Friday, January 02, 2015

How Jason Best did not have a jolly, holly Christmas

I don’t go to a lot of movies. It’s not that I don’t like the movies. It’s just that, over the years, there have been fewer and fewer that I really felt I had to see in the theater. Waiting for them to become available on Pay per View, or even regular old on demand, has seemed good enough.

From a regular movie-goer, I drifted down over the years into a decided irregular, maybe seeing one or two movies a year in the theater.

So for most of the movies I don’t see in the theater, it’s nothing personal. It’s just ‘meh.’

But if there were one movie that I was definitely not going to see, it would probably be “The Interview”, which from the get-go sounded like a couple of hours of not very funny, puerile stupidity.

It’s not that I’m not curious about/interested in Kim Jon-Un. He’s certainly horrifically fascinating, as is North Korea.

And, sure, pretty much everything’s worth making fun of, so this jamoke is certainly not off limits.

Still, this is a jamoke who’s wildly paranoid, extremely violent, vicious beyond belief to the citizens of his country, and armed with nuclear weapons. So maybe there are better jamokes out there to make fun of, at least for the time being. Or how about making it about Kim Jon-Un but not directly about him. Change the name to protect the guilty, sort of, giving everyone ultimate deniability.

Anyway, all this is the long-winded, Pink Slip way of saying that, even if I lived in Clifton, Ohio, I wouldn’t have jumped up to see “The Interview.” And, thus, I wouldn’t have jumped up to take a ticket to see it at the Empire Theater off the hands of scalper Jason Best.

Best is the Ohio fellow who, instead of having visions of sugar plums dancing in his head, had visions of scalper riches. Which prompted him to spend $650 on 50 tickets to Christmas Day showings of “The Interview.”

"I saw all the hype about 'The Interview' on the 23rd and thought, 'hey, folks are selling these tickets in other cities and it seems like that's the thing to do right now so why not give it a shot so see how it goes,'" said Best, adding that he planned to use one ticket for himself. (Source: WCPO)

And then Sony put some coal in Best’s stocking by releasing it on streaming services.

On Hulu, on YouTube, on Netflix, on Google Play.

With the streaming release, the limited theatrical release was no long so grand and glorious, not the special event that Best was counting on. Demand plummeted. So Best forgot all about trying for the big score, and started thinking about getting his money back. Thus he tried to return the tickets – kind of like a Christmas giftee trying to get a store refund on the hideous Christmas tree sweater from Aunt Bertha.

Unfortunately for Best, the theater doesn’t allow for refunds for special events, which was what “The Interview” Christmas showing was defined as.

While the theater could have made an exception, it was a bit huffed because Best had been planning on scalping his tickets. Which is a no-no.

The company's president, Gary Goldman, added that Best is not considered a customer in this instance because of what he planned to do with the tickets. He said he's a businessman who was trying to recoup a loss at the theater’s expense.

I’m actually someone who thinks that scalping should be legal. There are, after all, plenty of legal ticket resellers out there, scalping away online. In Boston, that would be Higs and Ace. So, yes, if the little guy wants to take the risk of buying up inventory, and if there’s someone out there who’s willing to pay an exorbitant surcharge to get some of that inventory, well, I say have at it. If it’s good enough for Higs…

The only thing I don’t like about this process is that the event folks – like, say, the Boston Red Sox – let the legal scalpers like Higs and Ace grab up mega-blocks of ticket, leaving those of us who just want a couple stuck with paying those exorbitant surcharges.

But, hey, no one’s putting a gun to your head making you buy a ticket to a game you can watch on TV, a concert you can catch later on YouTube, or a movie that’ll end up available via Netflix.

Unsavory as the practice may be, if the scalper takes the risk that he’ll find a willing market, he gets the reward.

Apparently, Jason Best got the reward part but not the risk part.

As of this writing, he’s stuck with a bunch of past-due, unsellable tickets.

Not such a jolly, holly Christmas.

Hope he enjoyed the show…

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