7 tips for surviving two hours without food in a cinema
|LISTS - MOVIE LISTS|
Backroom boffins hypothesise that movies can be watched unfuelled. The fools...
Christopher Campbell's thoughts on whether cinemas should ban outside food at FirstShowing today brings up a subject that has always mystified me - why do we eat in cinemas at all? In these days where distributors are ever keener to get shorter films served to us in the maximum number of viewings per night, it's relatively rare that we end up in the movie theatre for more than a couple of hours. A couple of hours.
It's daunting, but I believe - in theory at least - that it can be done (theatre-lovers manage it, for instance). Here therefore are some suggestions for surviving the length of a Hollywood movie whilst resting your alimentary canal...
7: Eat before you go in
If you're vexed by high popcorn prices, take advantage of the hostelries that inevitably spring up around cinemas with a view to skimming off incoming and outgoing traffic. Why pay a day's rent for grisly nachos when you can clog your arteries at half-price a hundred yards away? Ask Ming's/Ho Fat's/Chung Lu's Chinese restaurant, only two minutes' walk from this cinema. They know.
6: Wait to eat until you leave
5: Ask what time the film itself begins
Even in the UK, where cinema chains have always been keen to announce showing times that actually herald the start of the program (i.e. the prefacing ads and trailers) rather than the movie, you can still find out what time the film itself actually starts.
Admittedly this is a lot harder to do from home than it used to be before robots started manning cinema information lines, but even if you have to go to the cinema earlier than necessary to discover this information, you can still use an unwelcome delay to take advantage of tips #7 and #6. It's commercial logic for the cinemas to get their target market esconsed in their selling environment for as long as possible (same reason why supermarkets arrange their sections for maximum inconvenience), so anything that can limit your visit to the movie's runtime has the potential to save you from starvation/bankruptcy.
4: Concentrate on the movie
Even the humblest films take years to make, and some of the biggest cost over $200 million. Those innocuous six reels of celluloid often or usually hide years of hope and heartbreak, passion and pain, and hundreds of thousands of working hours; they're the fruit of rare moments of inspiration and enthusiasm that may never return to the film-makers. Their sole intention is to amaze, mystify, dazzle, frighten,sadden, cheer and remove you from your world for a couple of hours, to send you out from the building amazed to find yourself back in the real world.
What will a mustard-drenched hot-dog add to this spiritual and intellectual communion? Is it not more likely to distract you from the very experience for which you paid more than you would like to have paid (never mind what the hot-dog cost)?
Next time you spill out your heart to a friend, imagine them scoffing a bag of Maltesers as you plough through your story, or talking to someone next to them while you're still talking yourself, or taking an unheralded toilet-break ("sorry, musta been the supersized OJ") in the middle of aÂ crucial turning in your tale and coming back to consequently have no understanding of the rest of it.
3: Think of the environment
There are few things that can cut in on the emotional power of a death scene/love scene like the smell of cheese-covered onions or scarfing chocolate. In the light of the failure of Smell-o-ramaâ„¢, Hollywood has nothing to fight back with against such interruptions, so remember that with great power comes great responsibility, and restrain yourself.
2: Consider the zero-benefit overpriced food on offer
Since you're going to be having a hard time sneaking your own food into the cinema soon, remember that the oily/sugar-laden crud you're still allowed to buy from concession booths is not only twice the price it would be in any other commercial marketplace but made to recipes that even a 12 year-old AD-ridden kid might consider a bit lacking in virtue and excessive in terms of calories.
1: Resolve to change the status quo
In any argument about cinema food, the reliable old canard about impoverished cinema owners needing to eke a living out from overpriced food will inevitably re-emerge. This is an aged argument that held some validity before the multiplex era, back when independently-run cinemas were common. Today the cinema chains are owned at the highest level by the very same corporate behemoths that made the movies; and they're relying on this out-of-date sympathy-vote not only to keep the great cinema-food extortion going on, but to tighten the reins and rules about what gets eaten in movie-houses.
This is the information age, the age where you can find contact addresses without leaving your home - so write to Hollywood, write to the cinema chains, write to the distributors and tell them why you don't buy their overpriced junk food, and remind them that you're someone who loves movies...and ask them if they feel the same way.