Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Organized for the movies

I love seeing movies at movie theaters. In my youth, I could see two movies a day back to back and not think twice, but now I average about two movies a month. This past week, I managed to fit in one movie a day for four days in a row, and it got me thinking about some tips for making movie theater trips a little more efficient and organized.

You might think that going to the movies isn't that difficult to arrange, but in Los Angeles before you do anything you have to choose which theater to go to. That decision might be based on a number of factors such as traffic, parking, size of group and even type of screen. In addition, there are theaters that have assigned seating and rewards programs and those that do not. It can get a little complicated.

One of the movies I saw this past week (though not in 3D).
So here are my top tips for making the process of selecting and going to the movies seamless:
  1. Always opt for an assigned-seat theater if you have a choice. Assigned seating makes the entire process easier and more efficient, because you can guarantee you'll like your seat and you don't have to build in extra time before the movie to claim a spot. You can walk in just in time for previews and your seat will be waiting for you. The time savings alone makes whatever ticket premium the theater might charge worth it.
  2. Always double check what format the movie is going to be in. IMAX and 3D movies cost more than regular movies, and some people can't handle 3D (it gives me a headache).
  3. Check if your theater has a rewards program and what the terms are. Often you can get points for buying tickets and concessions that you can redeem for those items after accumulating a certain amount.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the theater's outside food policy. You don't want to have a huge Jamba Juice in one hand and a coffee in the other while strolling in two minutes before your movie begins if the ushers are going to ask you to throw them away. Abide by the rules, or at least plan ahead and bring something you can fit in a purse.
  5.  Buy tickets online and print the tickets at home if you have the option. That way you can skip all the lines at the theater and be guaranteed a seat at the show of your choice. 
  6. Don't forget to bring your parking ticket to be validated. Most movie theaters in shopping complexes have the best validation policy, so even if you are doing dinner and a movie, wait to validate at the theater for the best deal.
My favorite LA theaters? I like the leather seats at the Landmark at the Westside Pavillion and parking is always free, however it isn't at all near my house, so my next favorite would be any of the Arclights - Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Pasadena - depending on where I am beforehand. 

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email Sign up for Lelah's News, a once-monthly newsletter.


  1. Great post! Perfect for you. I wish I had more chances to go to the movies. We used to go all the time in high school. Now I average one every couple of months (if I'm lucky).

  2. Thanks, Megan. I have great memories of movie-going in high school!

  3. I have a membership to our local independent film theater that was a gift from work. I get to save $5 off all movies there, which is great. They also mail me offers for "critics choice" movie showings, which are free for members. However, they're usually at kind of off times, and might not be what I want to see. This week I managed to go see one! It was a 6:50pm Wednesday night movie - In the Heat of the Night. Really great. If I were retired, I would definitely by myself the membership and go all the time to the free movies!