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[whitespace] Century Capitol 16


Off-Screen Horror Show:
Century Capitol 16 Theaters, 3690 Hillcap Ave., San Jose

By Will Harper

MOVIEGOERS THOUGHT Scream 3 was scary. Ha! That ain't nothing compared to the frightening conditions at Century Capitol 16 off Capitol Expressway.

In the beginning of 1999, several theater patrons began complaining to county environmental health officials about mice running around the theaters and eating popcorn scraps and other food off the floor.

During three visits in January 1999, an inspector found a dead mouse in one of the theaters, as well as rat droppings on food preparation equipment (Jan. 13), behind movie screens (Jan. 14) and in the snack-bar and cafe area cabinets (Jan. 25). Amazingly, no one complained about finding little brown pellets in their popcorn.

Exterminators appear to have ultimately prevailed in their fight against the rat bastards within a couple of months. According to the latest inspection report (Feb. 21, 2000), the rats were still gone a few months ago.

That doesn't mean Century Capitol is spotless. The theater got the lowest inspection score (74 out of 100) of any movie theater in the county inspected between Jan. 1, 1999 and April 30, 2000, records indicate. And that low score was for the most recent inspection when health officials didn't find rat turds in the snack bar.

Here's what they did find: "a black mold-like substance" in the backroom ice machine and around all floor sinks throught the theater; a "filthy" cabinet underneath the cafe sink; and grease accumulation on the fluorescent lights in the popcorn machine.

A couple of weeks ago, I shelled out $8.50 to see Gladiator. It was a Sunday night so I didn't have to worry about the movie being sold out. Actually, even on Friday and Saturday nights, Century Capitol--which I have patronized more than a dozen times in the past three years--is one of the few theaters in this overcrowded valley where you have a decent chance of seeing a first-run movie after the sun goes down.

As I walked in, I made a beeline to the men's bathroom, which has always struck me as frighteningly unsanitary during past visits. That perception didn't change this time. Immediately after I swung the door open, the smell of urine bombarded my nasal passages. As always, there was a "Caution: Floor is Wet" sign on the ground. I fled quickly to the concession stand, which didn't smell, but was absolutely filthy with popcorn and grime all over the ground.

I decided to skip the popcorn and settled on a large Sprite instead, which would later--Gladiator is more than two hours long--result in me watching the movie with an uncomfortably full bladder because I refused to go inside that bathroom again.

RATING: 1 fork

Introduction: Bottom Feeders.

Making The List: The methodology and ratings.

Not on the Menu: Gruesome complaints and bizarre things allegedly found in food.

Wok on the Wild Side: Asian restaurants still get disproportionately high rate of poor inspection reports.

Chew Fly, Don't Bother Me: Tory's Restaurant in Cupertino.

A Fowl Feeling: Mai Garden Restaurant in San Jose.

Fast Food Frightmare: Mr. Chau's Chinese Fast Food in Palo Alto.

Overly Greasy Spoon: Bob's Surf 'N Turf in San Jose.

Not Cool Enough: Gordon Biersch in Palo Alto.

Pastor Its Prime: El Mexicano Taqueria in San Jose.

How Fresh? Fresh N Healthy Vegetarian in San Jose.

Chill Is Gone: Nola in Palo Alto.

How Now Stale Bao? Thanh Mai in San Jose.

Coffee To Go, Please: My My Coffee and Sandwiches in San Jose.

Vermin in the Vermicelli: Florentine Restaurant in Mountain View.

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From the June 8-14, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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