Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Turn Off Your Cell Phones and Refrain From Talking

The movie Act of Valor is now in theaters. This movie is about a Navy SEALS team that go on a mission to rescue a kidnapped CIA agent. The movie uses active duty Navy SEALS for the cast. I have heard great things about this movie and look forward to seeing it.

My friend Adam (who now has his own blog, The Train's Whistle) is trying to talk me into going to see it with him. I keep telling him no, but he is persistent. As much as I would like to see this movie, I am more than happy to wait until it comes out on DVD. That is what I do with almost all movies. I very rarely actually go to the movie theater. The last movie I saw in theaters was Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland in March 2010. Before that, it was Coraline in February 2009.

I really do enjoy movies. My Netflix account gets a very good workout, but I just don't enjoy the theater experience. In December 2006,  Rocky Balboa was in theaters. Several of my friends decided to go together. I went because it was a chance to hang out with the guys. This group really doesn't get together very often and I thought it would be fun. My dad even decided to go.

I had to drive to the theater immediately after I got off work to meet with the group. Due to one of my complaints about movie theaters, I stopped to grab a few things before I got there. I refuse to pay $12 for a soda and some popcorn. I understand wanting to make money, but after paying close to $10 just to walk in the door, the concession prices are ridiculous. I don't want to have to take out a small loan just for an evening out, especially when the same movie will be available for a buck in a few months.

I arrived at the theater, bought my ticket and met up with the guys. After catching up with each other, the lights dimmed and the previews started. One of the guys looks around the group and says, "Don't judge me guys. I know we're not supposed to do this, but I can't pay those prices." He pulled a King Size Snickers bar out of his pocket.

The guy next to him laughed and pulled out the soda he had snuck sneaked in. (I just learned that snuck is not a word.) Curious to see who else had a penchant for breaking the rules, they looked down the row and whispered, "Hey, did anyone else sneak in food?" Not to be outdone by a measly soda and candy bar, I showed them the Big Mac Extra Value Meal I had smuggled in under my coat.

Remember, I had just gotten off work, and it is really not that hard to do when wearing winter clothing.

Despite the fun we had that night, we would have had fun anywhere. It wasn't the theater that provided the good time. It was the company. In fact, the theater does it's best to prevent actual enjoyment.

When I am at home and have to go to the bathroom, I have the luxury of being able to pause the movie so that I don't miss anything. They will not do this for you at the movie theater. They don't give you a remote and it is apparently not voice activated. No matter how many times you say or yell 'PAUSE,' the movie keeps playing, but now it can't be heard because the other patrons are screaming at you.

At home, if I don't catch what someone said, I have the option to rewind it a few seconds. Most of the time, I turn the subtitles on. The movie theater doesn't care if you are partially deaf in one ear due to a misplaced picnic table during a bicycle stunt. It is your problem and just like the pause issue, nothing happens when you scream, "What did she say?" I always end up having to tap the shoulder of the guy in front of me to explain what I missed and he is rarely helpful. For some reason I always seem to end up behind a very grumpy man.

Speaking of the grumpy man, I also have to contend with the other people that are in the room with me. You never know what smelly person might sit next to you. Or the guy behind you that won't stop talking. Or the parents with the crying child. On one occasion, there were two unsupervised pre-teen boys in the theater. They kept laughing loudly, getting up to dance in the aisle and were throwing popcorn. One of them tripped over a patron's foot when returning from the bathroom. He turned around with his chest out loudly challenging the guy, "What are you going to do about it?" After they sat there for a few minutes loudly reveling in how cool they thought they were, I had had enough.

I excused myself from my seat, worked my way to the aisle in a packed theater and marched to the front row where these kids were sitting. I have worked with kids for years and had seen these types hundreds of times. I knew how to handle them. I stood in front of them, leaned close and whispered a few sentences.

They stared at me for a few seconds and then stood up and walked out. As I went back to my seat, the theater erupted in applause. As much as everyone appreciated what I had just done, I couldn't get any of them to catch me up on the last 20 minutes of the movie I had missed because of those kids.

