Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Cinematic Pleasure Principle


I remember when going to the movies was a fun experience. There was a small, shitty, second-run theater within walking distance of my house when I was a kid in the 80s. I don’t know if they still have second-run theaters anymore, but for people who aren’t familiar, second-run theaters are kind of like halfway houses for old movies. I don’t mean really old movies. I’m talking about movies that have been in theaters for longer than a month. Movies that are a little smelly and past their prime. They get exiled to these run-down theaters and are pimped out for low, low ticket prices. Usually to kids whose parents are too lazy to hire a babysitter. I saw Hook, like, eight times!

Anyway, those theaters were great because besides the cheap seats, ample stale popcorn and floors that hadn’t been mopped since the Carter administration, they were usually pretty empty. That meant you could run around the theater like a crazy person to get the full immersive experience of whatever film you were there to view. If you wanted to, you could bring a baseball and mitts. Which we did, for the third viewing of The Sandlot.

But movies and the movie-going experience these days is just the worst. I mean, it’s the pits. Not to brag, but I’ve had a catheter shoved up the tip of my junk and that still wasn’t as bad as going to the movies in the 21st century.

First, there’s the commercials. I don’t really feel like going into the commercials. They exist. They’re there. We’re all forced to watch them, which is the opposite point of going to the movies. But I guess nobody has actually ever complained to the theaters that we don’t want to see a two-minute, Superbowl-level ad for Coke where a bunch of hip, fully-integrated, mixed-race people in their ambiguous 20s/30s decide to drink soda while watching an outdoor concert from a mile away with somebody’s authentic, vintage Gregorian telescope, or some bullshit like that.

Then, there’s the 30 minutes worth of trailers. Don’t get me wrong. I love trailers as much as the next movie nerd. But when you’re four trailers in and you’ve literally forgotten what movie you came to see because OMG that new Mad Max flick is going to be tight! Why am I not watching that right nowww?!?! Then it can lessen the viewing experience.

There’s a million other complaints I could throw out there, but it turns out that I’ve already been labeled a curmudgeon, so I’ll try to not add any more credence to that. I’ll just say that prices are high, movies are bad and Tyler Perry still exists.

But what I have found to be really ridiculous is how everybody feels the lemming-like urge to see movies as soon as they come out. Even sooner, if possible. And I’m not sure I understand the logic behind that. Maybe I can understand it for kids. They’re really excited for a movie to come out, I get that. I was hopeless waiting for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Cooze to be released. I ate, slept and breathed those mutant freaks for months just waiting… needing that movie to come out. And I can understand wanting to go to school on a Monday and being able to talk with the other kids who saw the movie and are therefore better than the lowly plebe students. But adults? C’mon. You assholes can’t even name five people (not characters) from Game of Thrones without having to go to IMDB. Cinema has passed you people by. There’s no incentive for you to need to see a movie within 24 hours of its release. And there is absolutely no reason for adults to congregate, en mass, at 1 am, in their ritual attire, to worship at the altar of Harry Potter and his High-Priestess J. K. Rowling.

Mister Brooks is very nearly considering kidnapping me and forcing me to see Avengers 2: The Avengening with him the night that movie comes out. Because I can’t be bothered otherwise. That movie will be no different whether I see it opening day, or three weeks later when there’re no crowds in the theater and therefore nobody around to complain when I decide to urinate on the screen.

You hear what I’m saying? There isn’t a different, cheaper edited version of the movie that they release after a month for lazy and/or cheap people. It’s the same movie! And if I wait a few weeks, like a good little boy, I won’t have to deal with humans, or trying to find good seats, or noises or smells (especially the smells) or any of that bullshit. Plus, I get to bring my flasks to the theater with me. So what if I already know what’s going to be in the post-credit sequence? Those scenes are always shot by a different director and have never once had any impact on the plots of the movies that precede them.

So, who will join me in ignoring movies when they come out in favor of waiting for them to grow a little older, a little more mature, you know, get some pubes and shit? Let somebody else deflower those virginal films. You and I? we’ll come through after the movie’s broken in, once its gained a little more experience.

And if you disagree with what I’ve said, that’s fine. Just more empty theater for me. I’ll practice my curveball. 

1 comment:

Joshua said...

I waited three weeks to see Star Wars. I didn't miss out on shit.