I love going to the movies. I really do. There is nothing quite like the experience of seeing a movie in the theater, no matter how crappy or stupid the movie. But there are a few things about the whole movie-going experience that I cannot stand, and as is my SOP, I’m going to share them with you, my loyal blog readers (all two of you).
Part of it is my fault, I know that. I have a sort of large personal bubble. I don’t want anyone sitting next to me at the theater. I’d be happy if I could keep people from sitting directly behind and in front of me, too. And I am particular about where I sit. I like to be four or so rows from the middle aisle, dead center.
In order to facilitate this quirk of mine, I have to get to the theater and buy my ticket about an hour before the movie is scheduled to begin. The upside is that I can get exactly the seat I want and, through a little clever maneuvering, keep the seat next to me vacant.
There are a number of downsides. The first is that an hour before a movie starts, there’s nothing on the screen and you have to listen to the theater’s sound system play the same bad arrangement of a Mozart song six times in a row. There’s nothing really to do. I like to get to my seat and stay there, so I’ve usually got my popcorn and soda already. After an hour, before the movie’s begun, my soda’s gone and I’m out of popcorn … and because I’ve chugged 20 oz of Sprite, I have to pee badly. And look, it’s movie time!
Once something does appear on the screen, it’s painful to watch. At Harkins theaters (I go for the $1 soda loyalty cup) they begin with about ten bits of trivia, shown over and over again. The world’s largest snowflake. The oldest ice skates in the world. The Mills Brothers. The Beatles outselling the Rolling Stones. How tall the bodies of the Mount Rushmore heads would be.
Over and over. For a good twenty minutes. Then the advertising starts. It used to just be static ads but lately they’ve been showing TV commercials as well, for mobile phones and car insurance. A few of the static ads are inevitably for weight-loss clinics and heart doctors. Because after eating all that buttered popcorn, you are going to be fat and have heart problems. Then there’s the propaganda – I mean, the music video - for the National Guard featuring 3 Doors Down, a bunch of guys who are under the mistaken impression that they are much more hip and relevant than they really are.
Then we get to see some Seacrest-wannabe introducing “hot new” bands that no one has ever heard of and we’ll hear 90-second clips of their songs. Finally, after an hour of folderol, the coming attractions start. They’ll roll at the time the movie is scheduled to start, and this is usually when groups of seven or eight people will come into the theater, looking for adjoining seats. Look, you jerks, if you want to get good seats together, try getting to the theater more than two minutes before the freaking movie starts. These are the idiots that’ll make you move to the end of the freaking row so they can sit together, even though you got to the theater on time specifically so you could sit where you did. Personally, I won’t move for these people. Y’all want seats together? Front row’s open. Check it out. Don’t like it? Try being punctual for a change.
Teenagers, here's a hint for you. When the theater is dark and the movie is showing, keep your bloody BlackBerry in your pocket. That screen is mighty bright, your texting is loud, and what the bleep does a 15-year-old need a BlackBerry for, anyway? What important business are they conducting? I've had the same crappy little LG for two years now and I'm a bloody adult. I should be the one with a BlackBerry. Bitterness aside, seriously. I don't want to see or hear text-messaging when the earth is being burnt to a crisp. Sort of ruins the mood, kids.
And here’s a pointer for you older folks. Parking your walker and/or oxygen tank somewhere for the duration? Make sure it’s set down carefully, not leaning precariously against a handrail. Otherwise during a movie, the stupid thing will fall and make an absolutely unholy racket so loud that Brendan Fraser’s lines are unintelligible over the sounds of metal hitting concrete.
Also, folks, the back of my chair is not a footrest. It is the back of my chair, and I will defend it, violently if necessary. If you have a wet, hacking cough, please stay home. I came to hear the sounds of the movie, not the sounds of you yakking up a lung. And if you are clever enough to predict the movie's ending halfway through, kindly keep it to yourself, you jerk.
After all, I paid ten bucks to get into the stinking theater, and that's money I could be saving to buy a BlackBerry, or a trip to Mount Rushmore.