I used to go to the movies all the time. I grew up in the era back when there were little neighborhood cinemas all over the place. The Chelten Theatre was minutes away from the house I grew up in. The Colony and the Marquette were about a half hour drive away. The four Evergreen screens were pretty nice (although I remember when it was just two screens), but my all time favorite was River Oaks 1. I have a LOT of fond memories of seeing films in these now-closed cinemas.

This continued through my college years. My personal best for the most movies I saw in as short a time as possible was one weekend in the early ’80s when I saw seven films in a single weekend (two Friday, three Saturday, two more on Sunday).

Not any more. I hardly ever go anymore. Why?

1) Cost. If I have to pay exorbitant prices just to get into your cinema, I demand to have an enjoyable experience.

2) Further cost. The concession prices are outrageous. But the kids want their snacks, so the price of concessions drives the moviegoing cost up to the point where my demand has shifted. I now demand to be guaranteed an enjoyable experience.

3) Idiots who insist on using their phones after the movie has started. If you’ve paid as much as I’ve paid to be here watching this film, why aren’t you bothering to pay attention to it? And are you really dumb enough that you don’t understand how much your phone screen lights up a darkened auditorium?

4) Idiots who insist on talking after the movie has started. Shut up. Just. Shut. Up. If you need to say something, whisper. If you need to talk (or worse yet, take a phone call), then do us the favor of leaving the auditorium and come back after you’re done. This is just common sense, and I remember learning to behave this appropriately all the way back in grade school.

5) Idiots who have not properly trained their crotchfruit. The two examples that I encounter most often are moronic spawn who will not shut up or who continue to put their feet on and/or kick the back of my chair. There are occasional parents and guardians out there who demand (and force) an end to this behavior as soon as it happens. Bless their souls. But alas, there are far too many more who are either proud of their little brats’ incessant drool-filled yammering or just too bloody scared to publicly dress down their precious snowflakes when the snot goblins truly deserve it.

I’m rather proud of the home theatre system I have in my living room. It’s not any ground-breaking top of the line system, but it’s good enough for me and my family. The MSRP of a new blu-ray is comparable to what I would pay to get the family into a decent modern cinema. If I find it on sale, it costs even less than the cinema. We can eat whatever food we want without having to pay wallet-busting prices. And the only other ignorant or rude audience members that could interfere with our enjoyment of the film would be the ones that I invite to watch it with us.

Ever since I set that home theatre system up, I’ve been going to fewer and fewer movies every year. I hardly see anything on the big screen anymore.

And now … here’s the nail in the coffin, and the motivation for me to rant about this tonight:

Staff at cinemas owned by the Regal Entertainment Group will now be searching backpacks, packages and bags. The exact quote on their notice is, “To ensure the safety of our guests and employees, backpacks and bags of any kind are subject to inspection prior to admission.”

No. Fuck that shit. When I showed that page to my son, he hung his head in disbelief and muttered foul epithets as he walked away.

I will willingly go through a security screening at an airport. If you are now going to add a security screening to my moviegoing experience, you can go fuck yourself. So I will never go to a Regal Theatre again. And if the other chains are stupid enough to follow suit, then I’ll keep on enjoying my own home theatre and the only things I will be missing out on are frustration, annoyances, and overpriced mediocre food.

Advertisements