How to tame your movie experience: Drippy roofs and 70-minute dogs in Morristown

By Berit Ollestad

I was curious to find out just how much better the AMC theaters were after their extensive remodeling at Headquarters Plaza in Morristown.

Let’s start with the positives regarding my matinee experience. The entrance is far more inviting, without a doubt. In the Clearview Cinema days, I always felt like I was at a bank. The ticket sellers were behind an antiquated glass booth minus the glass.

The lap of luxury. Photo by Berit Ollestad.

The lap of luxury. Photo by Berit Ollestad.

After purchasing our tickets for How To Tame Your Dragon we headed upstairs, and that’s where the excitement started.

The screens are a big improvement. The (presumably) faux leather recliners are absolutely delicious. I’ve never been to a theater with such luxurious accommodations.

My mom, visiting from Seattle, recently visited a similar theater but those seats lacked the awesome reclining ability of Morristown’s.

The bathrooms are exceptionally clean and well stocked.

A nice place to set for a spell. Photo by Berit Ollestad

A nice place to set for a spell. Photo by Berit Ollestad

Here’s where we veer into the not-so-great. Temperatures outside were in the high 80s, so a movie seemed like the most obvious escape. I was looking forward to being flash-frozen, as usually happens at the cineplex. I even ran home to grab a sweater, fully expecting to become a human Popsicle.

I should have grabbed a beach towel instead. It felt more like July in Jersey inside. Another disappointment: No Fluffy (Eric Glover) at the entrance to flash his pearly white smile and legendary ticket-taking pantomime. But hey, we all need a day off from time to time.

Oh, and our particular theater still appeared to be under renovation. There was that unmistakable drip of a leaky roof!

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As we scouted our seats, we made another interesting observation. Broken ceiling tiles were strewn all over the floor.

The cheap seats. Photo by Berit Ollestad

The cheap seats. Photo by Berit Ollestad

I couldn’t help thinking that some individuals staying next door at the Hyatt would base their entire impression of the Garden State on this afternoon at the movies. Never mind all the great restaurants and fantastic people they encountered. One look at theater number one, and their stereotypes of New Jersey would be confirmed.

No more bank vault: The modern new entrance to Morristown's AMC theatres. Photo by Berit Ollestad

No more bank vault: The modern new entrance to Morristown’s AMC theatres. Photo by Berit Ollestad

And now, the best for last. Who doesn’t enjoy some munchies, or even lunch, at the movies? I figured I could splurge, thanks to a BYOC (bring your own crap) mentality that loaded my bag with gummy worms, juice boxes, soda, etc.

I decided to go all out and get my son an exorbitantly priced hot dog, and pretzel bites for mom. We were told it would take about 20 minutes for our fare to be ready. Okay, nobody was complaining of hunger pains just yet.

Twenty minutes came and went. Back at the concession counter, the fellow explained the food “wasn’t quite ready” and promised to bring it in to me.

Precisely 70 minutes after I placed the order, the much-anticipated hot dog arrived . By then my son was no longer hungry, thanks to a belly full of gummy worms and juice boxes.

I probably would have canceled the order, had it not been delivered with such an apologetic smile by the young man working the concession stand.

A suggestion to management: If you are going to offer a full menu of hot dogs, pizza, chicken tenders, sliders, ice cream and so forth, please staff the food operation appropriately.

Don’t expect one person to play Superman and service five different theaters. ┬áIf I’m paying six bucks for a hot dog, I would like to enjoy it with the movie–not as the credits are rolling,when I can pop over to 7-11 and get two dogs for one-third the price!

The movie?

Our unofficial critic (my 8 year old son) gave Dragon two thumbs up… and his mom a big hug and smile. Matinee: $19.75. Over-priced concessions: $13.50. Time with my family…priceless!

READY FOR TAKEOFF! First-class recliners at AMC cineplex at HQ Plaza. Photo by Berit Ollestad

READY FOR TAKEOFF! First-class recliners at AMC cineplex at HQ Plaza. Photo by Berit Ollestad

 

 



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