As much as some people may believe that you just have to see certain movies on 'the big screen,' I have rarely found it to be worth it. Why pay over ten times the price and be forced to purchase their over-prices snacks? They won't pause it, won't rewind it and rarely take care of trouble customers unless they are especially problematic. At home, I have control of all that and the thermostat.

After trying to get comfortable the last time I went to the movies, the theater manager came to speak with me. Apparently, even he thinks I should watch movies at home if I want to lay in the floor in my boxers. He said something about building fires codes and indecency something or other. I wasn't really listening. I was trying to stay with the dialogue of the film. How rude.

Why should I hand over money to suffer these communist conditions? I will pay a buck, watch it at home, pause it for bathroom breaks, use my laptop phone if I want, turn on the subtitles, eat whatever I like and pants are completely optional.

You can even come join me, but bring your own snacks.

57 comments:

  1. Amen! And thank heaven for big purses!

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    1. That's right. I learned this as a kid from my mother. We always stocked up on snacks before we went in.

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  2. I agree with paying for teenagers if its 3d your paying triple. We went and by the time we paid for glasses tix and snacks for 4 it was 95.00. Now we have Netflix and well worth the 8.00 a month thats a ticket a month gotta love it.We no longer have a show here we have to travel to Mt, Vernon or Marion so thats gas there as well. Love the Blogs.

    SPoninski

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    1. Thank you. When I did take my kids, we did the matinee and never bought anything. Even then, it was about $25.

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  3. Oh this was funny! I don't like theatres very much myself. What bothers me the most is how loud they usually are and how big the &^*%&+%^$ screens are. It's impossible for me to see the whole screen at once - so I have to sit there and look at the right-hand side... and then move my face and eyes all the way over to the left-hand side... and then back again.

    However, I do enjoy the crowd. I like it when everyone laughs together for a funny scene.

    When I saw The Titanic in the theatres here it was really enjoyable. I didn't like the movie and so wasn't disturbed by the commotion it created in the audience. Not sure if you saw it, or remember this part, but when the ship was sinking and Jack was tied in the hold - Rose runs down to save him... as she runs she calls out his name - and when he hears her he calls out to her as well. So it's this drawn out scene of "Jack!" "Rose!" "Jack!!!" "Rose!!!" "Jack!" "Rose!" "Jack!!!" "Rose!!!" etc etc etc...

    Well the local people had a field trip with it - I guess they had already seen the movie at least once because most of the audience started shouting out, "Jack!" "Rose!" "Jack!!!" "Rose!!!" along with the actors (but in a very sarcastic tone of voice)... I enjoyed it immensely lol

    Oh, and by the way, just a few days ago I discovered that snuck is not a word too. Funny since everyone uses it.

    Any chance you'll tell us what you told those two boys?

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    1. I don't remember exactly what I said to those boys. It was several years ago. I do remember that it worked. I am sure I threatened them, but not to the point that I could get in any trouble.

      The most fun I had at the movies was watching SCREAM. The 10 minutes at the beginning of the movie is very intense. The theater was filled and people were screaming, "Don't answer the door. No, he's right outside."

      It was great.

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  4. Ooh...Movie Whore must weigh in! (This could be lengthy, you might want to refresh your drink.) Okay?

    First, you just gave the Movie Whore a reason to go to that. With a gazillion military family-members, I was undecided. I will take one for the team, go see it, and report back whether it is acceptable to wait for the DVD. You're welcome.

    Second, you and your friends are so well-behaved: no booze? What about some rum for the coke? Amateurs. (I'm impressed by bringing in a whole meal, though.)

    Now the big "why". For me, it's a preview before determining if I should purchase the movie when it comes out. Netflix is great, but for a first experience, why not get the full treatment? I prefer to aim for a matinee when possible. Fewer people, and usually they are well-behaved retirees. Also, cheaper tickets.

