AMC 30 at the Block
Update: In late August 2002, two Afghan-American college students sued AMC for discrimination. They claim that they went to see a movie in May at the Block, and were speaking in their native tongue before the movie started, no softer or louder than anybody else. Security came and escorted them out of the movie, not allowing them to speak with anybody in the theater and not providing a refund. They felt humiliated at the actions. AMC has not responded to the claim because they said they did no see it yet. Is it true? We'll see...

AMC 30 at the Block is the main attraction at the Block at Orange, one of the many malls of the Mills Corporation. It is right in the center of the Block, in plain sight of many of the larger stores. The theater is actually really nice. It is only a couple years old, so it has many of the recent amenities that audiences demand. All theaters are stadium seating, so there is no worry about the person's head in front of you blocking your way. All seats are love seat style-in other words, the you can raise the armrests. The flip side is that the seats are a little old now, and some need to be reupholstered. The screens can change size, to accommodate wider movie prints. This in particular is a nice touch. There is a nice large lobby area when you enter. If you look on the floor you will see movie quotes. If you look above you, you can see a montage of actors and scenes from famous movies. Ticket windows are located on both sides of the entrance. Unless it's a weekend, the one on the left will be the only one open. Large panels are above both ticket windows, also showing famous movie scenes. The movie displays above the ticket booths display what movies are sold out and what movies are special engagement electronically. Lining the hallways are some large photos of classic actors, directors, or movies.

If you decide to watch a movie here, try to park behind the theater. This means driving around behind the Block. There tends to be a little more parking, since it is not right up against the street. This is also where some of the more notorious crimes have taken place, but overall it is safe. Matinee prices are before 4. Movies from 4 to 6 are twilight, which cost less than matinee. Full price is anything after. Movie times are also erratic. Depending on the season, they might start showings at 11 or 1. Even on weekends. This is kind of dumb. You would expect that earlier showings on weekends would make more sense. After all, some of the movies play to near empty theaters on weeknights. They also seem to have lots of cameras all over the place. From the ticket booths to the hallways, big brother is watching. Look closely from the main lobby and you'll see an opening that spans the mural where employees on the second floor can spy on you. You can also see this mural from the outside. This is the little area where you can exit if you're watching a movie at one of the four large screens at the Block. This is also the place where most people sneak into other movies between the four large screens. Naughty, naughty!

Out of the three AMC movie theaters, AMC 30 at the Block has the lowest intelligence requirement. Usually, new hires will always mess up your ticket, requiring you to go inside and change it. This has improved a lot in the past couple months, but it is still noticeably worse than other theaters. They are also a little too eager to clean after a movie. Although there is easily at least half an hour between showings, these high school students always rush in when the credits start rolling. If someone is still sitting in the theater, they will peak in and glare at you. It's not the point that most people want to watch all the credits. Most don't. But for the people that do, it's really annoying to have the same pimple-faced kid continually peak at you to see if you're still there. Just wait the five minutes for the credits to scroll before cleaning. Sheesh. The worst thing policy of this AMC is their clear efforts to steer you towards the mall after a movie. There are four exits, two towards the parking lot and two towards the mall. The basic shape of this theater is an "H". Imagine that the parking lot is on the north end of the H, and the mall is on the south (the four large screens are in the center). If you watch a movie on the upper left of the letter, when you exit the theater, there will be three employees lined up outside in such a way that they block the exit towards the parking lot and herd you like cattle towards the mall. Hello? They even point towards the mall and tell you to walk that way. At least they won't stop you if you go the other way, but they do look confused. Restrooms and telephones are on the mall side. Smart.

All hope is not lost for this theater. They do make a miniscule effort to use their 30 screens for good. Still, in May 2002 they had only 12 movies playing one week (hello? 30 screens and 12 movies?) There are sometimes one or two foreign or independent movies playing besides the usual. The catch is that these movies will already have been playing for a couple weeks at an Edwards theater, or they are critically acclaimed and have profit potential. So much for taking a chance, right? In 1999, they reserved one screen in honor of the AFI 100. That screen would play a classic movie every week, everything from The Shining and Mean Streets to Dial M for Murder and High Noon. That is gone. Then, there was Adrenaline Theater. The Block is geared towards teens, and this just follows that ideal. Every weekend, a movie focusing on skating, surfing, or some other (usually) extreme sport will play. These films are usually 45 minutes, but guess what? They play at night so they are full price. That's gone too. So the moral is, AMC 30 at the Block will go out of their way to show a variety of movies, as long as they don't have to risk money. I would like to see them reserve one screen permanently for something out of the ordinary. Sure, it may not bring in that much money, but it will build their credibility.

One recent addition that I thoroughly applaud is their open-captioned theater. They installed equipment in one theater to make it possible for deaf people to enjoy the movies. The Block makes an effort to have at least one open-captioned movie playing per week, and even better, the movies they play are still in release. So if you are deaf, you can now enjoy a first-run movie while it's still out. I am all for diversity in movie choice and even better, the opportunity to watch movies, and anything that increases either is a plus in my book. So bravo to the Block for doing this. Besides, it's great press.

The City Drive
Orange, CA

714 769 4AMC

Back to AMC

Back to Why I Hate Movies