This month the Rogues Rant makes it’s return with the following question:
"What do you hate the most about going to movie theaters to see a film?"
I guess most people would rather sit in their houses and watch DVDs than actually go out to a theater. Unfortunately, I disagree with those who proclaim movie theaters are about to die away. Most movies watched on a 17" monitor screen would look better on the big screen instead. I’m not going to rail against ticket prices because $5 matinees aren’t bad.
My big gripe isn’t exactly the people. Who wants to get comfortable by propping your feet on the seat in front of you and have to contend with kids running by you? The bunch of front row kids decides to move to the 3rd from the back row and have to go past you 4 times. If I could charge them a toll, maybe I could afford some popcorn or a drink which would make it worthwhile…
It must be good luck that I’ve not had to bother with anything like that. I must pick mainly movies that keep the really annoying people away. Everyone has heard the horror stories of people talking on their cell phones or pitching a fit because they thought Sin City was supposed to be a children’s movie about morality.
Duane L. Martin:
(Note: This is a post I made recently in my blog about a trip to a local IMAX theater to see the latest Harry Potter movie with my wife. I thought it was appropriate to reproduce it here for this rant.)
Ok, I’m going to rant a little here, because something happened to me last night that really pissed me off.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was playing at our local IMAX theater. So I thought, "Hey awesome! We’ll go see it in IMAX!" Ok so far so good. So we head on over there, and it’s 19 bucks to get the tickets to get in. There was no one actually at the door checking tickets, so we could have just walked in and saved the 19 bucks. Anyway, so we go in and sit down. There’s a problem with the projector so I ask my wife Sharon if she’d like to run and grab us some popcorn and drinks since it’s like a special movie for us and it was kind of a birthday thing for me. (My birthday was on December 3rd. How come none of you sent me presents???) So she goes and gets them and comes back with two drinks and a bucket of popcorn. Fourteen bucks!!!! Ok, I let it go because it was a birthday thing for me and we almost never do it, but $14 for 2 drinks and some popcorn is ridiculous. We got the better of them though. We snuck in some candy bars that we ate during the movie. Anyway, now this brings me to the real rant part of this post…
We’re sitting there, and the people around us are all ok…so far. There’s people with little kids, which irritates the hell out of me. They’re called babysitters people. They’re not that expensive. So we’re sitting in the top section and there’s a couple down below us by the rail at the bottom that has two little kids. One was maybe 2 and a half and the other was probably 1 and a half. Something like that. Anyway, so the older one is making noise and stuff, but the movie hadn’t started yet and it was kinda cute. Then this family of sick idiots comes and sits next to us. Dad’s got a cold and he’s wandering around and the kids are wandering around. The kids were probably between 8 and 10 years old. They’re coughing and spreading germs around. It’s like, if you’re sick…stay the hell home. Don’t take it out and spread it. So anyway they finally sit down, and the movie finally starts a half hour late. So me and Sharon are both really excited about this because we’ve been really wanting to see this movie. (Great movie by the way.) Well everything was fine for a bit. Then maybe about twenty or so minutes into the movie, that two and a half year old down in the front row starts makin’ all kinds of noise. Random vocalizations, singing…la la la la la la la la….. Did the idiot parents do anything to shut her up? NO! Everyone in the theater was getting pissed off, and I damn near said something. The kid was going ALL through the damn movie, and the only bits of quiet we got was when the idiot mother took her precious little angel to the bathroom twice. What I really should have done was complain to the magager and gotten a refund on my tickets.
PEOPLE! IF YOUR STUPID KIDS AREN’T OLD ENOUGH TO SIT THROUGH A MOVIE QUIETLY, THEN DON’T TAKE THEM TO THE DAMN MOVIES!!!!!!! IT’S AS SIMPLE AS THAT!!!!! WHAT DON’T YOU GET HERE???
So about 45 minutes from the end of the movie, the drink starts to hit me. But the sicky family is blocking the isle and there’s hardly any room to get by, so I held it…and held it…and held it…. By the end of the movie I had to go so bad I could taste it. I was just praying for the movie to be over so I could get out and go pee. So the movie finally ends, and I stand up and put on my coat to run to pee. Well sicky family takes their own damn sweet time getting up and getting the hell out of the way. I wanted so bad to scream at them, "MOVE YOU IDIOTS!!!" So they finally clear out and I head down the steps, and every idiot in front of me is walking in like super slow motion, and I couldn’t get around them. Finally I got out and took one of the longest pees I ever took in my life. At this point I was pissed off, I was distracted from the movie, didn’t get my money’s worth and almost pissed my pants. I was ready to lay the smackdown on someone.
