Doodad Kind of Town

More on a Summer Spent Outside the Multiplex
July 29, 2007, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I used to go to the movies at every possible opportunity and never counted the cost. What was the price of a movie ticket in the grand scheme of things? My love of cinema knew no price tag. Every moment spent in the hushed and darkened confines of a movie theatre was priceless to me.

But times have changed, my friend.

For one thing, the confines of the movie theatre may be darkened, but they sure ain’t hushed. Over the past few years, I’ve notice an alarming increase in movie talkers. I’m not referring to the innocent parties who whisper an occasional comment to one another – I’m talking about the folks who repeatedly yammer right out loud, dissecting every scene of the movie as if they are in their own living room, rather than a public place. And it’s not kids who are the guilty parties (although teenagers, being teenagers, tend to whisper and giggle and squeal a bit in every generation), it’s middle-aged adults! You know people raised in the 60s and 70s, way before permissive parenting ; i.e. People Who Should KNOW Better! Now, granted, I’m a wee bit on the self-righteous side from time to time, but I simply cannot get over myself on this issue. I want everyone to obey that pre-film command: “Please, don’t add your own soundtrack to the movie.” Damnit!

And there’s the whole issue of the price tag….

At suburban multiplexes near me, the cost of a movie admission ranges from $9 to $9.75, depending on the franchise. Add just one small Diet Coke and one bag of popcorn to that, and you’re easily in for $17.50. Then you get to watch advertisements until the previews start. And when the movie finally starts, it’s highly likely to be disappointing. (I can think of exactly three movies I’ve seen this year that were actually worth the money to me: “Notes on a Scandal,” “La Vie En Rose,” and “The Lives of Others.”)

For the first time in my life, I’ve become a discriminating moviegoer. This weekend, when offered an opportunity to join friends at “No Reservations,” I actually paused to consider the cost in terms of both cash outlay and general aggravation. Hmmm $9.50 to get in – $3.75 for stale, unsatisfying popcorn, fighting for a parking space, fighting to hear the movie over the middle-aged couple yakking behind me…. ah, forget it! (Besides, I felt like I’d pretty much gotten the whole story from the trailer for free: Type-A female chef has one-dimensional, love-free life; is made guardian of dead sister’s adorable child who forces her to confront her own Selfish Shallowness; meets hunky, laid-back, life-lovin’ male chef who teaches her How To Be Human; ends up with male chef boyfriend, adorable child and new-found wisdom about What Really Matters; THE END. If I failed to appreciate any subtle nuances in the story, please let me know.)

OK, I am now getting down from my Grumpy Old Lady soapbox.

I try not to do any serious TV watching in the summer, but this year, I’m takin’ a break from the multiplexes and enjoying some new and truly entertaining offerings on the small screen. Over the next week, I plan to post about some of the most entertaining of the bunch.

Stay tuned.
(photo from

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