Trip Home – Summer 2015 August 21, 2015
by Cameron Brtnik
Sugar Cinemas sit-in theatre presents:
I went to the sit-in theatre today located at Sugar Beach at Queens Quay and Jarvis, Toronto. I was pumped; They were showing Goonies, possibly my favourite childhood movie of all time – Steven Spielberg, Chunk, and Rocky Road…It was definitely a nostalgic trip down memory lane. I often take time to watch my favourite movies from my youth – online torrents, streaming sites, and even YouTube make this easily possible – Hunt to Witch Mountain, Short Circuit, Batteries Not Included, The Navigator to name a few of my treasured talkies.
The free event was put on very well: street performers, contests, free food! (including sweetened popcorn and some delicious butter cookies), plenty of outhouses, and bum boxes – no, they are not a solution to the city’s homeless – an ingenious idea, it’s a box that folds out into a portable seat that you can actually lean back in. We grabbed a couple and took them to a comfy, sandy area to sit down on. But there was a problem: our view of the screen was hindered by permanent, plastic umbrellas, not to mention the obtrusive heads of viewers sitting in cottage style chairs that the smart, early crowd nabbed up in an instant, rendering the aforementioned bum boxes obsolete.
And then there was the movie screen: It seemed big enough for a small-sized movie theatre; not for a sold-out crowd. I could barely see the screen – stationed in the water, on a dock – even though we were sitting, bums in boxes near the front. Another trifling problem was visual quality; It literally felt like I was watching an old VHS tape. At times it was so dark on screen I couldn’t make out who Mikey was from his brother Brand (played by a young Josh Brolin) or Chunk from Sloth. And there was the issue with the sound: At first it was loud enough but so echoey you could barely make out what the Goonies were saying. Then the loudspeakers blew out and all that was left were the stereo speakers positioned at either end of the beach. The sound was actually clearer, but too quiet for the number in attendance. The staff fixed the speakers fairly quick, but by then some moviegoers had had enough; about a quarter of the audience just got up and left.
Overall it was a good experience (enhanced by the fact we had snuck in a bottle of wine which has a nice way of increasing the nostalgia effect), and I was on a date so they could have been playing Labyrinth for all I cared. But a little advice Sugar Cinemas: Test your equipment before you put on such a large event! And maybe even get an HD version of the the movie you’re playing. There’s not enough free popcorn in the world that would make a shitty cinematic experience better.
Cameron is a freelance writer
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