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The Modern Theatre Experience (merged with RANT)

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The Modern Theatre Experience (merged with RANT)

Old 12-17-05, 03:35 AM
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The Modern Theatre Experience

Sorry for the long post in advance.. I extremely pissed off, and just felt like venting... Hopefully some of you take the time to read this in it's entirety...

When I was growing up in Oscoda, MI we had a local drive-thru theatre nearby, and we would fill up the car with the whole family and go see a moive. The first movie I saw there when I was actually old enough to pay attention and care what was on the screen was Pet Semetary in 1989 when I was almost 6 years old. Sure, I had seen things there when I was younger like Pee Wee's big Adventure, but none of that stuck with me. This film, on that night, is where I fell in love with movies, and horror.

I didn't go to my first indoor movie theatre until around 1991 when I visited my grandparents in Maryland and my grandmother took us to see Ninja Turtles II. It was a new experience, and enjoyable. My love for movie grew with ever film I devoured, and I started having my parents take us out to the theatre regularly.. and we eventually got one our first VCR and started to buy VHS movies.

Fast forward to 2005: I'm an avid movie fan, with a collection of 679 DVD Sets which total to 775 films.. a love for movies.. and a hatred for going to the theatre. The "modern" theatre experience feels to my like a bastardization of what it once was, and the elements that made it special to me. For example, you now have to sit through 15 minutes of commercials for PRODUCTS before you even get to the movie trailers! (I swear to god, I am never going to drink FANTA ever for the rest of my life after the bombardment of their advertising in movie theatres last summer.) While candy and popcorn was always mildly expensive, it now can cost close to $13 for a soda and popcorn in some theatres. Ticket prices seem to have double in the past six years.

I will give the theatres some credit... The seats are now more comfortable (reclining seats, movable arm rests, etc.. etc.. ), the audio and visual presentations are simply phenominal.. but even with these positive factors, I hate going more and more with each trip. The main reason: PEOPLE. Yes, the other theatre goers. Whether it is someone's cell phone ringing or talking on their cell phone, commenting about everything going on during the damn movie to their friends, or just laughing their asses off with their own conversation.. it's simply ruined almost every trip I've made to the movies in recent memory.

I have been to three movies in the past month. In every case, someone has been talking their damn heads off the entire duration of the film. Tonight, I snapped. I have been waiting to see King Kong since it was first announced. The entire time I was in the theatre, behind me kept talking the entire time about how much the movie "sucked" and making fun of the movie, especially during the final scenes in New York. It totally ruined the mood of the movie.. it totally ruined my viewing experience, and pissed off just about everyone anywhere near them. So, when the movie finally finished.. and I still had a bitter taste in my mouth about it, I simply turned around and told them the next time they come to the movies they should shut the fuck up. Of course, they didn't appreciate being talked down to in public.. and decided they would "kick my ass" which I gladly invited them to do. They came into my row, and I again invited them to do whatever they said they wanted to do.. and they did nothing, and left. I came into the lobby where they regrouped with more friends, and again.. lots of talk.. no action. The Police got involved, and now they said they'd "get me in the parking lot." Of course, they were all talk, trying to show their bravado without actually delivering on it. Nothing happened.. and even if something did I would have been able to handle it..

My wife was very pissed off with me for confronting them.. and in retrospect, it was stupid to do anything like that with her there putting her in danger.. but I'm just fed up with people's total lack of respect for others in a movie environment, and I'm sick of going to the movies as a result. Thankfully I have a bigscreen TV and surround sound.. a ton of DVDs to watch at my discretion, and the ability to pause for drinks or a piss break (as I'm sure many of you do as well.) Unless something really spectacular comes out, I doubt I'm going again.

So, has anyone else sworn off the theatre for good of would you like to share some experiences?
Old 12-17-05, 03:39 AM
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took my pregnant wife to Kill Bill and the guy behind us was smoking weed. I stood up in the middle of the movie and said get rid of the weed or I'm getting the cops...
Old 12-17-05, 04:49 AM
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Movie theatres have been like this for years, the only difference is now the extra element of cell phones. People have always talked during movies. Really the only things you can do are report them, look at them annoyed and huff and puff, or just go on a non-busy day and time. I saw King Kong opening day at around 12 noon, with about 20-30 people in the theatre and it was a great experience. Super clean print, great sound qualty, and no talking or cell phones. And I have no gripes about the ads in the movies, there have always been ads, now they are just video instead of stills. I actually enjoy the Twenty before the movie most of the time, just something to watch and comment on with your friends.

