Why I (Used To Love but Now I) HATE Going to the Movies

The day after, I still don’t feel any different. The Oscars last night were boring, lackluster, and even some of my favorite actors, gorgeous gowns, and favorite movie composers (A.R. Rahman) couldn’t save this one. Oh well, I’ll still be watching again next year. 😉

Though there’s something that still stood out to me from last night. During the ceremony, Oprah came out to present and within her speech lay the line: “After 83 years of Oscars here’s one thing we know for sure.  If we’re feeling lousy, if the news is bad and people are hurting, what do we do?  We go to the movies.  And we escape.


Oh Oprah, once upon a time, I DID go to the movies to escape. Now, I mostly choose to stay home.

I shall now be guilty of recycling an old note I wrote in facebook, but it’s been given a lift here and there, so re-introducing it here seems to be a good cause. However, for those who have never read it before? enjoy. For those of you who are revisiting, enjoy as well.

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“Why I HATE Going To the Movies

Ok, so I don’t HATE it, but let’s just say the joy has been sucked out of it just a teeny-weeny little bit more, every time.

Don’t get me wrong. I still LOVE losing myself in movies, kind of like traveling out of your brain and body for a little bit. There are just some experiences in life that NEED to be dictated on a giant screen w/ surround sound!
That said, there are plenty of reasons I’ve avoided the movies these days, with the few exceptions here and there. Honestly? the reminiscent childhood joy I got of taking the time to get ready, excited, and run off to sit in front of a giant silver screen for an hour or two (in some cases, three) has fast-dwindled down and I’m wondering if I’m alone here?

What is up with…

* THE BATTLE OF THE CELL PHONE NINJAS –
Don’t think you’re being discreet, we can see that thing in the dark! More annoyingly, we can HEAR YOU in the dark. Whispering a phone conversation is not only stupid, but what’s to stop you from needing to step away from life for a few hours? Isn’t that why you came to the movies in the first place? I have now become that jackass that goes up to people to politely ask if they can close their phone … dude, the light’s distracting, you got something THAT important to say to someone, go outside. Don’t get mad at me, either! My sister literally had someone say to her (getting back on their phone): “Sorry, people are just being RUDE”.
And don’t go texting what you have to say either! your constant *beep beep beep beepbeep* typing is just as irritating. Stop before I throw that thing in a theater toilet.
CLASSIC: Even back in 2000, when I went up to catch Fantasia 2000 in IMAX some father had the balls to continue talking on his NEXTEL PHONE (yep, the most annoying way possible.. walkie-talkie style!). I couldn’t believe it, but luckily another parent beat me to the punch in telling him to shut up. And even when we left, and were on the escalator, sure enough, Nextel Papadukes was right back on his phone blabbering away. Jerk.

* TALKING!!! –
Again with the talking! E and I recently went to a showing of ‘Despicable Me’, and these folks who came in late decided to sit behind us. Not only were they LATE, but they decided to TALK the ENTIRE TIME. I thought it was just some dumb teenagers, but as it turns out (as I turned around), it was a mother and her child! You want to have a conversation about your life stories? go home and do it in front of your tv. COMMENTATORS are the worst.. movie-know-it-alls who think they’re doing people a favor by telling them about how the movie was made. At a night showing in Kips’ Bay a few years back, some jackass decided to fill us all in on how much he knew about Vanessa Redgrave .. when I saw ‘Babies’ with my co-workers, we all just couldn’t wrap our heads around why this old woman behind us couldn’t stop making comments about EVERYTHING in the movie. Don’t SHH, people.. it’s annoying and pretty soon we sound like a broken slushie machine. Sit down, SHUT UP, and let the good times roll.

* $11, 12, 13-dollars FOR POTENTIAL GARBAGE –
Seeing a movie in New York City really can hurt you sometimes, but in more ways than your pocket. They literally don’t make movies like they used to (totally not the fault of NYC, really), and even though I’ve lived to see movies for 28 years, the classics are still where I feel it’s at. Bad acting still seemed somewhat GOOD back then, and it wasn’t necessarily about what smoke n’ mirrors everyone brought to the table with whoever’s CGI budget was better than whose. I preferred the old Star Wars, none of this new stuff!!! When I saw Return of the Jedi “remastered” I almost cried.. I wanted the old charm back that was my favorite movie! And ps, I HATED ALICE IN WONDERLAND.. not even the eye candy could save me from that one.
I’m sorry but movies are way too expensive these days to spend on crappy ones.

