ENJOY THE SHOW
The 2000s were a very interesting time for moviegoing. The popularity of DVDs (and ultimately Blu-Ray) soared and the quality of TVs and home theater equipment increased significantly, causing attendance at cinemas to decline tremendously. At the same time, usually in response, we saw a number of interesting, if not all respected, advances and new trends in theaters and film exhibition come about in the past decade.
To look back on the last ten years of moviegoing, I've compiled a big list of my ten favorite experiences, both general and specific. While these are all fairly subjective and personal reflections, I've tried to use each
What if you missed Avatar? Say the snow kept falling, you got busy, had a business trip, family obligations, something unexpected happened, and/or anything else kept you from getting to the multiplex on time. And when you finally had three hours to spend on Pandora, the movie was out of theaters. What would you do? Settle for the DVD? It's doubtful even the new 3D televisions would provide a fair substitute for what you'd have experienced on the big screen -- especially the big, big IMAX screen.
Fortunately I saw that movie, and it's quite likely anyone who wants to see it can and will, unless they're
Did you know that most movie theaters don't ban outside food? It's a common misconception that cinemas have strict rules, but in reality they merely request that you don't bring in outside food and are often fairly lax about it. So, when you think you're "sneaking" some snacks from the outside, you're probably not. You're only doing something you're highly discouraged from doing. But that's the norm in today's society, isn't it?
There are two main reasons why theaters don't completely ban outside food. One, they don't want to alienate customers in general. And two, they don't want to alienate specific customers with special dietary needs.
The other day a friend was telling me about her Thanksgiving plans, which include the annual post-feast trip to the movies with her parents and siblings. She's an adult, yet she continues to follow this tradition of moviegoing that has been regular practice since she was a kid. And of course she's not a rare grown-up to be holding onto such tradition. Millions of Americans will always follow the first half of their Thanksgiving and Christmas rituals with a visit to the multiplex.
One thing that I love about the sustainability of moviegoing is that it's so rooted in tradition. The holiday
What do you do when the movie is over? The last scene has played, the credits have begun, the lights have come up, maybe you clapped, maybe you read the credit scroll to the end, you exit the auditorium and then... Because you are reading a movie blog, I presume you like to discuss movies, but where do you go for the discussion, and how long does it last?
Despite the fact that I write about movies, I feel like I don't talk enough about a movie -- immediately and with real people -- after seeing it in the theater. Sometimes a friend and I will exchange a few words about
Do you pay attention to movie release windows? If movies came out on DVD and Blu-Ray sooner, would it encourage you to wait to see more titles on home video instead of seeing them in the theater?
I can't imagine that the general population would answer yes to either of these questions. But the chance that they would is of great worry to American cinemas. That's why whenever a release window is shortened, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) throws a fit. It's been awhile since one of the studios had the gall to significantly venture lower than the average length of time between theatrical release and
Many New Yorkers will see any movie for free. This is probably the case for people in other cities, as well, but given the large population of NYC it is especially apparent here. Free previews of new films happen every week, whether sponsored by one of the local free papers or a radio station or directly presented by the distributor, as a way of initiating word of mouth in the last few days leading up to a film's opening weekend. But most of the time these screenings are not worth trying to fight the usual freeloaders for a seat at.
Last week's complimentary New York screening of Paranormal Activity, however, was different.
I go to the movies a lot, and every time I buy concessions. There are a few reasons for this. I like supporting cinemas in the place they make their primary income. I consider it part of my job as a commentator on the movie industry and moviegoing trends to be familiar with each cinema's options as well as the quality of those options. And, of course, I am a fiend for popcorn.
The more movies I attend, the more popcorn I consume, and presumably this is making me fatter. Not that popcorn is an especially unhealthy snack, but any food is bad for you in excess. I must confess, however
If you've seen the trailer for the upcoming fourth Final Destination movie, you know it looks pretty terrible. Not quite as bad as the third Final Destination movie, but not nearly as good as the first two. You also know that it looks to be a recycled plot without having even the slightest connection to the rest of the franchise. And last but not least, you're aware that it pretty much already shows us all, or at least the majority, of the Rube Goldberg-type kills featured in the movie. But there's still a chance you're going to see it anyway, because you haven't seen any of it in 3-D, just as the tagline says: "Death saved the best for 3D!"
We're all familiar with the phrase "you get what you pay for." But how many times have you come away from a movie thinking you were ripped off? How often do you think you really got what you paid for with the experience? Do you see fewer films because of the ticket cost, and would you go to the movies more often and see more kinds of movies if they weren't so expensive? You don't have to actually answer any of these questions, though, but they're at least ideas to think about. I've been driving my brain crazy lately trying to figure out how the cost of a movie affects our experience with it, especially in relation to critical opinions.
Another '80s icon is gone. John Hughes, the writer and director remembered best for churning out classic teen movies such as The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, as well as the scripts for others, including Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, National Lampoon's Vacation, Home Alone, and Miracle on 34th Street, suffered a lethal heart attack this morning while taking a walk in New York City. He was only 59. For those of us who grew up in the '80s, Hughes was a legend, perhaps one of the first filmmakers we knew of by name and could associate with a certain brand of movie.
I wonder what my grandmother thought of film piracy. I am suddenly curious because she passed away earlier this month, and I never thought to ask her before she died. The reason it would be interesting to know is she's the one who introduced me to movie hopping - the art of buying one ticket and staying inside the theater to see other movies. Of course, most of us don't think of sneaking into a movie as being equal in offense to pirating a movie. Which is why it would have been neat to know if someone of her generation saw any difference -- not that she was tech savvy enough to download a pirated film, but still.
I finally went to see Pixar's Up in 3D on the eve of the release of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. I knew that the latter movie was going to take over most of the 3D screens in my area, so it seemed this might be my last chance to catch the Pixar film in the heightened format. Why had I waited so long in the first place? Well, besides being a chronic procrastinator, I was still attempting to introduce some friends to digital 3D, and I was waiting for them to come around in order to see it with them. Unfortunately, a lot of people, including many I'm acquainted with, continue to have no interest in this 3D "fad" as it's being called.
And another one down for Terry Gilliam. The overly ambitious and terribly unlucky filmmaker has told the fansite Dreams that yet another of his projects is going in the trash bin. Zero Theorem was the title of the project, a science fiction film supposedly about a reclusive and tortured data processing genius working on a mysterious project. The last we heard it was due to begin filming this year with Billy Bob Thornton set to star. But apparently due to all the extra work and publicity put into Gilliam's latest, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the project got delayed and eventually had to be scrapped in the end. Very sad news.