I love DVDs and I have over 200, with a modest HDTV and a decent college-student priced sound system, but there's nothing that beats the movie theatre experience. Get the Regal card and you get lots of nice things every time you go, free popcorn, free movie tickets after several movies, etc etc.

Sure I've had my bad experiences at the movies, but who hasn't? Don't give up on the cinema! Just find a better theatre!
Old 12-17-05, 06:20 AM
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Depends on the theatres, I guess. I always hear these unfortunate rants about bad movie experiences (and I sympathize), but never do I have a problem. I've experienced maybe one cellphone talker, a few rowdy drunk people or stupid teenagers at a stupid comedy now and then, and that's about it.

Then again, we pretty much exclusively go to midnight movies, or independent movies in Ann Arbor. Maybe it's worse on some of the different time slots.
Old 12-17-05, 06:27 AM
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You could always try going to matinee features. Or go to the theater on Sunday or Monday night when its dead.

I hate packed theaters too, they drive me nuts. But my gf used to work at Regal so we could still get in for free. We saw probably a dozen films. That stopped 6 months ago and I think we've paid to see 3. Wedding Crashers, the Transporter, and Walk the Line.
Old 12-17-05, 07:08 AM
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no less than five times did the guy next to me cell phone ring and he just looked at it while watching Kong yesterday. I told him to shut it off after the second and still.

This is why I really should just go to the arclight.
Old 12-17-05, 07:36 AM
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Yeah ... and it's not just the talking on the cell phone ... it's the lighted LCD screen that shines like a beacon whenever anybody checks their phone.
Old 12-17-05, 08:29 AM
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So, has anyone else sworn off the theatre for good of would you like to share some experiences
Yes, years ago. Going to a movie theater is always a bad idea if you want to see a movie.
Old 12-17-05, 08:44 AM
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It takes a big movie to get me to go. Star Wars and LOTR are the only ones I've been to in years.
Old 12-17-05, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by teamwinfan
(I swear to god, I am never going to drink FANTA ever for the rest of my life after the bombardment of their advertising in movie theatres last summer.)
I never drank it anyway, but I know what you mean. That was one of the worst commercials I've ever seen. Glad to see I'm not alone in being annoyed by it. Makes it easier to bear.
Old 12-17-05, 11:00 AM
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Well, as for the ads... I used to work at a theater (The Rave Motion Pictures chain... hence my name, hehe). Anyways, the thing about the ads is, it's another source of revenue for the theaters. If they pick up more ads, they can afford to keep down the prices of other things like tickets and drinks. Unfortunately, since I quit the ticket prices have gone up about a buck, and all the food has gone up at least a buck fifty. Plus the Screenvision slides that play on the screen between movies, and the Movie Tunes CD have been replaced by this new animated slide projector with its own sound and animated commercials. Very weird.

As for people talking in the theaters, that is the sole reason I can't get my dad to go anymore. He HATED the people talking in theaters so much that he won't ever watch a movie till it comes out on DVD. I think the last movie he saw in theaters was The Last Samurai, and that's because I got him in for free. As for myself, I hardly go anymore (something feels icky about going back to your old place of employment as a customer). But I don't want to pay ticket prices... for 2 tickets at 8 bucks a pop, I could buy the DVD at Best Buy for the same price. If I do go see a movie, it's never on opening weekend. I wait about 2 or 3 weeks first.

Oh, and I NEVER go see a movie that I know teens will go see. Teenagers are worse than children I feel.
Old 12-17-05, 11:20 AM
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Let's face it folks.

Between these problems:

1. Totally silly ticket prices.

2. Totally silly concession prices.

3. Frequently unclean theaters (the ushers don't do a good job cleaning the theater between showings).

3. Poorly maintained projection and sound systems.

4. Totally rude customers who talk during films and don't bother to turn off cellphones and pagers.

5. Hollywood not offering movies that movie audiences like (some for reasons I will only discuss in the Politics forum).

...It's small wonder why movie patronage is going down.

