Aug 10, 2009

Why I don’t go to the movies (follow-up to Joker’s “Check Your Children at the Door” post)

It hurts me to write this. It pains me, but… I must confess to the blogosphere: I can no longer stand going to the cinema.

This is difficult for me because I am a rabid film aficionado. I LOVE MOVIES. Movies have played an important role at every stage of my life and I am not ashamed to admit that some films have even shaped the very essence of my personality. Old, new, foreign, Hollywood, Bollywood, obscure, kitsch… you name it, I’ve enjoyed it.

However, I can no longer stand going to an actual movie theater for a night out. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m becoming a Grumpy Old Man, but the cinema experience just isn’t what it used to be, even with Digital 3D and 18.1 surround sound. There was a time when going to the cinema was an EVENT. You looked forward to it. You were anxious to get there. You sat in the theater to be wowed by the magic of the story. The movie was the showstopper. Even if the movie sucked, you still had an experience. It was still a night out.

Today, there’s just too much shit going on competing for your attention:

Cell phones: No matter how many warnings the theater threatens you with, people cannot let go of their phones. Did you really pay $35.00 for a night at the movies just to spend a large part of two hours on the phone? And just because you silenced the ringer doesn’t mean that the glow from the screen isn’t interrupting my enjoyment of the movie. If you made time to enjoy the show, the least you can do is show some respect and give the entertainment your undivided attention. Since when did it become so urgent to answer every call you receive? We were born without cell phones. Surely we can live without them for at least two hours.

Kids: Before I became a dad, I always deemed it inconsiderate to bring babies to the movies. I am now a dad and STILL feel the same way. Sure, kids have every right to enjoy their movies, but why drag along your two-year old to see “Childern of Men” or “Planet Terror?” As soon as I felt that my daughter was ready to see movies we could both enjoy (aside from Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks stuff), and that she more or less knew proper movie theater etiquette, I dared to take her with me. Some parents consider it “cute” when their toddler plays with their Tonka trucks in the aisles. Other’s see no harm in bringing their months-old baby to a 9:00 p.m. screening. Instead of getting a good night’s rest, they’re balling their eyes out. I feel sorry for these people.

The Art of Conversation: Of course I love to talk about movies. Let’s get down to postmodern cinematic tendencies and the Wellesian script treatment, but let’s do it when the movie’s over. People talking during the middle of a film, out loud like they were in their living room, drives me nuts. And it happens more often than not. Again, did you really drop serious bank just to talk your way through a film with a buddy? In most cases, these people aren’t even talking about the film. I’ve been at the theater and learned from my fellow audience members that so-and-so missed her period, that Joe Schmoe is two months late on his car payments, and that Jane Doe is on the outs with her husband…

My wife jokes that I’m getting cranky in my old age, but the fact remains: It takes a lot for me to actually go to a movie theater nowadays. In fact, I only go: (1) on the first showing of the day, hopefully before noon, and NEVER on the weekend of the film’s release; (2) with my crew, the group of friends (more like family) that I humbly call The Power Penis Posse. You know who you are. If it weren’t for you guys, I’d still be locked away in the peace and quiet of my home watching DVDs. Plus, anything looks good on screen with one too many tequila’s in your system.


Me said...

Hell yeah, the PPP in the house! We got too many shit to watch coming soon, dude. Tequila and Sushi definitively.

18.1 reference. Golden.

Joker said...

I still insist man... but one day I'm going to snap... and I'm going to be filmed on a cell phone and become famous on youtube.

Teenie said...

Movies are just the tip of the iceberg. It's common courtesy that's out--and the me-me-me generation that rules.

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