening; I'd also seen "Big Trouble in Little China" late night Friday, so I knew the trailer was there. And I had no problem with the "TRON" trailer; if I did have a problem, you'd know I was an off-my-rocker complainer!)

Something to be more careful about in future screenings and festivals. I wouldn't want to ban kids from kid-friendly movies (I heard that the Super Trash programmer hopes to show Flash Gordon in future Super Trash fests, and I hope he gets it), and I also doubt that this particular problem will repeat.

This was the only thing that rubbed me the wrong way about Super Trash. I'm really glad you hosted it, and that it happened in the first place. I also attended the performance of the Famous Mysterious Actor show, and Sunday's "Road House" screening.

Chris Walsh
Chronological Adult
And the theater-pub's manager replied:

I am so sorry about the inappropriate trailer at the matinee. Agreed, it was not family friendly. I unfortunately didn't know that trailers were being put on until the last minute and was told that they were all family friendly. When I saw that on the screen Saturday I too cringed, and to be quite honest I can't believe none of my crew told me about it from the Friday night showing. I can assure you that this will not happen again.

I also want to thank you for the feedback on the festival. It was by all agreed a success. We as you probably saw, did have some film problems at the matinee and some production problems with the Famous Actor show, but were finally able to get it together. We learned a lot from this experience and hope that next year will be even better.

Thank you.
[manager's name]
Bagdad Theater and Pub

[Chris Note: BTiLC screened three times that weekend. I saw the first and third showings.]
And because it's impolite to ignore a reply, I sent a followup:
Thank you for the reply. Nice to have more confirmation that the Bagdad's a good place.

As a Cort and Fatboy listener, I'll be there for "The Princess Bride" next month...

Tags: film reviews, harlan

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