Besides, home theater technology is advancing to the point that you can get most of the theater experience at home. With the arrival of 1080p rear projection TV's and the impending arrival of Blu-Ray/HD-DVD high-definition DVD's that will likely playback in 1080p format, by 2010 when prices of 1080p RPTV's and players become reasonable there will be very little incentive to actually go out to a theater.

Sure, we'll miss the big screen and the shared experience, but on a home theater by 2010 we'll get:

1. Very sharp picture quality.

2. Excellent sound quality.

3. The ability to make your own concessions at vastly lower prices.

4. No more need to drive out to the theater and/or lining up a babysitter.

5. The ability to pause a movie if you need to stretch out, someone calls or you need to use the restroom.

And you wonder why NetFlix is going great business nowadays.

Last edited by RayChuang; 12-17-05 at 11:21 AM. Reason: correct wording
Old 12-17-05, 03:51 PM
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I agree with these complaints, especially with the high ticket prices and insane concessions prices (3 dollars for an 8 ounce bottle of water!). I'd like to add that I love drinking coffee during a movie and most theatres just offer carbonated sugar water, crap candy and partially hydrogenated popcorn for concessions but don't let you bring anything in.

Anyway, if you live in a city, there are really fantastic theatrical experiences to be had. In Chicago there is the Music Box theatre, and the Gene Siskel Film Center, both of which sometimes show new movies, but often show the really great movies of the past. Gene Siskel had a Kubrick festival this summer that was out of this world. The emplyees there take care to maintain the projection and sound quality. They also sell coffee, espresso, and even a variety of beer and wine, and the ticket prices for both places are cheaper than the crap megaplexes! The audiences there are almost always respectful and appreciate film as an art. I'm never disappointed with my experiences at those places. The Landmark theatre's can be really good too.

Look around. Find places that draw film lovers rather than teenage gang-bangers and you'll probably have a much better time.

Last edited by lamphorn; 12-17-05 at 03:53 PM.
Old 12-17-05, 04:03 PM
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I hear you teamwin. I guess I'm lucky that I'm able to see movies durring the weekdays. My local theater is an Edwards chain, and they give free popcorn on tuesdays to their card carriers. There's mostly old people inside and they can be a bit rude themselves. I'd never see a movie on a weekend night, for the very reasons you've stated.
Old 12-17-05, 04:41 PM
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i still LOVE going to theaters, I dont think its bad execpt for prices. my theaters i go to only have one commerical and thats for pepsi. Prices for a ticket are 6 bucks, 8 bucks at night. I usually get a large pop and a large popcorn, combo #1 for 8.00. Put butter and put some white cheddar seasoning on the popcorn and its so so so good. The theaters I go usually have good crowds. They are in nicer areas and that helps.

