Going to the Movies
I am addicted to movies and television. I have a Netflix DVD account, a half-full DVR, and piles of unwatched DVD’s. And several times a month, I get invites to go see movies in the theater. I can end up watching just about any genre, but the bloody and/or pandemic kind of thrillers run up against my limit and I try to avoid watching cartoons (and especially in theaters) because of my age.
But lately, I’ve found myself getting picky about going to the movies. It’s not just about the inertia of staying home sounding better than showering, dressing, and dragging myself across town to sit in the dark with strangers. And it’s not just that the visual appeal of the huge screens has lessened as television screens have gotten better. Nor is it the sticker price of tickets and concessions these days, especially if you splurge for IMAX and the big tubs of soda and popcorn.
I think this stick-in-the-mud behavior is partly because my tolerance for doing any of those things has set a pretty high bar for what I want out of my movie-going experience.
The dark and gritty plots that dominate so much of the better television shows leaves me wanting something lighter, sillier, or funnier in my movies. Give me a Guardians of the Galaxy or a comedic take on the spy genre over yet another melodramatic period-piece.
Add to this that the trailers of many movies these days basically tell you all you need to know – including all relevant plot details or all the good jokes. Generally, the only trailers who don’t do this are the ones that try to sell you on the movie by showing off how many big-name actors or directors might be behind the project.
I’m sorry. I like Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, but their involvement in Bridge of Spies is not alone going to convince me to go so that period drama. Nor am I going to see Black Mass just because of its own roster of big names such as Johnny Depp and Benedict Cumberbatch. Nor am I going to see any other movie just because a critic – or a whole slew of newspaper columnists with varying degrees of credibility – told me to go see it based on their own taste in movies (which is often skewed by a film-school snobbery that misses the point of why so many of us go to the movies).
This can make me a frustrating friend to hang out with on weekends.
But if I am going to spend the better part of my day traveling to the theaters, watching trailers, and staring at a movie for two-and-a-half hours, I want to see some pay-off for my time. Big names can make shitty movies. Critics have their own agendas. And after a stressful week and a string of good but gritty tv shows, I want to be able to relax in a comfortable couch and watch some fun dammit.
So, I guess I’m pulling up Netflix and see what’s streaming these days, right?
Got any better ideas?