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Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Why the movie theatre will never die

I’m soooooooooooo sorry that I’ve been out of the blogging loop for so long.  I promise before a judge and jury that I will be much better about this going forward.  Not only that, but I’m going to try to do some catch up work and fill you in on all of the movies I’ve been seeing lately.

Speaking of seeing movies…..as you may have heard, today I appeared as a guest on “Attack of the Show.” The show aired on G4/Tech TV today, September 13th at 4pm West Coast Time and 7pm East Coast Time. It will also re-run at 6am tomorrow morning and possibly at other times as well.  You can check your local listings to confirm. 

I was in a segment called “The Loop” which is like CNN Crossfire. I went head to head with Chris Gore from FilmThreat.com and Brad Miska from Bloody Disgusting.com. We will discussed the death of the movie theatre.  While the segment wasn’t very long, I’d like to elaborate more on my thoughts…..

First off, there is something very special about going to the movies.  I have always felt that way.  Nothing beats sitting in a crowded theatre and sharing a common experience.  That is just something you can’t get at home regardless of how fancy your home entertainment system is.  Now don’t get me wrong, I totally understand what Chris Gore was saying about rude cell phone users, expensive ticket prices, pre-film commericals…BUT I’m convinced that there are ways around this.

Here are my suggestions to better your movie-going experience:

-Carefully choose your theatre.  The Arclight has a great over 21 screening series available and certain theatres tend to have more civilized patrons than others.  Personally I gravitate toward seeing films in historic theatres any chance I can get.  I love the Vista in Silverlake, the Westwood Crest in Westwood, the Chinese in Hollywood, etc.  Finding a theatre that you like and enjoy visually can always make for a better movie going experience.

-See movies at “off” times.  Now this one can’t always be helped BUT as a rule, I try not to see things opening night.  It has been my experience that audiences can be very rowdy and behave badly the night a film opens.  I have no idea why this is.  Granted I have never had this problem at the Laemmle and Landmark theatres, but it is pretty common in other places.  Last year a friend and I decided to see all of the Best Picture nominees together on the big screen.  In order to concentrate on these films without the unruly crowds, we decided that seeing a 9:30pm show on a Monday night was ideal.  There were no crying children.  There were no teenagers on their cell phones.  There were no hooligans out to disrupt our experience.  I saw SYRIANA at the Grove on a Monday night and the theatre was packed, but it was an incredibly well behaved audience of adults. 

-People also complain that parking and ticket prices are too high.  I’ll be the first to admit this is true.  I combat the parking issue anyway by carpooling with friends.  That way we can split the parking and that at least cuts back on that expense.

-There is also the problem of theatres running commericals before the films.  Believe me, I HATE this practice.  When APOCALYPSE NOW: REDUX opened here in Los Angeles a few years ago, they showed a Sprite commerical before the film started.  The audience boooo’d and one person even threw a cup at the screen….NO it wasn’t me but I can’t say I blame the person who did it.  That having been said, I understand that theatre owners have to put food on the table like we all do and if showing commericals before the film helps them accomplish this, then while I don’t like it, I understand the reasons why.  What I’ve done to avoid this is to not attend theatres that show commericals OR I will call ahead and ask if they show commercials.  If they do, then I try to find out the time the trailers start and show up accordingly. 

I seriously think that theatre owners need to do their part to give the patrons a QUALITY film going experience.  They need to make it clear that cell phones are to be turned off and the same goes for Blackberry and Sidekicks too.  I have seen so many people recently sending text messages during films.  This is just as offensive.  First off, the devices cast a green light that is distracting and secondly—-if you are too damned busy texting people to sit through a 2 hour movie, then you don’t need to be there in the first place.  The theatre owners need to police this behavior and to keep the movie going experience free of these rude distractions. 

Personally I LOVE seeing movies at the Academy in Beverly Hills.  First off parking is free and the movies are only $5.  They also have a ton of ushers there to make sure that everyone stays in line.  Last month a lady started using her Blackberry during the film and one of the ushers was there immediately and told her to shut it off or leave.  They also strictly enfore the whole “no talking” rule during films there as well.  The Academy seems to take great pride in keeping the movie going experience as pure and undiluted as possible.  I love that. 

Right now I’m in the midst of attending the 3-D festival at the Egyptian.  People have been flying in from all over the place to attend.  There is an excitement and passion in the air at the festival.  People are just SO excited about these movies.  To me, that communal experience…that reaction….that setting….those feelings….to me is what movie going is all about.

Written by Karie (site owner) on 09/13 at 11:50 PM

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