The Worst Movie Theater in the World

Congratulations, Philadelphia, it’s right in our back yard

And the winner is?  The UA Riverview on Columbus Blvd.  I wish there was a plaque or a trophy I could give them because they have so earned it.  The experience is so bad, it’s actually comical.

Often throughout my 14-year career as overnight host at WIP, I have been stuck in a time no-man’s land. I will have just finished performing at a private party in Pennsylvania.  It might be 1030 p.m. I have to figure out if it is worth it for me to drive all the way back into Jersey, just to get back in the car at 1 a.m. to drive back to City Ave., which is where WIP is located. [SIGNUP]

The UA Riverview is the one theater in our area that actually starts movies as late as 11 p.m. Throw in the 20 minutes of previews and if you can get there by 11:15 p.m., you’re good to go.  So  often I have made the decision to chill out and watch a flick at the UA,  instead of making the haul back home only to come back over the bridge.

CHILL might not exactly be the correct word to describe the experience of seeing a movie at the UA. It’s the one theater where the action in the seats often outshines the action on the screen. First of all, everybody talks like there’s no movie going on at all, or even better, the audience often talks TO the screen:

YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!
DON’T GO UP THERE, GIRLFRIEND!
DAMN, WHAT A BAD ASS!

Violent movies are very well received. Vicious deaths are met with healthy cheers and rounds of applause. Don’t even THINK of seeing a romantic comedy. The audience will get so bored they’ll start talking to each other ON THEIR CELLPHONES if they have a friend they know is only a few aisles away. I’ve even seen some crowds take “romance” into their own hands as once I sat three rows behind a guy receiving oral sex in his seat while there was lovemaking going on up on the screen at the same time. NOW THAT’S 3D!

I know you must be thinking why I find this all so funny, but believe me, I know what I’m in for when I go there. There would be nobody to complain to anyway.

Today I had an appointment at Jefferson Hospital that ended at 5 p.m. I had to be at Tom & Jerry’s which is in Delaware County, no later than 8 p.m. With traffic, there is a very good chance that I would not have made it home till 6:30 p.m., just to hang for less than an hour before I would have to drive over the Commodore Barry back into PA. So, maybe I could just go to a movie and forget fighting all that traffic.

Well, none of the times worked out right for anything I wanted to see at any of the Ritz theaters. The UA, however, has so many screens (and good one’s I might add) that there was a 5:30 p.m. Predators — and I’m a huge Walton Goggins fan.  I figured I might be able to get away with this, there might not be anyone there at this time on a Thursday.

I pay my $9 and find my screen. That, by the way, takes some doing since the usher cat tells you a screen number but there’s no sign telling you what theater is playing what. I find my screen, and my hunch pays off. It was empty. Maybe eight people.

Now one of the drawbacks from my radiation treatments is that my throat is painfully dry all the time. I’m constantly drinking these Ensures and sipping on soda. Water doesn’t cut it, it stinks. So I go out in the lobby to get a soda while the previews are on and there is no concession stand on the second floor. I have to take this giant escalator back to the first floor. It’s like being in a casino.

I ask the concession stand chick, who never looks at me once, for a small Coke. I reach back to pull some cash out of my pocket and when I turn around she says, “That will be $4.75.”  Politely, I remind her I asked for a small.  “THAT IS A SMALL, MISTER.”  The “small” turns out to be as big as a bucket. Even the straw is, like, two feet high. It’s so big that I won’t be able to even take it to the car with me later because there’s not a cup holder in the world big enough to hold it. Unless NASA has designed one I missed out on.  I am way too tired to argue or ask for my money back, so into the theater I go with a “small” soda that you have to put on the floor because their own cupholders can’t handle it.

The movie begins and 10 minutes in a couple comes in with enough food and drink to feed Cambodia and sits DIRECTLY BEHIND ME and begins to argue. There are HUNDREDS of empty seats and they sit DIRECTLY BEHIND ME. Do I move? Of course not. I play another hunch that their argument will be more entertaining than Predators and guess what?  I was right.

Another fine movie-going experience at the good ol’ UA.

SHAMELESS PLUG
The next public show that I’m doing will be at cofffee.comedy in Sea Isle on Saturday, July 24th, at 9 p.m. It’s a great venue to see me do my thing cuz it only seats 100 and it always sells out, so make your reservations now by calling 609-263-5282. That’s 609-263-JAVA.

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