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The Missing

Seen: 2003.12.04   ¶   Reviewed: 2003.12.28

Still waiting to “review” The Missing properly, but did anyone notice that Cate Blanchett’s hair and skin match her clothing, her house, and the landscape

Theatre experience

This did not go well.

First of all, the movie was way the hell out at Yorkdale, the mall on the subway line. Theoretically easy to get to for that reason, but still a hell of a distance from me.

Almost deserted. At Guest Services, the playa chick was supremely chatty and helpful, but there was no Windex nearby to desmudge the reflector. It took three calls on the walkie-talkie before somebody brought it over. Then there were not paper towels. Then the Windex was deemed to be an industrial concentrate, not an immediately-usable product. The manager sitting nearby (“working,” but he seemed to be playing Solitaire or surfing the Web; I later peeked and saw some kind of report on his screen) had to get up and bring it over to the concession island to wash it off. This took 13 minutes. She’s totally apologetic and vows to clean the reflectors between shows.

Then there’s the ID issue. At Yorkdale, they demand you leave yours. Needless to say, I disagreed with this policy and explained that nobody else but Scarberia and Ottawa does it. The peppy, happy, perky, helpful playa placed my card face up on the counter. Listen, this is just what I was trying to avoid, I told her. You’re gonna lose it. No, she said, I’m going to clip it to my own card. Well, fine, I guess.

In I went. Movie started; no descriptions. Out I went. I swapped headsets; no change. Obviously the emitter or something is broken.

I come back out and ask to speak to a manager. A stunning, statuesque silvery-blond young fella appears (complete with good teeth and with artistic facial hair and stubble, also silvery-blond) and essentially disputes everything I’m saying.

Yes, he agrees descriptions are out (we walk in together and I prove it to him), but then he starts telling me the movie wasn’t described (it was; I suggest checking the MoPix site; I say “I wouldn’t have schlepped all the way out to Yorkdale for a captions-only movie”), then denies my suggestion that something is wrong with the emitter or the DTS box, then also denies that the CD carrying the caption and description files would say whether it was captions-only or CC and DX.

He is simply unmoved by the fact I’d seen over 50 of these movies and had inside knowledge. (I loved it when he said WGBH gets captions and descriptions “from us.” Also he asked “Are you someone who needs the service?” What, you’d turn competent if I were?)

Later, he takes a trip upstairs to the projection booth – while he’s away, I tell the playa he is used to being believed because he’s tall and blond, and handsome – and indeed now agrees something is wrong. The best he can do is report it. I tell him “You very pleasantly and almost effectively stood your ground even when you were completely wrong.” As with everything I tell him, I tell him this twice, since one effect of the steadfastness is to essentially ignore whatever I say.

In I go to watch the movie with captions only. An old biddy to my left looks at me with malign curiosity. (Jotting in my notebook with all the gear plus my purse and coat, I am a curious sight.) The seat dead centre is broken, but I can still use it.

Apparently Cinema 8 (I was in 2) has two emitters, hence a signal usable anywhere in the house.

Caption quality

(American Indian chanting): I suppose.

♪ Dormez-vous,
Dormez-vous ♪

No capital on second dormez, s’il vous plaît.

Subtitled dialogue can be IDed for language: (in Spanish). They don’t do that enough for Apache dialogue, though. Sound effects are notated during subtitled passages, rendered easier using the MoPix offscreen display: (fire crackling).

Be merciful, oh, God twice: No, it’s O God.

Description quality

Broken. Extremely disappointing, given the swear words listed in English subtitles that the narrator would have to read: “It’s a real swell shit-hole [sic] of a swamp.”


Not applicable.

Exit interview

Well, surprise, surprise: The playa who promised to look after my ID card as though it were her own had vanished. Guest Services is unstaffed. I stand around for a while, then notice both managers I’ve dealt with this evening and another playa assembling a Christmas tree.

Over I go. This is just what I was worried would happen, I told him (rather repeating myself): The playa was supposed to take care of my card, and now she’s gone. He tries to calm me down and tells me not to be rude and ignorant.

Over at the desk, he unlocks the till and hands me my card. See? There wasn’t ever a problem, he says. I am of course somewhat mollified, but also embarrassed. I explain that it’s a bad policy, and one not followed by other theatres (save for two). This I have to tell him repeatedly, too. I also tell him he could have handled everything better. Well, he says, you said I only get by on my looks, so I don’t know what to say. I was also accused of being “unprofessional.” I’m not trying to be “professional,” I countered; I’m just trying to see a movie. (How do you dispute that?)

I do not come up with anything resembling an elegant, honourable, or face-saving way to end the discussion. “Fine,” I eventually say, and leave. No doubt to titters behind my back. Mishandled, I would say – by him in the first session and me in the second.

Someone that gorgeous could become a fashion model or something. The fact that he’s so damned stubborn adds to the appeal. If I’m ever up there again I’m gonna be extra-nice to him. I am sure I will not be the first boy to treat him extra-nicely.

I complain to Famous the next day, and am shortly told Yorkdale won’t hold IDs anymore. It was never a good idea (people aren’t gonna steal the gear; no gear had ever gone missing at Yorkdale; even if it happens, the cure is worse than the disease; ever heard of ID theft, in various senses?) and will surely be illegal after the Privacy Act kicks in on January 1.

Also, people kept walking out of the movie, including two giggly girls whose shoephone kept going off.

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