plus it adds to the experience of the movie. No home theater will top going to the theater. Going to a movie with a full audience adds so much to the movie, especailly comedys. i go atleast once a week or sometimes twice a week to the movies. Theres a new theater about 2 minuites away from my house and its great. Clean and nice and has the only digital theater around
Old 12-17-05, 05:39 PM
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I blatantly talked aloud with a friend during one movie, but that was because we were the only two in the last showing of Land of the Dead which made it fun, otherwise, we are always respectful of the ones around us, even if it was one person in the back, so I am with the rest of you, and if one person is talking in front of me, and my friends, I have no problem with kicking the back of their seats.
Old 12-17-05, 06:16 PM
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What killed it for me was the small theater with stadium seating. Haven't gone to the theater since the Bond movie The World is Not Enough. The only first run theaters left around me are AMC multplexes of about 20 screens each. On the outside the building is about the size of a Best Buy. The seating reminds me of sitting in the balcony or upper level of sports stadium and the theaters are too small with a too small screen. Almost like somebody's garage. Sucks. I like to sit back and look up at a large screen. There is still a Dickinson 6 screen around as a second run house but the prints are kinda worn out by the time they get them. Less than a mile from me is a classic single screen theater, The Englewood. Has a large 50 ft screen and just recently was remodeled and now is first run. A lot of the remodeling was done with salvage(seats, etc.) from a beautiful theater called the Glenwood. The Glenwood had the exclusive on Star Wars back in 1977 and it ran for almost two years straight. So far has not shown anything I'm really wanting to see. Had my fingers crossed for King Kong but they are showing Narnia.
Other great theaters in Kansas City like the Midland and The Empire are still around. These places were huge with huge screens. They have concerts and stuff at the Midland now. Empire is closed up. I remember lines around the block to see Jaws and Empire Strikes Back. The Empire theater had a hallway you walked through to go to the bathroom called The Hall of Fame. The Hall of Famed was lined with framed 1-sheet posters of films that had played there with a plaque underneath stating how many weeks the film had played. Ex: Lawrence of Arabia would have a plaque that read 37 weeks, etc.
I grew up in Iowa in the 1960s. We had four indoor theaters(single screen) and five drive-ins. The Coronet specialized in roadshow stuff(reserved seating) and played stuff like Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Doctor Zhivago, etc. and these movies always played for what seem like a year or so. The Rocket had all the Fox movies, The Capitol all the Disney, and the RKO Orpheum, the largest theater in the state with 3000 seats had all the United Artists releases. I still remember see the Connery Bond movies there as a kid on a screen so an incredibly large screen. There was no duplication between the indoor and drive-ins so you got 2 or 3 first run films at the drive-in. Back then some really big movies would be drive-in only. Dirty Dozen was one. All the westerns and horror/sci-fi stuff. They would have all night horror marathons with 4 or 5 movies. Spend the Night with Edgar Allan Poe, All-Nite Franken-fest, All-Night Blood-A-Thon, etc. . The employees would be dressed up like ghouls and stuff. It was cool. One drive-in, The Corral, specialized in biker movies. It was the only drive-in that allowed motorcycles.
Old 12-17-05, 07:19 PM
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I rarely go to the theaters anymore. For those rare times I want to see a movie on the big screen, I always try to go very late on a Sunday night. I made the mistake of trying to see Revenge of the Sith around 10pm on a Saturday night and someone's little bastard kids were running around from seat to seat playing some game of tag. Finally someone told them to sit the f down, so they left but cussed as loud as they could on the way out. Then just when you thought it was safe to watch the movie, someone's little baby started crying. Hmmm 10pm and you have a baby in a movie theater..brainiac there. Luckily after a few minutes, the guy took the kid out of the theater. So the first 30 mins of Sith was totally ruined for me.

Of course, along with the obliviot movie goers you have insane prices from drinks and eats. 25 cents worth of popcorn should never sell for $8...same with drinks. It's just flat out silly. I never buy food or drinks there anymore. Sadly most people still do and while eating/drinking it seems they do their best to crumple bags and slurp drinks as loud as they can. My favorite are the ice crunchers that are trying to get their last pieces of ice so they vigorously shake the cup, rattling their ice. Then if that don't work they raise it to their mouths and thump the bottom of their cups. I swear, it's like they think they are at home.

I firmly believe that theaters should use those cell phone jammers I've read of. The only thing worse than a-holes that leave their ringers on during a movie are the a-holes that think their ring tone is so cute they want everyone to hear it for 15 seconds before answering. When I saw Serenity, a guy near the front flipped open his cell phone several times during the film. It was like he was uncovering the Sun every damn time he did it. I really wished that night I would have bought a drink, I may have bounced it off the back of his head.

Sadly though, this type of behavior isn't limited to theaters. Cluessless people like this are all over the place anymore. Common courtesy is a lost art in this country it seems.
Old 12-17-05, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Silt
I rarely go to the theaters anymore. For those rare times I want to see a movie on the big screen, I always try to go very late on a Sunday night. I made the mistake of trying to see Revenge of the Sith around 10pm on a Saturday night and someone's little bastard kids were running around from seat to seat playing some game of tag. Finally someone told them to sit the f down, so they left but cussed as loud as they could on the way out. Then just when you thought it was safe to watch the movie, someone's little baby started crying. Hmmm 10pm and you have a baby in a movie theater..brainiac there. Luckily after a few minutes, the guy took the kid out of the theater. So the first 30 mins of Sith was totally ruined for me.

