Sunday, October 23, 2011

Home Movies

Moviefone has a small slideshow theorizing why we aren't going to the movies as much, these days. I agree with a lot of what they said. The quality of home viewing has improved. The availability of streaming video is convenient. The economy is poor. The quality of many movies has declined.

Almost two years ago, I did the math, and it still holds true. Now that the initial outlay for a Blu-Ray player and HDTV has been made, we can buy a movie on Blu-Ray not even four months after its theater opening, and have all the popcorn, soda, and snacks we want for far less than it costs to go to the movies--even a matinee--without snacks! Even our once-frequent trips to the Tri-Way Drive-In have all but vanished. The gas used to get there and back costs over $10.00 now!

Sure, watching at home isn't the same experience as going to the movies, but I can't say the last several trips have been all that pleasant. I send text messages as much as anyone, but during a movie, I put my phone away. At the last one we saw in the theater, someone in our row had their phone out during the entire movie. Nothing like a bright light in your peripheral vision to help you lose yourself in the story being presented on the screen!

I've never gotten used to people talking through movies, either. I can understand little kids asking questions, but full-grown adults and teenagers? It's grown so widespread that when I show a rare video in my classroom, kids talk aloud more than when there's no video showing. What is it with people? When did it become all right to carry on a conversation in the middle of a movie? And I don't think this is just me being curmudgeonly. It can't be enjoyable for anyone else, either. The theaters even put up funny public service announcements before each movie, telling people not to do it. I used to say something to people who were rude, but then one day, I suddenly realized that I'm not bulletproof. I'm not even bullet-resistant. Theaters now hire more ushers to keep things under control, but you know what? They're not bulletproof, either. I don't blame them for not risking their lives to tell someone to quiet down.

I don't know what the solution is, but I know that our collection of Blu-Ray movies is going to keep growing, and far faster than the amount of half-filled popcorn bags that go into the trash at the movie theaters at the end of a poorly-attended showing of a new film.