when i was a movie theatre projectionist, the other projectionist, Matt, would bring clam chowder for lunch every single day, refusing to put it in the fridge even though the projection hallway was well over 100°
Matt once got into an argument with another employee so fierce that the off-duty cop who was doing security had to break them up all because Matt had established that 50 Cent's "Get Rich or Die Trying" movie was based on Hamlet (it wasn't)
Matt's favorite thing to do (after seeing FIGHT CLUB) was cut a single frame of a titty into kids movies at a random spot and not tell anyone, so the rest of us projectionists would have to wait until he left for the day then run the entire film to find and cut the frame back out
Concessions would put all the excess popcorn into massive bags at night and give them out to employees. Matt would take as much as he could, hiding them in the loading dock. One day he full-speed crashed his truck into the loading dock trying to pick up the secreted away popcorn
Matt was splicing "CARS" reels together one night, and spliced it wrong, leaving it off-center by millimeters. Then he let it run to spool up for the next show and went home. When when we came back in the morning, it was so badly damaged Disney sent insurance investigators to us
When asked by investigators about the CARS mishap, Matt said that he clocked out but didn't go home, instead watching Anime in the Manager's Office until 3am, "since its the only place with a DVD player and TV" and admitted to making a copy of the manager key on his lunch break
our movie theatre had to sign an insurance rider to be allowed to play Evil Dead because our track record was so bad, and Matt wasn't allowed to be near the machine-- we had to rope it off and keep track of him
Management moved Matt to being an usher, where he used a backpack vacuum on the movie screen, ripping a hole in it. The theatre did not have backpack vacuums, he brought his own.
Matt told me a long story about how he had joined the Navy and "it didn't work out" so he joined the Army and in basic training a Drill Sergeant said, and I quote "Matthew, you're too smart for the Army, I'm kicking you out"
Matt asked if I wanted to hang out one day, and not wanting to die by his hand, I said sure. We ended up at his "apartment" which was his parents basement, where he asked me to rap like Bill Clinton on the album he was recording.
Matt handed me some of his lyrics, and they were about the Yakuza, the Japanese gangsters-- he was not Japanese and had never been there-- and then asked if I wanted to watch the anime "Fruits Basket" (???) to "get in the zone" before rapping.... about the Yakuza
the next day he told me how awesome it was to have me on his album (I didn't record anything ???) and that "Kimiko" loved having me there-- turns out Kimiko was his girlfriend, a very clearly hispanic woman who spoke only spanish. Matt did not speak spanish.
One time Matt got into an argument with the manager of the comic book/game store in the mall the movie theatre was attached to-- he then proceeded to challenge the manager to a duel, and the manager, being a former Marine, accepted immediately and produced the handgun he carried
Matt spent the next two days in the projection hallway, a) worried he was going to die because he didn't own a gun, b) lamented that his "karate" wasn't good enough (he didn't know karate), and c) cried because there was "no where else to buy Magic Cards" (there was)
In preparation for his duel with the game store Marine, Matt asked me where to get a gun, me being a high school nerd who was too afraid to speak to a girl, thinking somehow I knew where to get a burner pistol
Instead of shooting him dead, the Marine banned Matt from the store, so Matt then picketed with a sign (alone) outside the store in the atrium of the mall every day until mall management told him he was banned from the mall. Matt then had to use the loading dock to get into work.
the theatre used to show movie series as an event, like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, and Management had to put a sign up in the break room and hallways that said "Matt isn't allowed to speak about [Star Wars]" and the sign would change based on the movie series being shown
Since he had destroyed his truck on the loading dock, Matt spent his life's savings on souping up a Pontiac G6 to look like the Batmobile. He decided to do the work himself, and because he was not a mechanic, the body kit came off on the highway and he crashed, totaling the car Image
When 50 Cent's "Get Rich or Die Trying" came out, the movie theatre got a pallet of promotional materials-- Matt stole as much of it as he could and tried selling it on eBay, but come to find out, no one gave a shit about "Get Rich or Die Trying" so he brought it all back
Ushers were allowed to keep (some) stuff found under the seats as long as no one came to claim it within 30 days-- eventually we realized Matt was stealing from the Target next door and putting things below seats to "find them" because to him "it's not illegal stuff then anymore"
Matt would spend his lunch breaks in the game room playing Dance Dance Revolution, and got in trouble one day after he easily beat the 10 year old at Dance Dance Revolution then loudly called him a "bitch" -- the kid didn't even do anything, Matt just roasted him for nothing
The theatre ran an event in 2006 to raise money for the children's hospital, playing Smash Brothers on the big screen. Matt went out and bought an expensive custom pro-gamer level Gamecube controller, paid his $10 entry fee donation, and was beaten in the first round in seconds
Some at the theatre weren't allowed to dress up in costumes for Halloween as it was too dangerous (a 120° projection hall where no one could see your costume, for example). One halloween Matt showed up in a movie-quality Stormtrooper costume and passed out immediately in the heat
Matt got suspended from the projectionist job after destroying the copy of CARS, so they put him in the ticket booth, where he held the record for the fastest firing when he convinced an old woman to see "Hostel" instead of "Last Holiday ImageImage
Matt would sell single frames cut from the previews reels on eBay, claiming that they were original frames from the first run of the movie and forging the certification documents. According to him he made $30,000 a year doing this and it was "not illegal at all" (it was)
When he was working concessions, Matt would berate and insult people's food choices, which none of the Management stopped because people would buy more in the hopes Matt would shut the hell up for a few minutes
An older woman fell down in one of the auditoriums and couldn't get up, so instead of calling 911 or using the radio every usher was given, Matt ran full speed across building screaming "MEDICAL! MEDICAL!" only for the woman to be fine, and it was Matt who wouldn't let her get up
on days when Matt wouldn't bring lukewarm chowder for lunch he would order from the Papa Gino's pizza that was in the mall, and because he was banned from the mall for threatening and picketing the game store, he had to pay to have it walked across the mall and delivered to him
The theatre would host kids parties-- one day there were too many parties scheduled and not enough party staff, so my manager asked me and Matt to do a kids HALO themed birthday, and the family asked for a refund because Matt kept arguing with the kid about HALO and Master Chief
Matt showed up to work once wearing a chainmail top under his work polo and when asked why, he said that he didn't want to be late for work- i asked why he didn't just take it off now that he was here and he stomped away then spent the whole shift making jingly noises as he moved
The first time I saw Matt cry was when the bulb burst on the projector playing "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and in despair he openly wailed as he tried to explain to me that people NEED to see it, ignoring that we still needed to fix the bulb (still on fire) in the machine
When Matt worked in concessions he figured out a way to "cook frozen chicken tenders faster" which was to keep them in the bag and to poke a hole to vent the air-- the bag promptly caught fire- a fire he didn't notice until the timer went off and he opened an oven full of flames
When the Target store attached to the mall caught him stealing, he was banned from the store and instead of picketing outside like he had done with the game store, he devised a plan to trick them into letting him back in which amounted to buying a red shirt and walking in
Matt's two brothers worked with us, one a PhD in Anthropology who was waiting for a teaching job, and another who was a long haired musician just wanting to be left alone. They stopped driving to work together when Matt nearly drove them off the road arguing about Metallica.
