What is the worst part of going to the theater?
Back in 1971 and 1972 I was in the Philippines. The Philippines has some of the most beautiful movie palaces I have ever seen. When I was a kid we had a theater back home called “The Oriental” which was a showcase. Occasionally they would open the balcony and I spent quite a few Saturdays watching double features. But in Manila, there were huge decorated buildings. One theater had a dancing waters fountain in front of the screen, and in between films they would close the curtains and run the water show. There were theaters with stars that twinkled in the sky and clouds that would fly overhead. There was gold trim and velvet seats and curtains. It was amazingly beautiful. Now this wasn’t 1940 or anything, this was 1972. In the US in those years they were tearing down the theaters and building the mall based cinder block megaplexes. But in the Philippines it was still prime time for theaters. Now when I was a kid, even, we would look up the starting time for the movie in the paper, and show up 10 or 15 minutes before to have time for popcorn and soda and to find a good seat. But, though I’ve heard it used to be this way here, in the Philippines nobody paid any attention to the time a movie started. They would walk in at any time in the middle of the movie, and then when it was over, after a brief intermission to sell Jujubees, the movie would start again, and you’d stay till the point where you caught up to where you came in, and then we’d leave. The phrase “This is where I came in” came from this practice. But in the Philippines a visit to the theater was a big deal, and it was comfortable and air conditioned, and because you could come in any time and leave anytime, you could stay and watch the whole movie again and again and again. For one price you could watch the film many times.
In the middle between the movies they would play the Philippine national anthem, a trailer or two and a newsreel and a cartoon. Then they started throwing in commercials. Not trailers for coming attractions, but real honest commercials. Now I understood commercials on TV because TV was free and somebody had to pay the bill. But when I paid for a movie ticket, I felt it was a really dirty trick to make you watch commercials while you are a captive audience. That sucked. That isn’t my choice for the worst part though.
Â Now, a movie starts at 7:10 PM. For a half hour before we watch ads. But at 7:10 we get a reminder to buy refreshments and to turn off our cell phone. Then 12, 13, 14, 15 movie trailers run. That takes 20 minutes or more. There are so many damn trailers that by the time they are done, you can’t remember anything you saw. Try to remember that film that you said, “I want to see that” when 13 more trailers run, and you cannot remember it. It goes on and on and on. Why do they overdo that so much? Is it $$$? Or is it just to let the stragglers come in? Well, perhaps, but people now depend on the fact that 7:10 means 7:35 and they don’t show up till 7:30.
But that’s not what I hate the most about the movie experience.
I can remember when great classic moves STARTED with a Logo for the studio. Leo growls, or the word Universal spins around the world. Then there’s a title. “Gone With the Wind” followed by “Starring” and about 2 or 3 names at the most. Maybe (but probably not) there’s a “Featuring”, or “With”, or “Introducing” and one more name. But do you know what comes up at the end of the movie? Two words. “The End”.
Watch TMC or AMC and catch the ending of one of those great old films like Casablanca or The Ten Commandments and at the end, there are only 2 words.
At some point they got the cute idea of saving the “Starring” till the end of the movie and having “Closing Credits”
Then they got longer and longer and longer? Does anyone know who started this and when, but it comes to the point where if you’re watching a film on DVD, and the counter tells you there’s 30 minutes left, the movie’s over man. There is up to a half hour of listings of the “people” involved in making the picture. We have the entire crew including the carpenters, the set painters, the security guards. There’s the people who arrange the flowers on the catering table as well as the person who folds the napkins and the drivers of the limos that bring the cast members to the site. On and on and on and on and on it goes with the most minuscule jobs being listed page after page after page. How about the one who made copies of the script on a copier, and the guy who made the copier, and the one who delivered it to the studio. Nobody can pay any attention to that, so the moment they start, people start leaving. So then they started bribing us by showing a secret scene at the end so you’ll sit through all the nonsense. Then they started putting bloopers in during the credits. Anything to make you stay and watch it. Sometimes there are 2 or 3 surprise scenes tacked in. But all you can think about is how much you need a restroom at this point, and if you stay and stand in the exit aisle till the movie ends and everyone buy you is gone and there is no “Easter Egg” at the end, but just a blank screen.
This is what I hate the most. The movie is the little bit tucked in between the 15 previews and the 30 minutes of names you can’t pronounce. Why do they do this, and why do we stand for it? Is it vanity for the folks whose names appear up there? I’m not sure, but I wish they would go back to the old day.
Meanwhile, before you go to the film, go to imdb.com to look up whether there is any “crazy credits” at the end that you “HAVE” to see. Then when you get out of the theater and you want to know who that guy is who played the painter, or where the beach scenes were filmed, head to IMDB.com on your cell phone while you’re waiting for the Valet to bring your car around.
What do you do? I used to try to read the credits out of respect, but many years ago I got fed up and quit. Now, though I feel it’s disrespectful to the actor, director, and producers to walk out, the moment the music starts, I walk out. What do you think?
That’s my opinion anyway.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â === EdÂ ===