    I will concede the "some movies MUST be seen on big screen" rule only if you have a very very big screen at home. Star Wars' battle of Yavin sequence is not a rollercoaster on a small screen. Sorry but when it comes to big race or action sequences, screen-size DOES matter. And
    Finally...
    Rest assured that I will never drag you to the cinema. I think movies are the dumbest date idea ever ...unless you are so comfortable that sitting in each other's presence in silence is fun. But certainly not early on. If you can't talk, how do you get to know each other better? Besides, the Movie Whore is perfectly happy going to the movies solo.
    (No, I'm not perfect, just close.)

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    1. Wow, Red. You felt so strongly about sharing your expert opinion, you shared it twice!! :D

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    2. I can't delete it for some reason. :(

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    3. I have deleted the first one.

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    4. I catch about one movie a year with my daughter. Some movie will come out that she says just "must be seen in the theater." On those occasions, we usually leave town and go to a big city with nicer theaters. We make a whole evening of it.

      I am not totally against going, but I never go to the movies to just go. It must be a movie I really wanted to see.

      I agree about movies as a date. Early on, a couple needs to spend time getting to know each other and that does not happen staring at the screen.

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    5. @Misty - well, he is my internet fiance, so we need to hash these things out early! Best to know each other's demons.

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  5. As someone with inside information on costs of movie theater operations, I'll share a few tidbits. :) In terms of cost to the company:

    -Popcorn costs less than half than does the bag they put it in
    -Extra butter costs more than the popcorn and bag combined

    Which is utterly ridiculous... though granted, theaters make most of their money on concession sales. Depending on the contract they have with the makers of a given movie, theaters are often required to run movies for a minimum length of time... during which almost everything from ticket sales goes to the producers.

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    1. Thank you. That explains a little about why the prices are so high. I am still not going to pay it, but it makes sense.

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  6. Nowadays, it pays to be mean. For 3D films, the lil man and I have a drawer full of 3D glasses, thus avoiding the extra charges that it coasts to purchase them. And we ALWAYS sneak in our own drinks and snacks...and yes, the occasional MacDonalds or Burger King have been known to frequent our bags. (well hidden of course)

    And I always assumed that 'snuck' was a real word! Well now I know.

    Great post. :)

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    1. I think it just took someone saying something to those kids. They hadn't been challenged by anyone and were just getting louder and louder.

      The extra $3-4 dollars for a $.50 pair of glasses is irritating as well. I have already paid for the movie that requires these glasses. Why should I pay even more?

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  7. I used to go to the movies a ton before kids. Now, I only go very occassionally, and usually only to kids' movies. This past weekend, in fact. I took my two boys to see The Lorax. This was my youngest's first movie (with me) so I was curious if he would last through. He did. But I also came prepared. I have learned many lessons over the years.

    1. A couple days before, I started emailing friends with similarly aged kids about coming with us. Was it because I wanted my kids to have friends at the movies? No. That is just dumb. They sit there staring at the screen. Like for a date, it is not a social activity. I did it for selfish reasons. If one of my kids had to go to the bathroom in the middle (completely inevitable with kids), I would have another adult there to stay with the other kid so I don't have to drag both kids out of the theater and possibly lose our seats, etc. (Also, get end seats, not seats in the middle, for inevitable potty breaks).

    2. The last movie I took my oldest son to, I spent about $25 on popcorn and drinks for the 2 of us alone. I think I paid like $4 for a bottle of water. A bottle I could get for $1 somewhere else or could pay .30 for if I bought a 12 pack. So, for this movie, I popped a bag of popcorn at home and put it in a ziploc, I brought an entire box of cheez-its and threw 4 kid sized waters and 2 adult ones in a backpack and brought it all in the theater. Snacks and drinks = done. We didn't pay a dime for concessions.

    That's just 2, but I'm not going to hijack your post. But just one other thing . . . SNUCK is not a word??? When did this happen???

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    1. My mom would make brownies to take with us. It was great.

      When I typed snuck, I got the red squiggly lines. So, I Googled it to find out if I was right. The site said that although snuck is used by most people, it is not correct. The past tense is sneaked.

