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Why I Don’t Go To The Movies

November 24, 2017

I grew up loving the movies. Perhaps it was just instinct or the fact that my father was an actor. Who knows? I would go every chance I had, usually to Saturday matinees. When I was a child (again, not in the Triassic Era), my parents would turn me loose to go to the movies for an entire day. It required a walk of about one half mile and back in the 1950s it did not pose a risk of being murdered, mugged or terrorized.

Once we entered the theater, my friends and I felt liberated. For 25 cents, we could watch a serial or newsreel and a double feature. To boot, the theater didn’t mind at all if we stayed and watched the whole affair over again for another one or two times. We obeyed the rules of the ushers (yes, they had ushers back then) as we spent the remaining 25 cents on popcorn, candy and Coke. We watched the complete credits and memorized the actors’ names. It was a complete day in the presence of cinema and we never tired of it. Going to the movies was a cherished part of my youth, a soothing experience that I truly enjoyed.

The last time that my wife and I went to the movies here in North Carolina, we were appalled. Even though we are discountable seniors, the toll was a couple of sawbucks ($20 for you millennials). I stopped at the concession stand for some refreshments but found that I would need a loan co-signed by our son to consummate such a purchase. I’m sorry but where in the hell do they get off charging nine bucks for popcorn. I could buy stock in Orville Redenbacher’s or a local corn field for less money. I settled for nothing in the end using my saliva to quench my thirst.

Once we were seated, we noticed that there were only four other people in the theater. Not a good sign! We waited patiently until at last the projector went on. I’m not really even sure if they still use projectors but anyway some images appeared on the screen in front of us. Expecting the movie, I was only disappointed to see a non-stop parade of advertisements for local businesses and a blurb asking if we were interested in advertising in their theater. Advertise what exactly? The fact that we are retired? Lord, what low-budget hawking of air time!

Finally, the ads ended mercifully. Aha, I thought the movie was a about to begin. Damn, I forgot about those pesky previews. No problem but after the twelfth preview, I honestly forgot which movie we had come to see. Then I thought I heard a drum roll. No, we were blown out of our seats with the Dolby advertisement. I guess they want to prove their prowess in sound before actually giving you any soundtrack. I worked in the music business for years and never heard such a high decibel bit of nonsense. The long note finally faded and I sat up in my seat eager for the main event for which I had already waited a good half hour: Exodus – Gods and Kings.

When the first dialog was spoken, I looked at my wife in horror and whispered: “That’s odd, everyone has a British accent. I thought this was supposed to be in ancient Egypt.” She hushed me and together we sat tortuously for 150 minutes as we were treated to the worst imaginable treatment of the Exodus story. It was simply terrible in its every aspect. Even Moses himself would have said that this flick was a load of crap. He would have left his seat and scurried back down Mt. Nebo and asked for an eleventh commandment to prohibit such foul cinema.

Director Ridley Scott, who has given us many great films, laid an inexcusable pile at the feet of his audience with this release.  You could almost smell it in the Dolby. Responding to immense criticism about the all white London sounding cast, he stated: “I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such.” Well, Ridley old boy, a couple of actual mid-Eastern actors who could put a “T” on the end of “wouldn’t” wouldn’t have hurt. Aside from the excesses of British, the film was simply a load: Poorly conceived, poorly written, poorly acted with only overdone special effects as its sole asset.

I didn’t even stay for the credits. Who cared? They were probably going to be hyphenated British names anyway. As we walked back into the blinding light of the parking lot, I mumbled: “This is the last one!” In contrast, I remembered leaving the theater 60 years earlier with a smile on my face, confident that I would take what I saw on the silver screen and make it part of my life forever. Taken together and with declining film quality in the last three decades, these experiences are why I don’t go to the movies.

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6 Comments
  1. But tell us, Allen, how do you “really” feel? (Enjoyed having you at Thanksgiving!) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on allenrizzi and commented:

    As Passover approaches, I thought this was apropos:

    Like

  3. Timothy Price permalink

    As my uncle from Kansas would say “That will learn you!” We stopped going to movies 16 years ago. Not only is it costly, but the few other people in the theater were noisy and disruptive. Why they paid good money to sit in a theater to have a movie as background noise while they talked to each other, not about the movie mind you, and play on their phones is beyond me. The movie would have been enjoyable if the other people weren’t such jerks. I won a big-screen TV and Bluray playing in a raffle in 2011. While it’s not hooked up to get TV stations, we sometimes watch foreign films. Mostly it’s used as a divider between the sunroom and the treadmill.

    I remember the days when the movie theaters played one or two movies, and you could walk into the middle of a movie and then stay until where you came in, get up a leave, or watch the whole movie over again. But those days ended with the multi-plex theaters using different business models.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. LOL. 25 cents to 20 bucks? There’s inflation for you. Price has been multiplied by 100 (or so). Have the wages been multiplied by 100 in the same time? Don’t think so…
    I have noticed a lot of British accents in American movies lately. Maybe British actors are fleeing NHS? (To benefit from Medicare?) Or a British accent is casted as equivalent to a 2,600 years old accent in the middle east. 😉
    Still in the US, right? Be good. Things are getting ugly there too…
    Buona sera amico.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great observations! I’ve experienced the same recently and started avoiding the megaplexes and began going to the cheap theaters. They have nearly first-run movies. Admission is less than a fin ($5 for the younger set). Concessions are cheaper but still really high. There are ways around that if your wife has a large purse. Movie start times mean show up 15 minutes later.

    Liked by 1 person

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