Monday, March 7, 2011

Now Playing...

I love a good movie.  Who doesn’t, right?  However, I hate movie theaters.  This isn’t meant to upset my friends who write for the big screen.  I’ll watch the movie, but in the comfort of my own home with a pause and rewind button.  Oh, theaters are great for watching massive explosions and sci-fi special effects, but I want to be alone.  I don't mean going by myself.  Oh, no.  I'm talking empty movie theater all to my lonesome.  That is why I don't go to the movies.  People are there and the average person can ruin a good movie.

Now, I'm not a total isolationist.  I enjoy people.  That is, I enjoy them in the right environments.  A movie theater does not classify as the right environment.  Neither is camping.  When I go camping I want to enjoy my surroundings - the woods, the stream, the peace and quiet from city-life.  I don't take portable DVD players although I will take a radio.  We went camping with some friends once who packed a portable television, gas grill and half a dozen other home luxuries.  I didn’t get it.  What's the point of camping if you're going to stare at the screen the whole time?  Part of the fun is the break from civilization; from the noisy routine we have termed daily life, to commune with nature, not Hannah Montana.  If your kids can’t get along outdoors for a weekend without the boob tube then don’t expect a high GPA.

But this Mess is about movies, not camping, so back to my rant.  I don't see why people would pay $8.50 to see the latest Nicolas Cage blockbuster on a 30ft by 70ft screen and then talk the whole time.  I hate it when people talk during a TV show!  It's outrageous what they charge to see a movie nowadays but it's even sadder that people actually pay it.  Do you know how many books I could buy for what a date night at Cinema World costs?  A small soda, which is the same size as a kid's drink at McDonald's, is $3!  Then you have to have popcorn because, really, what's a movie without popcorn oozed over in butter, and that costs eight dollars.  A box of Mike & Ike's at Walgreens is a buck fifty while at the theater it's three-fifty.  That's more than a hundred percent mark up!  Not even the big oil companies are that bad.

When I was in elementary school I was invited by another family to go to the movies.  I can’t remember what movie it was but I do recall the mother’s purse because it was huge and to this sixth grader’s eyes seemed bottomless.  There were all kinds of candy that just kept coming out and homemade popcorn.  It never ended!  With prices the way they are, I couldn’t blame her.  (And just quick aside here, hot dogs don’t belong on a movie theater menu board.  They are to be reserved for sporting events or lunch at 7-Eleven.)

It takes sixty dollars for the girls and me to go see a movie, which is the same price of dinner at Texas Roadhouse including the tip.  To be honest, I have more fun eating out than going to see a movie.  Why?  People.

When you go out to a restaurant you expect it to be noisy.  Shoot, almost all restaurants come with large televisions on the walls anyway.  People are talking, sharing drinks, food and laughter.  It's expected.  The couples who carry a newspaper and book to dinner with them are the exception to the rule, not the norm.  However, in a movie theater you expect silence.  This isn't your house where you can rewind to hear the last bit of dialogue because Char and Teri are commenting on how much Hodges of Criminal Minds needs their comfort.  If you miss something you have to wait for it to come to Netflix or spend another sixty dollars.  And if you have to go to the bathroom, don't come back asking me what you missed.  I didn't pay my water bill so I could afford this movie and I’m not going to be your live DVR.  Go before the show, cross your legs or tie a knot in it till the movie is over.

When Star Wars Episode One came out I took the family down to the Vero movie theater because they were the only ones that had stadium seating and I wouldn't have to put up with Johnnie Redneck and his camouflage baseball hat.  We spent the mortgage, got our popcorn and drinks and picked the best seats in the house.  The previews, which count as no-talking zones by the way, and commercials played out, the opening credits zoomed across the screen and Char fell asleep.  As the movie ended, she woke up.  At least she didn't snore.  She even falls asleep during the movie at home so maybe it's Ewan McGregor's fault.  Still, she didn't snore or sprawl out so I could only complain about wasting money on her ticket but then again, I ate her popcorn so it was all right.

People in movie theaters make no sense.  We went to see Season of the Witch and were the first people into the theater.  We picked our seats, settled in and savored the over-priced popcorn.  Another family entered next, dad, mom and two tiny little kids.  They didn't even look around to survey the seating vacancies, of which there were over a hundred.  No, they marched right up to us and sat directly behind us....and talked!  The place was empty.  Only one other couple came in and they went to the very top probably to do something besides watch the movie.  The only thing worse than this family sitting behind us would have been if they sat in front of us.  Why sit near us at all?  We weren't even in the middle.  Were they thinking we were going to hold them during the scary scenes?  No way!  I had a girl on each arm and popcorn in my lap.  I was filled to capacity.

And why bring a five-year old to see a scary movie?  Really, Season of the Witch has some intense Van Helsing type scenes in it.  Is this how we desensitize a generation?  Or is this How to Raise a Psychopath?   There are some movies out there that I won't watch even today and yet we put tiny kids in front of computer enhanced wolves devouring a man.  No wonder they can't go to sleep without Benadryl.  Teri couldn't watch the movie without gauging my right arm with her fingernails, which reminds me I need thicker shirts.  A lady walked past her to go to the bathroom and about sent her into cardiac arrest.  Thank God it wasn't in 3D!

That's another movie gimmick I can do without.  It only adds useless scenes to the movie so that people can be WOW-ed by spinning staffs or lengthy explosions.  Char was watching Clash of the Titans at home the other day and I paused long enough to watch a staff spin out into the air in slow motion before hitting its target.  The only reason that scene was even put in the picture was the 3D gimmick, which was now wasted on me as I didn’t own a pair of those cool glasses.  I don't mind another Pirates movie.  I loved the characters and story lines.  But 3D?  Really?  I don't even want to see porn in 3D, which I'm surprised hasn't been done, yet.  And if it has, please keep it in your private collection.

Movies are only social events before and after, never during.  That's why I don't like going.  Most can't keep from chatting at the worst times.  I know that funny things pop into your head and you just can't resist.  For instance, Nathan took me to see the remake of the original Star Trek and in one scene Kirk, Sulu and a security guy is skydiving down to this massive weapon of destruction, probably the one they couldn’t find in Iraq.  One was in blue, another yellow and the security person in red.  I couldn't help it.  I broke my rule and leaned over to Nathan and whispered, "The red one dies."

And he did, along with my interest in the big screen.

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