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Why I Don’t Go To The Movies

August 4, 2022

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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13 Comments
  1. I went to the movies like you did when I was a kid. And I’m still going. About once a week. No matter what else they throw my way, there’s still no substitute for the big screen and the big sound.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KAREN ZUECH permalink

    That is absolutely right. We just buy our DVD’S of the older movies. We can watch camping or at home in our own recliners.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We’ve come a long way. The wrong way, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gregg Clemow/ Clemeaux permalink

    Yes….those were special days back then ,we were always going to the movies walking down McClay st. From Warren St. To the Crest Theatre such great movies !!! And my wife and I DO NOT! go to the movies as well for the same reasons. Thanks again Allen for taking me back to those innocent and wonderful days.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the giggle….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I never have been to a movie theater, I only watched movies when it was casted on TV, but now I don’t watch anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I remember those twenty-five-cent movie afternoons when I was a kid. Good times . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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