Top Five Reasons Why I Try To Avoid Movie Theaters
|LISTS - MOVIE LISTS|
Some reasons to wait out the disc release...
There is something magical about going to the theater to see a movie. It’s like being part of a mini-community, all of you gathered together in one place with a common interest. This seems even more so when you stay up late and attend midnight premieres for films, or go to a midnight showing of a cult classic, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. And if you’re lucky, you may still live in a community whose theater still resembles the old style; with the curtain up on a stage where they once performed plays or had traveling shows perform. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself more than once saying “I can wait till it’s out on DVD”. It’s not the same experience seeing it at home as it is seeing it up on the big screen the way it was meant to be seen, but sometimes, it’s just easier. Here are some reasons as to why I avoid the crowds I was once so eager to join.
5. Quality of Films
For me to go out and cough up my hard-earned funds to see a movie, it has to be something that I really want to see. All too often I’ve been lured in by the false promises of movie trailers, expecting a cinematic wonder and then walking out realizing that there went two hours of my life I would never get back. For every great film experience I’ve had, there has been a Batman & Robin or Under Siege 2 that has made me cautious of spending the cash to go see these films. I won’t say every film I personally enjoy is on par with Citizen Kane, but I do try to limit my theater experience to those films I know I’m going to enjoy (with the exception of being dragged to that Twilight crapfest last summer).
4. Cell Phones
The flame war may start now. Yes, dear readers, I am old enough to remember a time before these tools of the devil. I still remember the first time my film watching experience was disturbed by the ringing of someone’s phone, and having to listen to them have a quick conversation as they got pissed at everyone else who kept shushing them (yeah, we were the jerks). Now, most filmgoers are content to avoid conversations, but it irks me to no end to see a large number of brightly-lit screens as people sit and text or post to Facebook while they’re “watching” the movie. I know I’m of the old school train of thought, and believe that if you’re going to shell out the money for a movie, you might actually, I don’t know, watch the movie. When I go to the theater alone, I shut my cell off. If the wife and I go, she leaves hers on vibrate, only in case there’s a problem with the kids. I know most folks will tell me I’m being unreasonable, and that they’re not bothering anybody, but it is a distraction. And really, can’t you be away from the internet for a little while?
3. “The Flocking Theory"
This is something I’ve inherited from my father. I never noticed it until he pointed it out to me one time when I was a teenager. If a restaurant, theater, etc. is nearly empty, the next people to come in will invariably sit in close proximity to you, even though there are so many other seats unoccupied. Most of the time, I don’t mind, but when I pick a seat that is out of the way, and the rest of the theater is empty, I expect some privacy. Don’t sit, look at the room, and then decide the only place left is right in front of me. Sure, there’s the feeling of community, but that only goes so far.
2. Rude People
"Theater owners are afraid to offend their biggest customer base, which are teenagers. They won’t risk losing their business, but will risk losing mine because I don’t spend as much time or money there"
For some reason, there are people who seriously believe that everyone wants every detail of the movie spoiled for them. On a few occasions, I’ve been “treated” to some moron who has to tell his buddy everything that is going to happen in advance, and just loud enough for me to hear it. “Oh, man, this next scene is where that guy gets shot.” “This is where the killer jumps out and stabs her in the neck with a radio antenna.” Thank you, Mr. Obnoxious, for ruining the film for me. Next time I see you here, I’m taping your mouth shut.
And then, there are those groups of young people that won’t shut up, no matter what happens. My wife and I sat through The Sixth Sense with a group of high school girls in front of us talking, giggling, and basically being annoying the entire way through the film. Several times we went out to complain, to which an attendant would come in, warn them in the nicest way possible, and walk back out, just for them to start up again. The fault, I know, can’t be placed fully on them. Theater owners are afraid to offend their biggest customer base, which are teenagers. They won’t risk losing their business, but will risk losing mine because I don’t spend as much time or money there. Is it fair? No. But there it is. Of course, had their parents taken the time to teach them not to act like chimpanzees hopped up on smack when they’re in public, then maybe I could sit and hear the movie I just paid to see.
This is the number one reason to stay home, because it seems to be popping up when I explain every other reason. Here in Iowa, I can figure on spending anywhere from $6 to $10 a ticket, which is much lower than most other places in the country. And since half of my movie-going is done with my kids in tow, it means popcorn, candy, and drinks. I understand that theaters only make a small percentage on the films themselves, and that their main income is from concessions, but I have to tell you, $4 sodas and $2 candy bars seem more than a little steep for my budget. Many theaters have started offering combo deals and kids' trays (popcorn, candy, and a drink all on one tray), which helps some (as do the free refills offered at some outlets). But when disposable income is hard to come by, it gets pretty difficult to justify spending anywhere up to $30 to take my family out for a movie (of course, I’m a sucker for my kids’ “puppy dog” eyes, and usually relent). I’ve just found it easier – and much cheaper – with most of the Hollywood fare to go out, rent a movie or two, pop up some popcorn in the microwave, and enjoy a quiet evening at home.
I do, I love going out to see a movie. I have so many fond memories of sitting in the theater with friends and family. And film studios are noticing that I’m not alone in staying home, if the recent rise in IMAX ready movies and 3-D fare are any indication. Studios are anxious to get our butts back in the seats. But maybe if there were some better films to see, or if we can kick the idiots out, I might just start attending more films.
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