* CLEANLINESS?? WHAT CLEANLINESS? –
Why pay so much money to see something if your experience isn’t going to be stellar? The cleanliness  of movie theaters is pretty disgraceful. I’d like to keep my shoes on my feet, thanks rather than have them pulled off on the sticky floor. Might as well carry Febreze in my bag for others.

* FILM PRESENTATION –
Get your act together up there in the booth! upside down previews, screen being up high or low, scratches on the film that show up on the screen. My sister and I once wrote a letter to National Amusements telling them about our crappy service at a theater in Westchester, mostly due to management and a giant green scratch in the film that wouldn’t quit during the movie (they gave us 2 tickets to try again). I’ve now been a little shameless about talking to management about crappy movie presentations … ‘Star Trek’ last summer: the lights went on 30 minutes before the movie was over. Seeing ‘Sponge Bob’ with the kids: the lights NEVER TURNED OFF. By all means, however, this is not a move to score you free passes again and again. Be polite, composed, and direct!


***!!!! CHILDREN’s ETIQUETTE – !!!!!***

As a teacher, I love kids. I truly do. However, when going to the movies, I would like to just really, as a human being, say the frank but honest: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD … teach your children MANNERS. One thing I have to hand to my parents is that they instilled in us from the get-go the etiquette of going out and being courteous (followed, or else! and there were definitely times of ‘or else’). You go to the movies to have a good time, yes, but I frankly don’t want to deal with you and your whiny child who never learned the concept of whispering, and never learned that the world didn’t evolve around them and their problems. THE ABSOLUTE WORST TIME I ever had at the movies was when we went to see Kung Fu Panda.
CLASSIC: These two kids came in late with their parents, and from the MINUTE they sat down.. started whining, talking loudly, jumped up and down in their seats, and would not shut up the ENTIRE TIME. Give or take, they were too young: I’d say they were about 2 and 4. And here was the kicker: The Dad fell asleep.. SNORING. AND, they LEFT THE 4-year-old KID ALONE at one point. The parents had even apologized for their children being so rambunctious, but did absolutely nothing about it.
ENOUGH with thinking you’re going to be “mean” or “need a break”, and don’t you dare choose to ignore them either! (you’re making it worse for both you, and all of us!) Instead, talk to your kids before you go to the movies. Tell them about how we’re going to sit down, and ask them about what they’d want the movies to be like: do we want to watch something when it’s loud or quiet? How would you feel? What do you think going to the movies should be like? Just give them an idea of what to expect, how cool it could be, and what to maybe they should do if they DON’T like going.
And ps, if your kid is crying.. be smart.. and get out… WITH THE KID.

* CROWDS –
I’ve started going to matinees to avoid the annoying night crowd (cheaper too!), but if it’s an animated flick, forget the matinee. You’ll be drowning in kids and crying and unintentional eavesdropping. However, I will say that going to see Sherlock Holmes @ 10:30 in the morning around Christmas was actually the best time I’d ever had. Making the choice to see Tron: Legacy in 3-D IMAX many weeks after its opening seemed to be quite the ticket because there was not one annoying encounter that entire night. That or surprisingly, despite Opening Night midnight madness, those shows sometimes really are the best ones to go to! Going to the midnight showing of The Dark Knight in Edgewater, NJ was actually awesome. Everyone happy to be there, wanting to hang on to every word and every scene, pretty darn quiet. Not bad, not bad at all.

the best theaters that still honor movie-going, in my opinion, are limited.. but right now as it stands, I honestly find the Ziegfeld, the Paris theater, and Lincoln Plaza in NYC somehow to be the ones that I will keep going back to. I don’t know if it’s the atmosphere of having a curtain over the screen, or just a different crowd, or just celebrating movies the way the experience should have always stayed. There sometimes will even be the little gem theaters, and these days I find for them to be the real diamonds in the rough.

As much as I say I hate it, I will still always love it… but here’s to hoping for better days in movie-going.

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