Posts Tagged ‘Rubber’

Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim League Leads The Way With Consumer Care

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Official response to those who disrupted the screening of Rubber last Friday
by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 6:21am

Last Friday during a screening of RUBBER at the Ritz, there was a group of patrons in the theater who were talking and being disruptive during the film. Three conscientious patrons raised flags to complain about the talkers, yet the talkers were not thrown out and the problem persisted throughout the film.

First off, let me say to anyone whose moviegoing experience was disrupted, I am truly sorry. I cannot abide people talking during the movie and personally developed our system that is supposed to stop this from happening. Last Friday, this system failed. I am now taking this time to reflect on our policy and make some improvements to see if we can do a better job.

Here’s what currently happens. If there is a loud group of patrons in the theater disrupting the show, a customer can raise an order card to alert staff to the problem. The complaint is delivered right away to management who then comes into the theater to listen and identify the talkers. If they hear talking, they issue a warning, something to the effect of “we have had complaints from the other customers, if we receive one more complaint, we will have to ask you to leave.” If there is a second complaint, the manager again enters the theater and waits to hear talking. If they do hear talking again from the same group, we kick them out. That’s been the system for a long time, and we have quieted and/or kicked out hundreds of groups over the years for being disruptive.

Upon reflection of our failure to quiet the group of talkers on last Friday, however, I am hereby changing the policy company-wide.

1) We will retrain the entire Alamo staff. If a customer has to raise an order card about a loud and disruptive table, then we have already failed to a certain extent. The first change is going to be a retraining of all waitstaff to charge them with being the ones to be on the lookout for rude talkers or texters. If they spot people texting or talking, they must notify the manager at once.

2) A staff member shall be in the theater at all times during peak shows. As soon as the initial wave of food orders are all delivered, we will now require a staff member to be in the theater at all times during peak shows. This is good for two reasons. Hopefully this will both shrink the time from customers raising a food/drink order card until it gets picked up as well cut down on overall talking and texting in the theater. A monitored classroom is more orderly; the same will likely be the case in the theater.

3) Once there is a customer complaint, a manager or manager’s representative will stay in the theater for the duration of the film. Sometimes the manager will stay in the theater after a complaint and that presence alone with quiet a talker. Sometimes we issue a warning to the offending talkers that works for about 15 minutes, but then they slip right back into talking. Once there is a first complaint, the manager will now stay in the theater for the duration of the film and catch any recidivism as soon as it happens.

My hope is these three refinements to our system will fix the problem. We know that our hard-line policy towards movie-talkers is one of the reasons people like to come to the Alamo in the first place. It is one of our founding principles, and all of our locations need to live up to your expectations. Bear with us for the next couple of weeks as we do some additional training and get our managers up to speed with the new policies. Hopefully in very short order we will cure the problem and last Friday’s experience will not be repeated.

And to the jackasses that ruined Rubber for the rest of the audience last Friday at the Ritz, change your ways or stay at home. Rude talkers are not welcome at the Alamo.


Tim League
Founder and CEO
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

RUBBER – The Best Psychokinetic Tire Movie Ever!

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

If you only see one movie this year about a sentient tire that kills people with the power of his mind, make it Rubber.

I had heard a lot about the so-called “killer tire” movie that played at Cannes and then went on the festival circuit.  The folks who had seen it seemed cagey about what exactly they had seen, only releasing tantalizing hints that it wasn’t what you might expect it to be.  I didn’t really expect a movie about a killer tire to be anything really, so my interest was piqued in what seemed like a concept fit for a B-movie.

The interesting thing about Rubber is that it has just as much in common with Jean-Luc Godard as it does with Roger Corman.  Right from the get-go, it is clear that this absurd tale is about more than it’s letting on, with the film opening with a long monologue told straight to the camera by a man in a police uniform (Stephen Spinella).  He tells us that a lot of the choices made in some of our favorite films are made by their directors for basically no reason, that this element of “no reason” is an important one in some of the best movies ever made.  He cites specific examples from movies like E.T. and The Pianist then goes on to talk about more than just movies, asking why we can’t “see the air all around us.”  It’s all very philosophical and despite the fact that he tells us that things happen for no reason, it’s clear that this movie does have a reason and a purpose and is not just a bunch of nonsense.

The director, Quentin Dupieux, is someone to watch.  If he wanted to make something more conventional, he’d be great at it because he clearly knows the rules of cinema, which makes it easy for him to break those rules repeatedly and constantly.  He takes a lot of bold risks with this film, the biggest being that this isn’t really a movie about a killer tire at all, but a movie about watching a movie about a killer tire.  Dupieux employs a Greek chorus of folks who are in the desert with binoculars watching the movie about the tire play out before them and they comment on it, which is already a pretty strange strategy, but then beyond that he has certain performers in the “movie” who know that it’s all fake and a certain member of the Greek chorus who doesn’t want to comment, he just wants to see the movie.  If this all sounds confusing, I promise that it isn’t.  Well, maybe a little bit.

While the point of all this might not be readily apparent, I think it does cut to the heart of what it means to watch a movie and how that intersects with what it means to be a person.  And a big part of that is that sometimes we have to accept that things happen for “no reason” and that sometimes we have to jump into action rather than simply watch things unfold before us.  I think it’s interesting that most of the film takes place outdoors, with very few scenes happening inside houses or motels; even the car that is drive by Roxane Mesquida (who the tire falls in love with) is a convertible.  I think it’s a comment on the fact that we usually sit indoors when we’re watching a movie and here’s an audience of people watching a movie outside.

When I made a reference to Godard earlier, I wasn’t do so blithely.  Dupieux’s tactics and techniques are what Godard strove to do, but so often failed at, which is communicating ideas with the cinema.  And sometimes, Godard’s ideas were about anarchy and socialism and in a film like Week-end about the tenuous fabric of boring nothingness that holds modern society together.  I think Godard failed in Week-end and in Pierrot Le Fou, films which comment on themselves as they unfold, because he didn’t particularly care about the audience’s entertainment in the way that, say, Truffaut would have.  Godard is a very obvious filmmaker, one who would rather use a sledgehammer to get his point across than use anything resembling subtlety.  (There endeth my Godard rant)  Dupieux succeeds with Rubber because he makes what he purports to be the “point” of the film, which is that it’s not really about anything, but then crams in enough symbolism and philosophy to make us believe that it truly is about something.  But what Dupieux really excels at is making us care about what happens despite the fact that the most developed character is the tire.  What’s interesting is that we don’t care about what happens in the literal sense, but rather from a ideological perspective, in terms of what will be the final point that he’s trying to get across.

And then it ends with what I can only describe as both an homage and a middle finger to what modern-day cinema consists of.

Rubber is definitely not a film for everyone.  In fact, I imagine most people will be turned off to it in the way that a lot of people are turned off by a film like Contempt (incidentally, my favorite Godard film), because it doesn’t do what we expect movies to do.  My tastes are a little warped by years of watching unrelentingly bland, stale popcorn movies, so when I see a film like Rubber, that is aspiring to more than the usual, I get excited about it.

Rubber isn’t just the best movie about an animate tire who kills people with his mind that I’ve seen this year, it’s the best movie I’ve seen so far this year.  It takes risks and goes to unexpected places.  There is no way you will be able to guess what happens next.  And when I put it that way, I’m making it seem almost conventional; and if there’s one thing this movie isn’t, it’s conventional.

Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber No Put-On

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber No Put-On