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  8. Well I have to put my two cents in....i did take brett to the movies to see mission impossible. I guess he didnt have a fun time or just forgot...anyways red I,know who is going to be my plus one at the movies from now on (when you get closer). booze is allowed too...lol

    I WILL TAKE PREACH TO SEE ACT OF.VALOR SOON

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    1. I DID forget that you made me go see that. It was alright.

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  9. The 3D effect lures me into the theater now and then...movie popcorn with extra butter/flavored salt is awesome...and people that audibly mock movies in public places should diagf...slowly. That is all.

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    1. What is diagf? Die In A Gruesome Fire?

      I do love movie popcorn.

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  10. We always bring our own food when we go to the cinema. The one near us, although part of a major chain, has a polite sign on the wall requesting that patrons do not bring in HOT food - as if implicitly acknowledging that their patrons will bring in food due to the high prices, and just trying to reduce mess/smells as much as they can. I think that's fair enough.

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    1. I have always at least brought a soda. One time, as we were going in my son handed me his soda to go use the restroom. The manager saw it and made us take our drinks back to the vehicle.

      Then, on our way back in, we got in trouble for skirting the line. Since we had already paid, I didn't realize we needed to go through the line. The guy was kind of a jerk.

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  11. Holy shitballs, do I hate seeing movies in the theater. I saw Me, Myself, & Irene in the theaters once and I'm amazed that I'm not in prison for murder. The world's most annoying woman sat behind me and said, "Oh, no, he didn't!" every five seconds throughout the entire film.

    I've also been booted from the movies for taking on inconsiderate assholes. During the Blair Witch Project, several male teens had some sort of emergency involving cell phones and Axe body spray (to judge by the smell). They would all open their cell phones up, text furiously, make calls, and even stand up to discuss the situation. Yet when I shouted, "Hey, 9021-Dorks! Take it the fuck outside" (and got applause for doing so), I was the one booted.

    Fuck the movie theaters.

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    1. That is just my issue. If no one else was there, it might be more tolerable. I am glad you understand.

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  12. WHAT DID YOU SAY to those kids!!?!?!??!?!?!

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    1. This was several years ago and I honestly don't remember. I have worked with kids for years and usually know how to handle them.

      I am sure it was subtle threat designed to scare them into submission, but mild enough to keep me out of any real trouble.

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  13. Movie theaters are gross, and people can be awful. If we go see a flick in the theater, we try to do it on a weekday, noon show. There are few people, and it's the cleanest it'll be all day.

    My husband, dad, and I went to see a movie at an Alamo Draft House in Austin on the same day the newest Rocky movie opened. They had hoisted a huge slab of raw meat into the air for people to punch in honor of Rocky. There was a line of dudes lined up, all rarin' to go, like, an hour before the movie started. It was both funny and disgusting.

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    1. That's great. That would have been a great picture. I probably would have lined up to punch it also.

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  14. I would love to have a theater full of people applaud for me!

    I must tell you, though, I disagree with you on this one. Going to the movies is one of my favorite things to do. It is just an all-encompassing experience that I can't get from watching a movie at home.

    That being said, I'm a pretty huge movie buff, so my opinion might be pretty extreme on this issue.

    I do, however COMPLETELY agree with you about not spending money on concessions. Except for sometimes... because the popcorn smells so good.

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    1. I am happy to let you have the pleasure of going in my place. I feel the same way about sports. I have no problem with the people that are into these things and want to spend their time doing it, but it is just not for me.

      The applause was nice. I even bowed, but would rather have just been able to enjoy the movie.

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  15. I completely agree with you. I see a movie in a theater once every other year at this point, although if I was home I would probably do it more often. The prices are ridiculous, the audience is annoying, and I'm afraid of the dark, germs, and scurrying things across the floor.

    I have to look at the comments - but what did you say to the boys? This is where it helps to be a man I think.

    However, despite all this - it is interesting to watch certain movies in the theaters because I am curious about how people respond. I loved that in Dublin people laughed at Brad Pitt's horrible Irish accent, but with a good sense of humor, like "of course that's what he sounds like. Americans are silly people." And I loved that watching "Crash" in a diverse neighborhood got one reaction, and watching it in the midwest small towns of middle America got an entirely different reaction.