Matt was really into the band RUSH, which I had never heard of, and I made the mistake of asking him about them. After an entire shift I had heard more facts about RUSH than I had wanted or needed, and Matt had become so incensed he was playing air guitar instead of working
One day Matt's girlfriend Kimiko came by to drop off his chowder and even though it wasnt allowed, he let her come up into projection Kimiko stayed the entire shift and spent the whole 12 hours standing silently at the viewing window watching "Over the Hedge" over and over
when Kingdom of Heaven came out, a medieval war movie starring Orlando Bloom, Matt showed up with friends in chainmail and a shield/sword and missed getting arrested for carrying a sword in public only because he convinced the cops it was a promotion for the theatre (it wasn't)
In winter, Matt had gotten another car, an old front wheel drive Buick or something, and since it skidded a lot one of our older ushers mentioned putting bricks in the trunk for weight, Matt didn't have any bricks, so he filled the trunk with sand. not in bags, just like... sand
the theatre was built fast and not well made, so there was always some repair that needed to be done- No one asked him to, but Matt would to do these "repairs". One morning we came into work and he had drilled a hole in the projection office door "to see out of... just in case"
when we ran trilogies/events, people would get dressed up and stand in line, and Matt would walk through the crowd DURING HIS SHIFT to critique their costumes and provide unsolicited advice, and when he was told he would be fired if he kept doing it, he would come on his days off
Matt had a big heart, he really did. We had a big opening, I don't remember which-- but there's a huge line and chaos, and though they didn't schedule Matt for work that day, he showed up knowing we needed help. Unfortunately, however, Matt showed up the day AFTER the premiere.
Matt loved swords and knives so much, man- like he would spend his free time talking to me about swords and sword accessories, and would quiz me on like what the deadliest sword was and berate me for being an idiot when I didn’t know it was a scimitar (?????)
Matt would spend a shift telling me random facts about things, but I didn’t have a smart phone in 2006 so I just had to listen to him tell me wild shit like “blue whales speak German” or “Did you know if you fire a gun into a bank it’s technically not illegal” (they don’t; it is)
Matt refused to call himself a medieval LARPer, he instead kept referring to it as “my hobby” or “training” but would never explain what he was “training for” he would just say “you never know when you’re gonna need it” (“it” was swordsmanship skills)
Matt would also reference his skills as a “hacker” whenever computers came up and how it was so cool, like a scene from The Matrix, in that he would say “it’s just like in The Matrix” but what he really meant was that he would guess friends passwords and post on their MySpace
Matt was convinced that if you record a movie from the projection window, as long as you do it in small parts and not one long recording it’s fine (its not). When the management found out about this, every employee was required to sign a sheet acknowledging that it’s not ok
Matt used to harass the FedEx guys about "getting a real job" even though he and I made minimum wage at $5.15, until one day the FedEx manager sent him a letter accusing him of harassment, and the theatre had to ban him from accepting film dropoffs
When “Hostel” came out it was a big deal, the media and parents went out of their way to demonize it, and we had to keep track of people’s ages entering the auditorium it was shown in. Matt couldn’t be trusted with this because he would let kids in to the movie to “toughen up”
In a moment of rage, Matt broke the projection office chair, and getting another one would have been impossible, so he spent two hours “repairing” it with the small toolset we had for the projectors, and when he sat down it collapsed further, sending him into the wall of reels
when King Kong was delivered, it was so much film it required a second platter to sit on, so you had to spool it from one to the other using a tall stick with a roller on the top, Matt stood there and watched the film silently on the stick instead of on the screen it was on
Matt used to crush Red Bull as often as he could, but then he would get the shakes real bad, and one time while handing a woman her family’s entire order of chicken and personal pizzas he instead just sort of flung it at her, hitting her square in the chest harder than ever
we had just one real manager and two teenage assistant managers, so it was easier to cover up screw ups rather than to try and fix them, I remember I cut a movie out of order, so Matt was like “I’ll fix it” and instead of fixing it he just ran different previews for 20 minutes

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