Saturday, March 11, 2006

Why I Stopped Going To The Theatre...

Movie-going is down, and Hollywood knows it. Last Sunday, Jake Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, and other actors pleaded on the stage of the Academy Awards for the at-home Oscar-watchers to remember the Golden Age of Cinema and to please, please, please spend some of their hard-earned cash going to the theatre. The reminded us of the epics, the dramas, the biopics, the film noir. And yet, we still refuse to go to the cinema, preferring our movies online, on DVD, on TiVO. And why? Although a significant part of this has to do with the declining quality of the new releases, part of it has to do with something entirely out of the control of Hollywood. Part of it has to do with the obnoxious moviegoing experience. Ah, remember the time when you and your date would spend about $5 apiece to go to the movies, buy a modestly-sized bag of buttery popcorn and an oversized soda and join with the rest of the packed theatre to laugh at the onscreen antics? Now, what does the theatre-going experience offer? We have to spend nearly $9 per person to see a movie, the popcorn and sodas put McDonald's supersized to shame, and at more than double any rational person's price -- I mean, who in their right mind would spend $4 for soda at any size? You get to the theatre and, even when the movie starts on time which isn't always a guarantee, you have to sit through well over fifteen minutes of ads before you get to the fifteen minutes of previews. And then the movie starts. And I don't know whether it's the new theatre chairs that suggest La-Z-Boy comfort or the declining etiquette of modern America, but I don't think I've been to a movie in well over two years in which I have not been seated near the Teeth-Grindingly Annoying Movie Going Audience Member. You know that person: he's the guy who bought three bags of candy before the show, and waited until the movie's opening line to open all three of the crinkly wrappings in rapid succession. She's the lady who came fifteen minutes late with her three screaming children into the R-rated movie and passed four empty aisles to sit her six foot eight inch ass directly in front of you. He's the kid who bought the oversized tub of popcorn and starts munching with his mouth open and gurgling the straw when he finishes his soda too quickly and still has some saltiness in his mouth left to quench. She's the girl with the feet up on your seatrest or just next to your head. He's the guy who's cell phone goes off in the middle of the climatic love scene between Johnny Depp and Samantha Morton. She's the woman who laughs just a little too long at the all wrong places. They're the mother-daughter-brother-sister-husband-wife duo who just can't stop yattering about Rob Lowe's hair or Angelina Jolie's new mail-order baby. He/she/it is the one person in the theatre who can't seem to follow the plot and needs to let everyone, including their moviegoing companion know it. By the end of the night, I've shelled out more than $30 to come see a movie at the cinema and still I'm faced with being packed in with a group of strangers who can't seem to get enough of ruining the movie for everyone else. Why should I waste my money having my night ruined by someone who can't seem to distinguish between a public setting and the sanctity of their own crotch-scratchingly comfortable den? And why, oh why, am I the asshole if I try to "shush" them? So, if Hollywood wants to improve movie attendance, maybe it's not about reminding us why we should go to the movie. Trust me, we want to go, but the movies just aren't worth the aggravation. Instead, perhaps Hollywood should invest some of their cash into coming up with a solution for Annoying Movie Audience Guy. Maybe a machine, installed into the back of each seat that smacks Annoying Movie Audience Guy in the back of the head whenever he opens his mouth to speak. Maybe a device that transmutes cell phone rings into non-fatal but highly-painful electric shocks in the arse. Or maybe even just a call button and some highly trained staff to come remove the offending Movie Audience Guy from the cinema. Hey, I don't have any bright ideas. I only know why I stopped going to the theatre. And it's not just 'cuz movies nowadays suck.


Blogger NursePam said...

LOL Jenn! I have to agree with you. The movie theater experience sucks. And why would a family of 4 spend about $100 to take the kiddies to the movies when they can do the whole thing at home plus dinner for under $20?

You could have a nice night in with your b/f, complete with movie and a decent bottle of wine for 20. And not deal with idiots.

3/11/2006 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Trula said...

Yup, I agree. We rarely go to the movies for the same reasons you posted.

3/12/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Rtother said...

Good points. The movie audiences around here are pretty good. I tend not to see movies in theaters because when I shell out $8.50 I want to see a good movie! I don't mind paying a couple of dollars for a bad rental, but I want to be wowed in the theater. I expect quality when I go see a film. $8.50 is too much to pay to see Ultraviolet or whatever piece of junk is currently playing. And it just incourages Hollywood to keep making bad flicks.

3/12/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Piig said...

The only time I venture into mainstream movie theaters is when I have a free sneak preview pass.

My town is lucky enough to have an independently owned art house theater. They shows films that would never make it to the chains, and they pad their schedule with the big Hollywood movies. Popcorn and soda cost a buck fifty each, and you can also buy brownies and baklava made by local restaurants. Most patrons are there because they love film, so I rarely encounter impoliteness.

The theater is a labor of love for the two guys who own it. I just hope they can continue to show quality films at low prices for a long time to come.

3/17/2006 11:52:00 AM  

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