– Cinema Conundrum, The

Going to the movie theater is like arranging to meet an old friend for coffee. The friend is one you knew as a child and enjoyed immensely, because every time you were together it was assured you would have a large amount of fun. As the years passed the friendship became complicated, with innocence being replaced by the realization of this individual’s many flaws. First off, he’s a huge mooch. We’re talking he’ll take anywhere from eight to twenty dollars from you every time you meet, and there’s no chance you’ll be paid back (unless you complain to his parents). He’s also really rude. Jesus he talks a lot. Why is he talking on his cell phone all the time? Can’t he shut that baby up? And I swear, if he tries to make me buy another friggin’ Fanta drink…!

And yet, despite all this, you still meet this friend on a regular basis. Why?

Well, for me at least, the reason I keep returning to the movie theater and all of the problems it brings is the moment right before a film I’ve been really eager to see, when an iconic studio logo such as Universal’s spinning globe or 20th Century Fox’s massive, spotlight altar to Hollywood appears on the big screen. When the themes for those logos play on the sound system, an excitement having nothing to do with cynicism or pretentiousness wells up inside me, and for one shining moment anything is possible in the next two hours. From there, who can be certain, but the simple rush of seeing a logo before a big movie starts is pure joy.

Now on the other hand, there are a million reasons to hate the movie theater, and to pick one as being the most grating is a somewhat difficult choice. Reflection brings the answer, however: The bloated monster known as TV advertising. For the love of all that is good and just in this world, why are my senses being blasted from every direction by the sights and sounds of painfully unfunny commercials I freely decimate at home by changing the channel? And despite focused and passionate attempts, they always seem to draw my attention away from even the best of conversations with a friend. Talk about the height of interference.

One last gripe: Who here feels genuinely miffed and resentful after watching one of those cell phone awareness ads masquerading as movie trailers? To this day I’m being tricked by the people behind this stupid campaign, and to a certain extent I want to give them the finger and not only leave my phone on but have people purposely call me during the film. It’s a rule of common courtesy for crying out loud, not an issue like drinking and driving where lives are at risk. Stop trying to be clever and as a result making me even angrier than I need to be, you bums.

So yeah, expensive popcorn, moronic mainstreamers, and eardrum-bursting ads put aside, I don’t think I’ll be boycotting the theater system anytime soon. Theaters just provide a difference in size and scope you simply can’t copy with a home system, no matter how fancy the sound system. The people who do hole themselves up at home and stick merely to Netflix almost astound me in their desire to be sequestered, since I feel movies, especially blockbusters, are at home when presented in a theater.

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