I love movies. I spent most of my overweight and anxious teenage years saving up my allowance, so I could go see all of the new releases in the theater. There was just something special about seeing a movie on the big screen, that brought so much excitement. I wasn’t old enough to know what sex was like, so sitting there with a big greasy tub of buttered pop-corn, the lights all dimmed, the cackle of the shoddy surround-sound, and a shitty Godzilla reboot playing before me, man, that was living. I’m talking l-i-v-i-n.
Now I find myself in my thirties. I have the time, but after I get home from work, I’m lucky if I find the energy or even the strength to clean the dishes from the previous night’s taco-feast, let alone go to the movie theaters. I lay on my couch in my underwear, enraptured in Netflix, which has slowly become my best friend, and my worst enemy. How has this disconnect happened? Am I lazy, or does going to the theater just stink nowadays?
Full disclaimer: I do not have kids. If I did, this would make even more sense to me. I can only imagine what it is like to take kids to the movies. For some reason it’s not acceptable to take your kids to see movies like Natural Born Killers or Goodfellas, so you’ll have to watch something that you wont even like. I mean Frozen? Who are we kidding. I haven’t even seen it, but I already know that I hate it. My guess is that it’s either a movie trying to frame the unforeseen and reprehensible consequences of global warming to a five-year-old, or it’s a movie about a midget and a talking parrot that work in an ice-cream truck, either way I’m not interested. Then two hours later, your kid is covered in chocolate, tears, and popcorn dust, and you drive home with a song stuck in your head that was sung by a dancing fish and a hamster with an eye-patch. No thanks.
So aside from the movie theater experience being a total bitch if you have kids, what other reasons might exist? Perhaps it’s the cost. I know, inflation, blah blah blah, but still, it’s hard for me to shell out like $15 bucks to see a movie I can more than likely find for free at home on the Pirates Bay. For sake of argument, let’s even forget ticket prices. You’ll have to drive to the theater as well, and these days, it’s like $20 in gas just to go to the end of your driveway to get the mail. On top of all that, you’re more than likely going to get thirsty, and you will fall victim to the movie theater’s oldest trick in the book: the snack bar marquee will show you like $8 for a small soda, $8.25 for a medium, and $8.26 cents for a large. So wow, I’ve upgraded to the large for only like $.26! Oh wait, derp, I still spent like $8 bucks on a Diet Pepsi, that I’ll throw more than half of away anyways. Again, no thanks.
But I’d be naive to think that the main reason isn’t just the convenience of other mediums. Even though there’s a decline in video stores (which saddens me), there’s a Redbox on every corner. If I had a dollar for every Redbox location I have in my town and a time machine, I could take all of the dollars and travel back in time two years ago, and get myself a five-dollar footlong (because that’s totally what I would do if I had a time machine). We also have Netflix, Netflix Instant, the DVR, movies OnDemand, Hulu, YouTube, etc, etc. I mean christ, I can watch episodes of The Office on my phone while I’m actually in my office (take that, Inception). Honestly with all of this available entertainment, I think going to the movie theaters just drops down even further in the entertainment pecking order.
One of my favorite movies of all times is Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. It came out in 1969, and I’ve seen it on DVD at least two dozen times. Recently, they re-released it for a one-night viewing, at the Macedonia Cinemark, and I eagerly went and bought a ticket and watched the entire 1 hour and 50 minute runtime of this film, and it was almost as if I had never seen it before. So I guess there is still some charm and allure to going to the movies, that just cannot be replicated anywhere else.
Or maybe Hollywood just needs to stop making shitty sequels to movies about fighting robots that turn into cars, or about fighting cars that turn into robots, or whatever the fuck they do. Seriously Michael Bay, knock it off.