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Summer blockbusters abound, but I wouldn't know

By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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Posted 6/30/09

There are so many supposedly great movies that are coming out this summer. Critics tell me “Don’t wait!” or that I “Have got to see this!” but I ignore the hype.

In fact, going to movie theaters is something that I very rarely do anymore.

So when people come up to me and say “Oh man, have you seen The Hangover (or pretty much any other new movie)?” I always say no, then, of course, they hit me with the following follow up.

“Dude! Why not? It’s hilllarrrious!”

Honestly, in my opinion, movies weren’t made to watch in a theater with a bunch of random strangers. You think when Orson Welles directed one of the greatest movies of all time according to film experts – Citizen Kane – that he wanted it to be watched by some genius who’s texting the duration of the movie sitting beside some moron asking “Who is that? ... What’s happening? ... What did I miss when I went to get another 50 pound bag of popcorn?” or the guy on the other side of him who keeps saying “I don’t get it.”

No, he didn’t.

Sometimes I wonder how movie theaters haven’t become obsolete. I also wonder if people really go to theaters to watch movies or because they consider them some sort of hot spot. If I wanted to sit on an uncomfortable seat with some woman laughing hysterically next to me while I get ripped off on drink prices, I’d go to a bar.

Have you noticed that movie theaters are always filled with about 50 different types of “that guys?”

There’s the laugh at the part that’s not funny guy, the I’m cool because I’ve thrown away my money to see this trash multiple times and say every line right before the actor says it guy, not to mention the shout out something that only my friends and I think is funny as soon as the lights dim guy, the can’t hold it the whole movie so always sit in the center of the row guy, the “Shhhh” guy, the whining kid guy, the crying woman guy, the crying guy guy, the “Sorry about spilling my drink on your shoes” guy, the I eat my popcorn louder than anyone in the world guy, the I didn’t know phones could be put on vibrate guy, the I’m a rebel who puts my feet on the back of your seat guy and the list goes on and on.

The sad part about all this is that I love movies. Comedies, documentaries, drama (even though studios don’t make good ones now), and more, but I always seem to wait until the DVD comes out before I watch the movies I really want to see to avoid the cornucopia of that guys who frequent theaters.

So I’ve come up with a solution. Movie studios should partner with Netflix or cable/satellite providers and allow people to pay to have new movies delivered to their computer via a Netflix account or television set via cable/satellite provider, but only allow the movies to play once.

This way, I could watch brand new movies without having to get off my comfy couch to sit in a narrow seat next to some guy that makes me want to flip my lid. I could make a bag of popcorn in my microwave and have a can of soda rather than pay $10 for four gallons of each at the theater. I could pause the movie to go to the bathroom and not have to come back and transform into “What did I miss?” guy?

“But Tim,” you say, “what about the human interaction of going to a movie theater?”

Ummm, newsflash, you go to a movie to watch a movie, not interact with the humans next to you … I’M TALKING TO YOU PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION GUY!


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Though I disagree with what you're saying, I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it...

I have three points to make *waving pointer finger vigorously in the air*

I will start with your final point regarding human interaction. I feel that the movie theatre experience DOES involve human interaction, but not some form of direct person-to-person interaction. It is the dynamic of watching something with 50 or so other strangers and succumbing to the reactions that the movie gives you. I'll give you a great example. At the end of "The Hangover", which I'm sure you will enjoy in 6 months when it eventually comes out on DVD (or you download it illegally which I don't condone), there is a sequence that is absolutely hilarious. I laughed extremely hard, but what made the experience even more enjoyable was the fact that a countless number of other strangers were laughing just as hard, if not harder, with me. I didn't know anyone else in the theatre, but in a way I was interacting and sharing a moment with everyone that had us laughing like we had all just ate a pound of good Irish cabbage and could not stop laughing at each other’s farts.

To conclude this point, I believe you are merely overcome with the admittedly ignorant prices of food, drinks, and movie tickets. So blame the theatres and the higher ups that set these costs, but don't blame the movies themselves.

Point B. From a purely technical stand point, watching a movie in a theatre CANNOT compare to watching the DVD in your living room sitting between Fischer and Skac. Lets just ignore the fact that you have to wait 6 months after it was in theatres, at which point all of your ridiculous theatre going friends have probably already ruined it for you, or TV commercials and online reviews have given away the ending. I am referring to the fact that your living room cannot duplicate the massive theatre screen and surround -sound experience. Say you have decent 52' plasma, with surround sound, I still refuse to believe that can mimic the feeling I felt in my loins when I saw the USS Enterprise on the big screen during the new "Star Trek" movie. So if I have to choose between pausing a summer blockbuster on my 27' TV so I can go relieve myself from drinking a Guinness or two, and missing 2 minutes of a movie in theatres knowing that I can always catch that small part on the DVD release, I say bring on holding it for 2 hours. To sacrifice a bit of my manlihood, watching James (I call him Jim) Cameron's "Titanic" on the big screen, could never be compared to watching it on the USA network. Speaking of the USA network, don't get me started on how they "know drama"

For my third point, I only ask that you take the movie (theatre) going experience for what it is. There is still a romantic feeling found in the viewing of every motion picture, despite the amount of corporate sponsorship and over-pricing of the merchandise. Think of how many great movies we (By we I mean those say, 25 and younger) were never given the chance to watch in theatres? Wouldn't you have wanted to watch "The Godfather" in theatres, just for the "experience"?? I look to more recent times and kick myself for not going to see movies such as "Saving Private Ryan" in theatres. I truly believe that there is still a magical sense of wonder that can be felt when watching a great movie in an actual movie theatre. "But Colin, you must be drunk off cheap whiskey if you think that any movie out today can compare to The Godfather or anything else for that matter!!"

Maybe you are right, but those lucky people that actually watched those movies in theatres didn't know at the time what they were watching, so how would we know?

Well after committing cinematic suicide by mentioning "The Hangover" and "The Godfather" in the same response, I feel now is the time to quit.

But on that note, TIM! You HAVE to go see The Hangover, Star Trek, Public Enemies, AND Transformers, even if it is just to see Megan Fox on a massive large screen!

Zip it up, and Zip it out!

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