28 February 2019

The Movies

I don't think I've ever been identified as a cinephile.  Sure, if I like a film I will talk about it, and possibly analyze it, but it's not a deep passion, not the way books and certain TV shows are for me.  Still, as a child, going to the movies was one of life's greatest pleasures.  We had a theater just two blocks away, so it wasn't a hassle to get there, and when I was a little older and IMAX type, stadium seating developed, it meant a fun trip to the city or maybe Forest Hills, each of which was a little different, and really it didn't take much to get excited about even the most mediocre movie.

In the past decade I rarely go to the movie theater.  I didn't suddenly fall out of love with the experience, but I find there's so many reasons to stay away, and wait for its release on the streaming sites.  That actually leads to the first reason:

Shorter wait: When Titanic came out at the end of 1997 I saw it four times in the theater.  I never do that anymore.  It played in the theater for months, and then it came out on VHS in September of 1998.  I remember this specifically because I held on the receipt for sentimental reasons: I purchased the video in the Borders located in the World Trade Center.  I'll never let go of that receipt!  The point is that if I didn't see the movie in the theaters, I would have had to wait 9 months to see it, and if I hadn't bought it, I would have probably have had to wait til I could get it at Blockbuster, which could take forever.  The only film I saw last year in the theater was Bohemian Rhapsody.  It was available digitally less than three months after its theater release date.  Hence, I normally just wait.

But what about spoilers? you may ask.  Yes, what about them?  When the last Avengers movie came out, it was released first in the UK.  I was checking a group I follow on Facebook, one that has nothing to do with movies, and before I realized what I was reading, some lovely person had posted all the spoilers for that movie.  Now I didn't want to bother spending the money.  That brings us to point 2:

Is It Worth It? The price of a ticket locally is $16.40.  Ouch.  What if I didn't like the movie?  There's no refund.  And that's not counting snacks or dinner afterward.  As a single person that's enough of an expense, but imagine paying for a family?  I know that box office earnings influence marketing and future film making, but I can't fork over cash to help a statistic.  If I wait a few months, the movie, whether I like it or not, will likely be available on one of the streaming sites I subscribe to...

Stream Away: I subscribe to a number of services that offer enough movies, new and old, to satisfy my viewing needs.  It's too much, and I know I spend enough time watching stuff, but it's still a better value.

Crowds!!!  I admit that sometimes, watching a superhero movie with an audience, and hearing their reaction along with my own, can be fun.  Overall, though, I don't care for sitting in crowds, and prefer to sit on an aisle, which is normally not the best angle, and not guaranteed in a popular movie.  When I saw Bohemian Rhapsody I picked a theater that had reserved seating, which is a good idea, until you find that someone is sitting in your seat.  Somehow I had the courage (foolhardiness?) to ask the guy to move, but even that action took away some of the enjoyment.  Then there's the other noises that are unwelcome - like conversation, chewing, babies crying, that as I get older bring out the crabby in me to a higher degree.  It's a shame.  

Leaving the house: This can work for and against going to the movies.  On a rainy day off, it's nice to make a pillow fort and catch up on some Netflix, rather than sitting a soggy self on a carpeted chair, placing umbrella on a sticky floor.  BUT it can also be fun to use the movies as an excuse to get out of the house.  This depends on one's current mood.

Ah!  But what about the 'surround sound', the huge screens, the special effects and 3D?  Yes, it's cool, but I also think these can be overwhelming.  Again, that's me.  I have sensory issues. I'm still not sure if the migraine I got the day after seeing Avatar in 3D came from the movie or the cheap champagne I tried later on.  I don't care for 3D because it costs extra, and I don't like putting glasses on top of my glasses.  No, I don't want to put on contact lenses so I can look cute in the dark!

To bring this around to my central theme of tea - it's terribly awkward to take tea in a theater.  There's also the matter of not being able to pause for the inevitable bathroom break.  We need intermissions, like they have in Bollywood films.  

I'm obviously not anti-theater, but I prefer to limit my visits to absolute must-sees (or a free ticket, but sometimes not even then if I'm not in the mood.)  I can compare my preferences to going to the beach.  I like it, but once or twice a year is more than enough for me.

Viewing is better when there's a cat atop oneself.

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