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Go to the Movies, Leave After the Trailers

I am a tortured man. No, not in the John McCain kind of way (thankfully) but in the diabetic chocoholic kind of way. You see there is little else in this world that gives me as much joy as the movies. I love to watch them (often the same ones hundreds of times), quote them (much to the chagrin of my fiancée), get excited about them (I’m addicted to trailer sites) and of course talk about them (hence Trailer Trash). However my enthusiasm and appreciation for all things film is not all encompassing because I hate going to them.

That’s right. I hate going to the movies. “But mediaboy,” you ask with doe-eyed innocence, “How can that be?” Well, I’m not really sure. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I realized this about myself but I know it’s real, and it kills me. Maybe I’m just getting cranky in my old age, or lazy, or a combination of both, but the whole movie-going experience is about as appealing as going to the dentist for me. Well, maybe not that bad but you get the idea. I don’t know if I can ever articulate how much of a problem this is for me.

So in order to make myself feel a little better, I’m going to list for you the reasons why I dislike going to the theater so. Perhaps there'll be some therapeutic side effect to this exercise. We can hope anyway. Here goes.

The Prices
As the cost of going to the movies continues to climb, my interest in going plummets at the same rate. I’m sure living in New York City doesn’t help with the money situation, but I find it near impossible to drop over twenty bucks (for the lady and I) just to walk into the theater. Oh, and heaven forbid you buy your tickets ahead of time. You’re looking at another 2-4 bucks per ticket for a “convenience charge”. If there were ever two words that didn’t belong together. What the hell is so convenient about being charged anyway? (Hey, when did Seinfeld get here?)

Anyway, the other shockingly expensive part of the movie-going experience is the “Concession Stand”. I mean has there ever been a more appropriately labeled semi-permanent structure from which food items are sold? Don’t you feel like that’s exactly what you’re doing when you buy something from there? “Um, yes hi. I’d like to concede that although it’s actually worth $1.75, you’re going to charge me $6.50 for something called Goobers.” Seriously, I feel like I lose a little piece of my soul every time.

Obviously I could opt to go to a matinee and pay about half price (for the tickets anyway), but it’s a matinee. I’m busy during the day. Besides, what am I supposed to do afterward? Get the early bird dinner at Denny’s at 4pm and then go home to catch “Matlock"? No thank you.

The Theater
So you’ve got your $137 worth of Sour Patch Kids, popcorn and Dr.Pepper (a steal if you ask me) and you’re ready to head in. You make your way up to the “ticket taker/tearer person and hand them your $10 piece of paper. For a moment, you think they’re speaking to you but you quickly realize that he/she’s got some bluetooth device stuck to their head and they’re chatting it up to one of their friends. “Sorry to disturb you Tyler, but which way to the theater?” Moving on.

You make it to theater 26 (you know, the last one on the left) and try to find some seats. Now, I will concede (again) that by and large, this is something theaters have gotten right. The majority of theaters (in NYC at least) have gone stadium style (which is awesome in case Carmen Miranda sits in front of you) and they’ve put in those super cool reclining chairs. This concludes my concession.

First of all, when did they start playing full on commercials at the movies? I don’t know about you, but I love paying for commercials. It’s why I got cable really. I mean I remember when you’d find the odd RE/MAX agent slide or the one for the local Chevy dealer mixed in with the movie trivia, but what’s the deal?

Secondly, when did they start building the dividers between the theaters out of Kleenex? I mean really. Is there anything better than being fully engrossed in an unbelievably dramatic scene only to be shaken (literally) out of your seat by a gigantic explosion from the flick next door? That’s just awesome.

Lastly, is it just me or is going to the movies like spending two hours in a meat locker? “Hey buddy! The guy at the concession stand already took care of keeping my beverage cold when he put in a 'luge worth' of crushed ice in it.” Seriously, turn down the A/C. It’s just called “Catch a Fire”, it’s not actually going to set the theater ablaze.

The People
Although I’m listing it last, this is by far my #1 reason for not going to the movies. It’s sad really because I fancy myself a “people person”. Regardless, I’ve taken the liberty of dicing my fellow moviegoers into four categories. Keep in mind I’m not talking about you fine folks. You guys are OK by me:

1) “Pampers” – You’ve seen ‘em. Hell, you’ve probably stood up (or at least lifted yourself up using the armrest) to let one of these folks get by. With out fail and during the most poignant/exciting/nerve-racking/hilarious/thought-provoking/sexy scene in the movie, the Pampers “gotta go”. Hey Mr. Mini-Bladder, maybe if you didn’t drink the entire Rubbermaid-sized orange Fanta during the trailers, you could hold it in for 113 minutes. Jeez.

2) “CYHMN’s” – pronounced “SIMON” it stands for “Can You Hear Me Now?” For whatever reason, these folks are incapable of turning their cell phones off. I’m convinced that they don’t actually like to go to the movies. I mean most of us go as a form of escapism. You’re not escaping anything if you’re talking to Tyler in the lobby about who he/she hooked up with. That goes for text messaging too. Enough already. If I have to see one more day-glo blue screen in the theater I’m going to pull the fire alarm.

While we’re on the subject, I don’t care if you’re the world’s foremost neuro-spleen-spinal- cord-roller blading surgeon…put your phone on vibrate. That’s why it’s there. It’s called courtesy, and they must have taught that the day you were sick at medical school. Plus, get over yourself. You're not that important.

3) “Dozers” – (A.K.A. RidKids or ‘Bucks) A shout out to my youth (big ups for Fraggle Rock) the “Dozers” are the folks that just can’t seem to sit still. They’re always moving. Whether they’re crinkling their Sno-Caps, munching on their popcorn, shifting their seat (or kicking yours), doing advanced calculus, chewing loudly, snoring, sucking up the last bit of orange Fanta (see “pampers”), clearing their nasal passages, yelling at the characters on screen or anything other than just sitting there, watching. Switch to decaf latte boy.

4) “Kreskin’s” – these folks are probably my favorite of the lot. And by favorite I mean I want to slap them silly. The defining characteristic of a “Kreskin” is their uncanny ability to ask the most stupid questions (sometimes just to themselves out loud) about what’s going on in the movie at that moment. Some favorites include: “Who is that guy?”, “What is that?”, “Where are they going?”, “Why is he doing that?”, “How are they going to get out?”, etc., etc., ad infinitum. Do I have a crystal ball? I’m sitting here with you genius. Here’s my question for you, “Why don’t you shut up and watch the movie?” We’ll all discover what happens together, it’ll be great. I promise. Mmmk pumpkin?

So that’s it. I’ve shared my pain and I feel a little bit better. Feel free to share your own movie-going horror stories below. In the meantime, I’ll continue to suck it up and go the picture show occasionally, but I’m not gonna like it.

Of course the trailers are always good, and we all know how I feel about trailers. So until next time Trash fans, I’ve gotta take this because Tyler’s on the line. We’re gonna go get some chocolate.



For more Trailer Trash, check out these other fine postings:
"Casino Royle"
"Man of the Year"
"The Last King of Scotland"
"Farce of the Penguins"
"Transformers:The Movie"
"Ghost Rider"
"Deja Vu"
"Stranger Then Fiction"

Posted by on October 26, 2006 02:29 PM
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