A Not So Amazing Trip To Century Theater in San Leandro

The worst show in town; welcome to Century Theater at Bayfair.

Going to the movies is usually one of the small joys in my life, unless I find myself going to Century Theater in San Leandro. This past weekend was the last straw in terms of my tolerance for their inept security and shoddy service.

Noise and chatter in the crowd are standard for any theater. There's always a moron or two in the crowd who are going to be disruptive and I've just come to accept it as a fact of life. But going to see a movie at Bayfair? Prepare yourself for the worst a theater has to offer.

See, the loud mouths that find their way here to SL to watch a movie are pretty typical in terms of behavior and obliviousness to the captive audience suffering through their disruptions. What gets me about Century is the management at the theater. I've been going to there since it opened and it seems as though each year that passes management takes it upon themselves to bring service down a notch.

Let's go back to last summer when Captain America came out. A pack of miscreants in the crowd were talking on cell phones through the first half of the movie with no sign of an usher anywhere to be found. So, I go to find one... and am told that there's no security in the theater until mid-afternoon. Now, thankfully, the manager-person I spoke with did end up sending someone in to remove the group, but what galls me is that if I didn't go out there, not one person representing the theater was going to pop their head in for the duration of the movie.

Over the course of the past three or four years I've been to multiple midnight showings and regular showings at Century and have had to tolerate a portion of the bottom of the screen appearing at the top for an entire movie (twice), audio going out for the first ten minutes of a movie, the end of a movie getting cut off and having to be taken with the entire crowd into another theater to re-watch the past twenty minutes of the film to catch up to where we were previously, delays while the film projector sputtered out continuously, and worst of all, the lack of security keeping losers in the crowd in check.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of "watching" The Amazing Spider-Man with a hyperactive pack of pre-teen to middle school-aged kids who spent the entire time talking loudly, playing music, running up and down the aisle, and throwing things at people in the crowd. The real cherry on top, however, was having to go find help (as usual) TWICE and never were these kids removed.

So thanks, Bayfair, I like to do what I can to shop and do things here in SL, but your Century theater is so pathetically run that I'll go all the way to Alameda, Union City, and Oakland to watch a movie just to avoid your nonsense.