I can’t wait for the movie to come out on DVD so I can get it and watch it till my eyes bleed in the comfort of my own home with no sicky people and no bratty kids with idiot parents that refuse to keep them quiet. And I can make my own damn popcorn for less than a buck, and drink all the soda I can pee for maybe another buck fifty.
So that’s my rant. I know a lot of you have gone through similar things and have gotten just as pissed off about it as me. I don’t care if people do think I’m an ass. Next time someone brings their bratty ass kids to the movies and they yack all through it, I’m going to teach them a little lesson about life in the civilized world.
Going to the movie theater is like arranging to meet an old friend for coffee. The friend is one you knew as a child and enjoyed immensely, because every time you were together it was assured you would have a large amount of fun. As the years passed the friendship became complicated, with innocence being replaced by the realization of this individual’s many flaws. First off, he’s a huge mooch. We’re talking he’ll take anywhere from eight to twenty dollars from you every time you meet, and there’s no chance you’ll be paid back (unless you complain to his parents). He’s also really rude. Jesus he talks a lot. Why is he talking on his cell phone all the time? Can’t he shut that baby up? And I swear, if he tries to make me buy another friggin’ Fanta drink…!
And yet, despite all this, you still meet this friend on a regular basis. Why?
Well, for me at least, the reason I keep returning to the movie theater and all of the problems it brings is the moment right before a film I’ve been really eager to see, when an iconic studio logo such as Universal’s spinning globe or 20th Century Fox’s massive, spotlight altar to Hollywood appears on the big screen. When the themes for those logos play on the sound system, an excitement having nothing to do with cynicism or pretentiousness wells up inside me, and for one shining moment anything is possible in the next two hours. From there, who can be certain, but the simple rush of seeing a logo before a big movie starts is pure joy.
Now on the other hand, there are a million reasons to hate the movie theater, and to pick one as being the most grating is a somewhat difficult choice. Reflection brings the answer, however: The bloated monster known as TV advertising. For the love of all that is good and just in this world, why are my senses being blasted from every direction by the sights and sounds of painfully unfunny commercials I freely decimate at home by changing the channel? And despite focused and passionate attempts, they always seem to draw my attention away from even the best of conversations with a friend. Talk about the height of interference.
One last gripe: Who here feels genuinely miffed and resentful after watching one of those cell phone awareness ads masquerading as movie trailers? To this day I’m being tricked by the people behind this stupid campaign, and to a certain extent I want to give them the finger and not only leave my phone on but have people purposely call me during the film. It’s a rule of common courtesy for crying out loud, not an issue like drinking and driving where lives are at risk. Stop trying to be clever and as a result making me even angrier than I need to be, you bums.
So yeah, expensive popcorn, moronic mainstreamers, and eardrum-bursting ads put aside, I don’t think I’ll be boycotting the theater system anytime soon. Theaters just provide a difference in size and scope you simply can’t copy with a home system, no matter how fancy the sound system. The people who do hole themselves up at home and stick merely to Netflix almost astound me in their desire to be sequestered, since I feel movies, especially blockbusters, are at home when presented in a theater.
First off, I still enjoy going to the movies, but I usually only go when either a.) my girlfriend demands it or b.) when there’s something out in theaters that I need to see! When a huge epic film (e.g. King Kong) comes out, I usually make sure I see it on the big screen. Sure it’s a lot cheaper to wait for the DVD release of films nowadays, but there’s no bigger thrill than seeing a film up there on the silver screen with speakers blasting in your ears. Yes, I hate when people bring small children to theaters, yes I hate when people talk obnoxiously during the film (a sin I myself have committed repeatedly in several theaters), and yes I definitely hate the rising cost of ticket prices and snacks, but I will always end up shelling out my hard earned cash to cram my ass into an uncomfortable seat and watch a movie. Luckily for me, this is a lousy year for theatrical releases and only a select few films seem good enough to spend money on, including: Slither, X-Men III, Superman Returns, Night Watch, Ultraviolet, plus a few others.
Personally, I think theaters should drop ticket prices temporarily and start showing some older "classic" films. And when I say classics I don’t really mean Casablanca and Gone with the Wind. I mean Jaws, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1941 (it deserves a second chance!), Platoon, The Shining, Rocky, what have you. I think a cinematic renaissance is in order for the next generation, don’t you?! Movies used to be huge events that everyone anticipated, but now their being cranked out quickly on a veritable assembly line. The magic’s gone, there’s no more originality, and prices keep going up. Something needs to happen fast or else theaters will become extinct, and I for one do not want to see that happen!