Of course, along with the obliviot movie goers you have insane prices from drinks and eats. 25 cents worth of popcorn should never sell for $8...same with drinks. It's just flat out silly. I never buy food or drinks there anymore. Sadly most people still do and while eating/drinking it seems they do their best to crumple bags and slurp drinks as loud as they can. My favorite are the ice crunchers that are trying to get their last pieces of ice so they vigorously shake the cup, rattling their ice. Then if that don't work they raise it to their mouths and thump the bottom of their cups. I swear, it's like they think they are at home.

I firmly believe that theaters should use those cell phone jammers I've read of. The only thing worse than a-holes that leave their ringers on during a movie are the a-holes that think their ring tone is so cute they want everyone to hear it for 15 seconds before answering. When I saw Serenity, a guy near the front flipped open his cell phone several times during the film. It was like he was uncovering the Sun every damn time he did it. I really wished that night I would have bought a drink, I may have bounced it off the back of his head.

Sadly though, this type of behavior isn't limited to theaters. Cluessless people like this are all over the place anymore. Common courtesy is a lost art in this country it seems.

Good post.

I plan on seeing Narnia and Kong in the next few weeks and if I see clowns acting clownish Im going to call them on it. I have been to the theater maybe 4 times in the last 5 years so I have not totally experienced this new breed of assholes.
Old 12-17-05, 09:54 PM
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I love the cinematic experience and will see as many films on the big screen as I can. I have occassionally heard people during a film but, while it irrates me, they often only talk in short bursts. I'm more annoyed when there's plently of room in the cinema and people choose to sit right next to you.
Old 12-18-05, 01:21 AM
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I went to see Harry Potter 4 when it came out. Wanted to go with a friend, and he insisted on going to the early Friday showing. Two minutes into the movie, a baby starts screaming. And the mother, across the aisle from me, is not doing a damn thing, not even checking the baby or trying to comfort it. After five minutes of this, I got up, walked across the aisle, and demanded that if she didn't pick up the baby and leave the theatre, not only would I call the manager, I'd call the police and Child Protective Services about the negligent and potentially abusive mother. She hurled worse language than I've heard from sailors and stormed out.

I've never been applauded before.
Old 12-18-05, 01:35 AM
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I think your major problem is that you are going to theatres instead of theaters.
Old 12-18-05, 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Silt
25 cents worth of popcorn should never sell for $8...same with drinks. It's just flat out silly.
I know what you mean. I worked at a movie theater last year for a few weeks on x-mas break and i asked the managers how much the popcorn actually cost. Everything involved cost $.05 for a large bag. That bag sold for $5.75. over a 10,000% mark up
Old 12-18-05, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Rockmjd23
I think your major problem is that you are going to theatres instead of theaters.
From Dictionary.com:

the·a·ter or the·a·tre
n.
1. A building, room, or outdoor structure for the presentation of plays, films, or other dramatic performances.

Maybe you should check these things before you jump on the "correct spelling" pedestal?



And so i'm actually contributing to the topic, last Monday when I went to see Narnia there were at least two crying babies and two little kids that would not stfu throughout the entire movie. I guess that is what I get for going to see a movie that appeals to younger audiences. I just bought a decent sized HDTV though so I plan on waiting for the DVDs for many of the movies I want to see from now on.
Old 12-18-05, 03:47 AM
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I don't see many movies in the theater, due mostly to the cost. When I do go, it's to have more of an event. I'll see the bigger movies on opening weekend, and actually hope the audience gets into it a little bit. Cheers, laughing, boos, etc.
I don't have much of a problem with the kids/cell phones/talkers. I guess I've been lucky with the movies I've picked. Once the movie itself starts, everyone seems to get fairly curteous. The ones that aren't only bother me for a few seconds.

Only occasionally do I get food at a theater. Since I don't go very often, I don't mind paying it once in a while. I have the same attitude about going to the bars. I don't do it very often, so I don't mind having a large tab with some appetizers in a night.

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