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    1. That would have been interesting. I love studying culture so I could have really gotten into that.

      I really don't remember what I said to those boys. I wish I did, but it was too long ago.

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    2. Temple of Doom was filmed partly in Sri Lanka, so when we saw it there, during the scene where the villagers are up in arms about the kids being stolen, the audience started laughing, because that's not at all what was being said!

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  16. I imagine the message you whispered to the kids to be, "Santa isn't real, easter bunny isnt real, tooth fairy is made up. Your entire life and everything you believe in was fabricated by your parents and not real. So now I ask you, are they your real parents?"

    I love going to the theatre, but they are stupidly expensive, and 3D is a waste of time. Through work, we get discounts at some theatres, 50% off or something, and my friends and I give that a hammering.

    I never buy snacks because I'm cheap and don't have a house to mortgage to afford it.

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    1. I think you nailed the comment to the kids.

      I have had more fun going to movies that I didn't really care about. If the movie means nothing to me, then all the little irritations don't bother me as much. I am just having fun with my friends, but never to the point that I am disturbing others.

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  17. I wait until the movie is at the $3 movie theater. On weekdays, there are very few people, and I still take my own food.

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    1. That would be cool. I live in a small town that only has one theater. Once the movie leaves, it's gone.

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  18. Yeah, but what did you say to the kids? I mostly work with six-year-olds, so I don't have the secret words for pre-teens yet.

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    1. Kids understand that adults can't really touch them. Convince them that you are willing to overlook that social rule and they suddenly take you very seriously.

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  19. But...but...movies are meant to be watched on the big screen!

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    1. I think I need to get rich and build myself a private theater. I agree that the big screen and sound quality add to the movie experience, but there are enough downsides that I don't go very often.

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  20. Since the evolution of OnDemand, Hulu, and NetFlix I have become even more of an agoraphobe than ever. Huzzah!

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    1. That has made it much easier. I have never felt that I have to see something as soon as it comes out.

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  21. LOL I really want to see this movie! You crack me up with your Big Mac! Reminds me of Kramer taking coffee into the theater on an episode of Seinfeld. You see that one?

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    1. I did see that one. Free coffee for life.

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  22. I always hate the prices at the movie snack bar. A popcorn for 7 bucks, and soda for 3. For shame.

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  23. It's been my goal for awhile to try to sneak it a full pizza. I'd easily put my buddies to shame and win all their love and affection.

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    1. That would be impressive. I have a new life goal now.

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  24. You're the true act of valor. haha

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    1. Theaters should hire movie bouncers.

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  25. On the rare occasion we go to the theaters, we take the kids to the $1 theater which of course is now $1.50. That helps with the ticket prices but they still jack you with the popcorn and pop. I don't sneak anything in but mainly because I'm there for the theater popcorn. I love that stuff. But it's a rarity for us to even take the kids to the cheaper theater because of the concession prices. And I refuse to pay more for a 3D movie. I haven't seen a 3D movie in the theaters yet and have no desire to see one. And don't even get me started about the idiots that go there.

    We love Netflix, we get one DVD at a time and unlimited streaming. We use the crap out of it. I'd get rid of the DVD if the streaming had a better selection of new releases. My daughter watches it on my Kindle, my stepdaughter watches it all night long on her laptop and the wife and I watch it on the living room TV. We definitely get our money's worth. I'll opt to sit on the couch and watch my movies over the theaters any day.

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    1. I do two DVDs at a time. I have one cue for movies and one for TV shows. Most of my Netflix use is streaming. Like you, we use it well beyond what we are paying for. I love it.

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  26. I read this post off of my cell phone last night, but it is so complicated to post from it, so here I am a day late and a dollar short, but I love this post!

    I bring in my own snacks, but my son loves for me to pay the high prices for the drinks and he always wants popcorn...ughh.

    I try to rent from my TV when I can. It is so much cheaper!

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