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The Joy is Gone

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It really struck me today that I just don’t look forward to going out to see a movie anymore.

Our daughter is going to a sleepover and my wife suggested that we should go out and catch a movie… something good, like maybe The Aviator. My reaction was a very muted “Yeah, sure, I suppose.” A few years back I remember chomping at the bit to get out and see a flick at the local multiplex, and I remember being annoyed at the fact I was only able to get away maybe twice a month to see something on the big screen. She even commented, saying hey, we don’t have to go out and see something.

I guess I’ve just been worn down to the point that it’s just not much of a thrill any more, and the finger can be pointed at a number of sources that are at fault:

Escalating movie ticket prices

Sure, they’re cheaper where I live now, but before I left San Diego the evening ticket price was within spitting distance of $10. Take your wife and kid with you and you’ve spent $26 just to get in the damned door, never mind popcorn and a drink.

Commercials before movies

This might not be as bad if it were not following the previous reason. Drop a ton of cash at the door and now I have to sit through as many as eight commercials before I even see a movie trailer? It started out sneakily, with one or two creative/funny commercials, but now it’s the same junk that’s on TV. Heck, with my Tivo I don’t even watch commercials at home. Do the studios really think I want to pay to watch them in a movie theater??

Product placement during movies

This was the precursor to commercials before the show. This one burns me almost as much as the previous item. For some reason any time I see a brand name it sucks me right out of the film. Sometimes it’s so blatant that I don’t feel like I’m watching a movie so much as walking through a mall (Total Recall, anyone?).

Loud talkers and cell phones

Do I really need to say much about this? Hello? You are not sitting at home on your couch with a beer in your hand where you can talk to your wife/kids/husband/dog in the middle of the #$#%$ movie! Have some respect and consideration for the rest of us, would ya?

Parents bringing kids to inappropriate films

Ever since I became a father I’ve become extremely sensitive to this, and it drives me INSANE to see parents come into a showing of an R rated film towing four, six, and eight year old kids behind them. Every time something that earns the movie it’s R rating is on screen I think of the kids little sponge brains sucking it all in.

Overly loud volume

This is what happens when you have teenagers in charge of the volume control. There have been times where my ears actually hurt due to the volume of sound coming out of the speakers. I’ve sat through moments where it was turned up so loud that you could hear the speakers cross the edge of clarity into garbled noise.

The Alternative

With the advent of surround sound systems for the home, big screen HDTV monitors, DVD players, online DVD rental, and Tivo satellite systems (of which I own all of the above), who needs to go out to see a movie and get the full effect? I pop a mean bowl of popcorn, and can kick back with a nice dark beer (that costs less than a small soda at the theater) in my leather recliner, control the volume, and pause the movie when I need to. And the floor isn’t sticky, either.

It’s good to be the king.

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About Vic

  • Amen.

    While I guess I could live with the product placement (IIRC there was placement in the Marx Brothers’ last film, “Love Happy”), the prices and ads have become unconscionable. The adproblem really gets exacerbated when the kids want to see something sure to be popular, such as the Sponge Bob movie, and you must arrive early to get a decent seat (I’ve unfortunately ended up sitting in the first row of the theater several times at crowded showings of popular kids films this summer). Agreed heartily on the volume problem, “Shark Tale” being the worst screening I attended in that regard.

    It’s a lousy value for an evening out with the young’uns, as the last time (for “Sponge Bob”) it topped sixty bucks between admissions, drinks and snacks. Which brings up another minor rant – the service at the concessions. You’d think they could hire someone who could serve a customer in less than four minutes….

  • That’s what I’m talking about: $60 for a sub-par experience.

    Making a “movie night” at home with snacks, drinks and everyone huddled together on the couch is a *much* better experience.


  • I remember when I just had to get out to see a movie the minute it got to Israel – now I go about once a year. You will find the joy going out of a lot of things we’ve been using up till now to fill us – because the true filling we’re seeking is elsewhere. We’ll eventually see that all these things were just one big distraction from the main event.

  • Eric Olsen

    everyone can use distractions now nad then

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks SR and agree with most of it: it proably says more about the state of my ears than anything, but almost never find the theater sound loud ENOUGH. I get complaints from all concerned parties about the volume I run the home surround sound system at, but that’s another element of its beauty – I can change it whenever I want.

    I think you are undervaluing the amazing upgrades in the theaters regarding seating, lines of sight, and overall quality of the experience, which is still only available there (unless you have unlimited funds for home)

  • I don’t know Eric, the line of site from my recliner to my TV is pretty good. 🙂


  • Josia,

    Of course I think you’re right, but as Eric stated, we can all use a little distraction now and then.


  • Movies are definitely the most sophisticated form of distraction we’ve invented so far … but the things we do for money, power, and respect are the main channels for getting us off track – it’s ironic though that it’s really not us – we’re really not doing anything at all at this undeveloped stage.

  • I love heading out to the theater and seeing the big screen and curling up with a kid or too. And we have the home theater thing set up too. There are some movies I want on the screen. It’s still worth the $ for me and worth sitting through the commercials and everything else.

    There are building concierges and umpteen websites where you can prebuy movie tickets for any chain for 5 or 6 bucks a piece. I think you can’t use them in the first 10 days of a run.

    There are fewer movies I will do it for but I still love it. Aviator is a good movie that will play as well at home. Action films like National Treasure, the Italian Job, and Perfect Storm are better in the theater. Visual films like Under the Tuscan Sun are better in the theater.

  • Wow, I so totally agree with you. Scott and I were talking about this the other day, when we went to see “Constantine.” Some woman brought her (approx.) 3-year-old daughter in! And so many people really do act like they’re just at home–they prop their feet up, make loud comments. . . It’s not worth the cost, especially now that we have a really nice home theatre setup.

  • There are building concierges and umpteen websites where you can prebuy movie tickets for any chain for 5 or 6 bucks a piece. I think you can’t use them in the first 10 days of a run.

    Do you have any links?

    There are still some movies that I do go see on the big screen. I’m sure I’ll go see the upcoming Star Wars flick and “Batman Begins” at a theater. But the way things are going, eventually *only* “event movies” will get any box office.