What do I like about going to see a movie in the theater? Well, for starters…the whole cinematic experience. Seeing a movie on the big screen is much more of an event than watching it on TV, especially when seeing it with a good audience. This is really true of horror films. That sense of dread and fright is almost tangible in such a communal setting and really heightens the enjoyment of the film. When an audience is really "into" a film, regardless of the genre, it makes the overall experience more fun. Booing at the bad guys, cheering at the hero, screaming at the scares and laughing at the funny parts all contribute to that sense of a shared experience…provided people remember that viewing the film is the main objective and not go overboard with their enthusiasm. This leads me to the next segment.
What do I hate about the movies? There are many things. I’ll dispense with things like high admission prices, exorbitant popcorn and soda costs and the proliferation of commercials, ads and other useless (and annoying) advertising before the start of the film. No, my big complaint: the people. The same factor that can make for a great theater experience more often than not makes for a lousy one. For starters, people have become selfish and rude in our society and think nothing of talking loudly and incessantly during a film. I did not pay hard-earned money to listen to their commentary, so they need to shut the hell up. I also hate unruly and/or noisy kids. I detest children as it is, but when they start making noise in a theater, they need to be rounded up and placed in a holding pen in the lobby or something. People need to shut their children up. This applies especially to babies. Babies have NO place in a movie whatsoever. If you cannot find a sitter, STAY HOME. Again, I didn’t pay hard earned cash to catch every fourth word of dialog because your crying little puke sack is wailing away like a future opera star. So basically, my complaint boils down to this: people need to shut up.
When I found out that this month’s rant was about theatre going, I have to admit I was torn, because I both love and hate the theatre going experience. Why you ask? Well, let me explain via two stories:
Movie Going A Love Story: When I was a young lad (yes, many years ago), every Saturday was movie night! We pack up the car, head on out to the theatre or (more often) the drive in, to see whatever was new that weekend. We saw everything, ET: The Extra Terrestrial; Apocalypse Now; Planet Of The Apes; Friday The 13th; any movie that our hearts desired, my dear mother drove us when we weren’t old enough to drive and gave us money to go after we were old enough to drive, but still poor enough to be unable to pay for ourselves! Then, as I got older, and had a car of my own, it was every DAY of the weekend! See the most recent releases on Friday at the local theatre, then on Saturday off to the Drive In for a double feature and, oftentimes, back on Sunday to see whatever we liked from the previous two days! It was some of the best times of my life! Movies were great, it was a place to meet people, to take a date, or just be entertained for a few hours..yes, even with the worst movies of the 80s, it was a golden age for old Uncle Brian!
Movie Going A Hate Story: It seems to me that, since the advent of video that people have forgotten how to behave during the actual showing of a movie! Theatres are now being treated like your living room! There’s talking out loud, there’s phone calls, there’s babies being drug into the theatre who are FAR too young to be in there, it’s turned a nice night at the movie into a journey into a little place I like to refer to as “asshole-ia”. Here’s my story. I went to see the remake of Dawn Of The Dead, now with a title like Dawn Of The Dead, you can be pretty sure that it’s not a Disney flick! But, there in the front row is a woman about 25 years old who brought her five year old. That’s right, you read that correctly a FIVE YEAR OLD to see Dawn Of The Dead!!! Well, the movie starts off pretty calmly, then, at the point when the little zombie girl leaps across the room and rips out the throat of the husband, that poor little boy screamed louder than the man who’s throat was being ripped! And, unlike the character in the movie, that poor kid didn’t stop screa
ing. And I have to admit, as I sat there, I was torn between feeling sorry for that kid, and hoping that this kid would be so freaked out by this that he would wet, not only his bed, but mom’s too!!! I figured that would teach this ignorant woman that taking a FIVE YEAR OLD to Dawn Of The Dead, might not have been the smartest move she had ever made!!! And this isn’t an isolate incident. When I saw the original Spider-Man, some moron brought in his baby! In a Stroller! When I saw the last Austin Powers movie I had to yell at a bunch of dumb-ass teenager who thought it would be funny to sit right under the projector and use their shadows to ‘pick the noses’ of everyone on screen. I damn near started a fist fight in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre explaining to a group of assholes (and why do they always travel in packs?) that talking loudly and ruining a movie that I had paid my hard earned money to see could be detrimental to their health! That’s right when you come between me and my money, I can become more violent that a bear cut off from his pic-a-nic basket! And that ruins the movie going experience for me!
So there you go, I love the movies, I guess I just hate the people in the theatre with me.