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Leah Hall July 12, 2012 at 05:46 AM
Today is the day that Marty McFly arrived in the future after hitting 88mph in 1985…. Now that /is/ an amazing trip! http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=675475
Marga Lacabe July 12, 2012 at 11:09 AM
that is so true!
Marga Lacabe July 12, 2012 at 11:11 AM
So what would people gain if they were more civil? I'm throwing the question up for discussion.
leonard aho July 12, 2012 at 02:25 PM
The disruptive behavior problems at the Bayfair Century/Cinemark have been going on for a long, long time. The owners of the theater and the management just don't seem to care. If we witness such behavior then its time to call San Leandro's finest-the police.
Leah Hall July 12, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Speaking as someone who has suprisingly discovered a great amount of personal pleasure razzing folks online, I think of it this way: A symphony is not possible without collaboration between the conductor and all the instrumentalists. All the noise at the beginning of a concert (the warm-up period) is exciting, but at some point it is time for the orchestra to perform, at which time everyone is ready for a rewarding show.
Johnny Long July 12, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Its all those kids that takes bart and come from Oakland anyway. I always had great services from the employees and managers. For big box office releases like Spiderman and Batman, I will probably wait a while to watch it and not get distracted during the movie. Weekdays are the best time to watch movies at Bayfair.
David July 12, 2012 at 07:20 PM
People still go to movies?
Marga Lacabe July 12, 2012 at 07:29 PM
For the uninitiated, "kids from Oakland" is the San Leandro code-word for "black kids".
Leah Hall July 12, 2012 at 07:29 PM
The lady doth protest too much, methinks...
Leah Hall July 12, 2012 at 08:50 PM
I created this home movie a few days ago after getting back from our family vacation. Hope some might enjoy watching... https://vimeo.com/home/myvideos
Fran July 12, 2012 at 09:27 PM
My sentiments exactly. I stopped going after they started serving chili dogs, nachos, and all those other disgusting smelly foods. Maybe its just me, but who wants to subject themselves to sitting in such close proximity to a stranger while they are stuffing their faces like they never ate before? lol. Whatever happened to licorice and Goobers? It's not a ballgame for heaven's sake.
Leah Hall July 12, 2012 at 11:11 PM
...and we have yet another Bal Theatre Karoake contestant yamering to get up on stage.
Lisa July 13, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Hi Marga, I believe you asked what would people gain if other people were more civil? Well, for me, I might shop in SL. But as I said in a previous post I don't have the desire to listen to nor do I want to shop along side the trash that filters into this city. I've hear the "n" word thrown around loudly all the time, far more than I care to stomach. So for me, I'll drive to other cities to shop, etc. I've stopped going to the Target at Bayfair as it's now nothing but a big hangout no matter what day or time. And I've witnessed a few too many girl fights in front of the store and in the parking lot. So again for me, that makes me question how safe that place/area is even with the regular patrol they keep over there.
Marga Lacabe July 13, 2012 at 06:27 AM
No, Lisa, what I meant to ask is what would the uncivil people gain by being more civil. I mean, why do they care if you shop in San Leandro? Similarly, you want civility from people - but do you know what it is that they want from you and do you give it to them? I mean, social interactions cannot just be on our terms, can they? Yes, it would be great if everyone was civil. It would be great if everyone was accepting of one another's differences, if we put enough money into our schools and gave every kid the knowledge that they could grow up to be a productive member of society. In other words, if we gave someone something to lose by not being civil. But once we've already written people off, well, why should they care?
Leah Hall July 13, 2012 at 06:38 AM
Amen. Sweet dreams, Lisa.
Lisa July 13, 2012 at 06:38 AM
Well yes, social interactions can be on my terms. I don't want to listen to or interact with people who have no filter in public and talk and act like trash. It's that simple. Again, only speaking for myself. But perhaps you can shed some light on what it is they want friom me???
Marga Lacabe July 13, 2012 at 06:49 AM
I don't know, Lisa. But I do know that the reason why we teach our kids to be civil is because that's part of the social contract: you play by the rules, you get your just rewards. But the social contract has been disappearing from America, we no longer assure people education, healthcare and a future if they behave, so why should they behave or raise their children to behave?
Leah Hall July 13, 2012 at 06:53 AM
You rock, girlfriend!
Michael Munoz July 13, 2012 at 07:24 AM
I agree with Lisa. Teens are incredibly rude today. I'm not singling out a race either, all around bayfair I hear Mexicans, Blacks, Chinese and Filipino use the N-word. Not every teen but in that area the rude ones are the majority. Last weekend they organized a huge fight through facebook. Yes! They got on facebook and picked Bayfair BART area to start fighting. A huge group showed up but luckily someone called the cops ahead of time and they were ready for them before it got out of hand. If you wanna support San Leandro then support it the right way. Take a stand, get to know more people in the area (not just online). We can sit here and whine all day about how shitty bayfair is, what's that going to do? Hasn't helped it yet has it? I haven't been to the movies in a while but I might check out a movie this weekend see how it is. I'm sure it's not that bad and if it is, I will introduce myself to the manager in charge and have a talk with him.
Leah Hall July 13, 2012 at 07:42 AM
Those kids today.... Kids will be kids, but how much do they change over the course of a generation? http://news.discovery.com/human/teens-1982-2012-sex-contraception-education-120316.html
Angela Marrujo July 13, 2012 at 07:48 AM
^What does this link have to do with this blog post?
Leah Hall July 13, 2012 at 07:50 AM
Sleep on it, Angela.
Angela Marrujo July 13, 2012 at 07:55 AM
I don't understand people that PAY to go into a movie if they know they just want to talk and don't really care to see the movie anyway. You can shoot the breeze for free outside. And there's trees, and birds, and, you know, you're not ruining the movie for anyone. AND you've saved yourself a few bucks. What a concept.
Angela Marrujo July 13, 2012 at 08:04 AM
So I'm supposed to assume that kids acting like asses in a theater has to do with the fact that they're smoking less and having more protected sex than they were back in 1982? Makes perfect sense. Unless of course you're trying to make a commentary on "kids being kids", and how those "kids" have changed in the course of 30 years. You're right, they have. Manners are a thing of the past and no one gives a damn about teaching their kids something as simple as letting people enjoy a movie. Young people have always acted like jerks, people just like to make excuses for it now.
David July 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM
I stopped going after the actors started talking, never mind the movie goers.
Paul Vargas July 13, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Marga you are an idiot. We have never assured anyone at anytime "education", "healthcare" and a "future". Really, why the hell did you come here if you complain so much? Oh yeah that's right, you and Mellor are Commie subversives.
Rob Rich July 13, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Paul, have you heard of "compulsory education?" http://www.lao.ca.gov/2004/compulsory_ed/020304_compulsory_education_laws.htm Check it out, it's been around a while.
Leah Hall July 13, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Again, fascinating... --Queen Gertrude
Leah Hall July 13, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Paul raises an interesting point, though. Folks learn early (some earlier than others) that the only one looking out for them is themselves. Crime happens where our society allows it to happen. Foul behaviour too. That's why we have things like various family strengthening programs, student/teacher ratios, and stop and frisk policing. In the latter case, the poor and young pay the most, but they also stand to benefit the most. Finding the right balance is the key. Most comments here indicate that the Bayfair Theatre experience is terribly spotty, which is not a good trend in my view, from a crime perspective.
Tom Abate (Editor) July 13, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Wow, passions run high over the Bayfair Theater. I've been to several theaters: Bayfair most frequently, Alameda, Emeryville, the Grand Lake and the Berkeley theaters. I also went to the Albany Theater recently (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, See it!), I can't say I've ever had a bad experience at Bayfair. And it's convenient for big noisy blockbuster movies that play everywhere. Sorry if other have been put off. Give it another chance.


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