Monday, May 7, 2012

The A-List: Why I Go To The Movies

I used to watch a lot of movies.  We would hit the theater near our house at least once a week when we lived in Germany, and when Beta-Max hit, my entire family was spending their weekends in front of the television, watching movies.  As I've grown older, however, my theater going days have been significantly reduced by the dollar signs.  At ten or eleven bucks a ticket and throwing in eight dollar popcorn and and four dollar drinks, it isn't worth the cost.  Even if we don't get the popcorn or drink, if the movie sucks, I feel like I've been cheated. 

We cheerfully paid the money, however, to see The Avengers this weekend. We did not have to stand in line for tickets(thank you, Fandango!). We did have to arrive at the theater earlier than normal, keep a restless 4 year old busy during that time, and wait forEVER in line for popcorn and a small drink.  While I was standing in line and reconsidering my footwear, I thought about why I was there on a beautiful Saturday morning.  I was there with my family, paying to see a movie about comic book superheroes.  Wow. That thought, of course, led me to consider what sorts of movies I am willing to pay to see in a theater these days. 

1. Pure escapist fare.   I don't go to the movies to see Oscar-worthy films anymore, unless there's something else about the film that catches my attention, such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Nor do I enjoy sitting in a theater bawling my head off watching chick flicks.  I prefer to view those movies at home, sometimes with a giant box of tissues.  Maybe I am an oddball, but when I plop down the exorbitant prices they charge at the theater these days, I want fun. I want to escape reality for a small window of time.  I want stuff exploding.  I want car chases, the more ridiculous the better.  I want my hero/heroine decisive and clever.  And I want to look at the pretty actors who work out forty times a day to have the rock hard abs and nice biceps and a butt that you can bounce a quarter off of.  None of those things have anything to do with real life.

2. Bring me the funny.  When Old Yeller died, I cried.  When ET died, I cried.  When Spock died, I cried.  I hate crying in public; my face gets all blotchy, and there are never enough tissues.   And why would I pay money to cry and be depressed?  Real life does that to me on occasion for free.  I want to giggle.  I want to guffaw.  I want to belly-laugh so hard that I am crying, because those types of tears are wonderful.  Laughter is cathartic and it is healthy, and I don't have nearly enough of it in my life, so I will pay to see a movie that will make me laugh.

3. Samuel L. Jackson.  I will pay to see just about any movie that has Samuel L. Jackson appearing in it.  I will also pay to see Daniel Craig, Robert Downey, Jr., Tim Roth, and Christian Bale.  These people have credibility with me, because what I have seen of their work has been consistently good.  I don't limit myself to actors.  If Joss Whedon is involved in a movie, I am there, as I am with Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Guillermo Del Toro.   Sometimes I am disappointed, of course (*cough* Snakes on a Plane).  Mostly, I am just transfixed.

4. Good stories.  I read books for the stories they tell me.  I watch television shows for the very same reason.  Movies are no different.  I don't have to be told a great story, but I want to be told a good story.  If a movie tells me a good story, I can ignore bad acting and poor CGI.  A good story makes even a poor director look decent, which is why so many movies panned by critics become cult classics. 

5. Connections.  If I read a good book, I talk about it.  If I see a good movie, I talk about it.  Movies give us a cultural point of reference, a form of language that isn't necessarily verbal.   If I am on the streets in a foreign country, and I say "Hulk smash", at least one person in the crowd will lift his eyebrows and nod to show that he gets it.  There are very few places out there where people don't know what "Yippy-kai-ay, Mother-F*****" is from.  Even if we are complete strangers and have no other way to communicate, the movies give us a common language to use to communicate with others. That is pretty awesome. 

That's my list.  What do you think?  What gets you to pay to see a movie in the theater these days?


  1. Pay? Who pays?? My credit union sends me free tix every year - bonus if I like the movie, but at least I haven't spent my money if I don't!! Then there's birthday celebrations when someone else pays. Then there's 2 for 1 vouchers ... you get the picture!!! Basically that means I've seen a lot of flicks that I wouldn't have chosen to go to unless for free - but I've often been pleasantly surprised!!!

    1. Whoa! I will be placing a call to my credit union today! They need to stop all that mortgage stuff and offer free movie tickets.

  2. #1 and #4-- yes! I only see chick flicks and comedies when my friend drags me out to the theater and begs me to see one with her. She doesn't understand why I'm picky about which movies I want to go see. But she's a good friend and I always cave. Fortunately we still have a theater that charges 3.50 per ticket so it's not a huge waste of money. And Hubby stays home with the kids, so no babysitter. But if I'm going to go to the trouble of finding and paying for a sitter then I'm going to save it for a good movie! I refuse to see those stupid comedies (where the laughs are centered around sex and bodily functions- I'm not a 14 year old boy) or anything too political (24 hour news provides me with all the politics I want, tyvm).

    We tried to see the avengers this weekend but the times didn't work out for us :( I don't know when we'll get another free slot on the weekend to see it, so we'll end up renting it at some point.

  3. it is the trailer or if i know the story---it has to look like it is going to give me the feeling i am looking for at the time---i tend to like movies, that don't really have to have a story, just an interesting slice of life, will do it for me----interesting thoughts on your post today!

  4. I have never been a big movie goer. It's not so much that I don't enjoy it, I just can't get myself psyched to go. if the kids want to see something, then I am usually game though! I have to be entertained, and their choices (moreso than the hubs who would go see anything) stand a good chance of delivering.

  5. It's all about the popcorn for me. Tony's is big into movies and we go usually once a month or so. But I'm there for one reason only.... the buttery goodness.


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