Why Going to the Movies Sucks
I recently went to the movies for the first time since July, when I subjected myself to the multi-million dollar banality that was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a film that is a sprawling epic about sentient apes that clash with the moderately sentient inhabitants of a post-ape-pocalyptic (you see what I did there? And to think that you don’t even have to pay for this!) San Francisco, many of whom, namely Kirk Acevedo’s character, Carver, have inexplicably forgotten about that somewhat notable news event from ten years prior—that’s ten years, folks—when a band of fucking apes destroyed the Golden Gate Bridge.
The point is: Why is this character so surprised to find talking apes in the woods north of San Francisco when this news story happened only ten years ago?! Carver’s incredulity at these talking apes occurs some ten minutes into the movie, and it was at that point that I settled in for the remaining 2 ½ hours of pointless mayhem interceded only by the laughable appearance of apes riding horseback.
Also of note: an invading horde of apes would be preferable to the mass of bearded hipsters who presently inhabit the Mission and Haight-Ashbury districts of San Francisco.
So after a six-month hiatus from cinema as a result, the siren call of another sprawling epic in the form of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar drew me once again to the theater in order to shell out another $15 in order to see this film on an IMAX screen. And while this film lived up to all of my expectations and nearly brought tears to my eyes to see what is essentially the interior of Arthur C. Clarke’s interstellar spacecraft Rama rendered so beautifully onscreen near the film’s end, the theatergoing experience prior to the start of the film was enough to sour me on movies for another six-to-nine months.
Because when I pay $15 dollars in order to sit next to people who have only a fleeting grasp of oral hygiene and an ostensible hypothyroid condition that renders their breathing, along with every other bodily movement including their attempts to noiselessly pass gas in a crowded theater, labored, I don’t expect to also be bombarded with an endless parade of commercials prior to the film’s start.
Guess what, AMC? I paid $15 to not see any fucking commercials, and you don’t get to hide behind the fact that it’s prior to show time and it helps to make the minutes pass more quickly or that the production value of the commercials mimic those of a community college film class final project.
Why is it that every last quiet space of life must now be filled with loud and abrasive advertisements? We do not need to be forever bombarded with inducements to purchase shitty products.
The quiet stillness of a movie theater prior to the film’s beginning in one of the more sacrosanct elements of going to the movies. The flat, noiseless vacancy when you first enter the theater as the lights are up and the empty screen sits silent and still is all part of the foreplay of attending movies in a theater. It’s what makes the moment when the lights go down and a hush descends upon the muted conversations just as the first flickers of life appear on the screen the moviegoing equivalent of ejaculating onto your lover’s back after the thrilling ecstasy of anticipation.
At least, that’s how moviegoing was. At most theaters today, in particular those roadside shit houses known as AMC movie theaters, you enter the theater only to find the screen filled with commercials for soda, shitty network TV police dramas, and laser hair removal, making the moviegoing experience the equivalent of prematurely ejaculating all over your ex-lover’s photo albums as you try to reach for a tissue on the bed stand while sitting alone in your studio apartment.
And by the way, AMC, playing commercials as you enter the theater only conditions people to talk louder prior to the show’s beginning, which is somewhat counterproductive considering that most of the slack-jawed fecalpheliac inbreds inhabiting most movie theaters nowadays regard the film as an inconvenient distraction from their ongoing conversation, which they maintain throughout the duration of the film between shoveling mouthfuls of buttered starch into their gaping maws.
Furthermore—and I am not making this up—this particular theater that I attended proceeded to show a computer animated short featuring talking M&M candies prior to the show’s start that was all about how people should turn off their cell phones and respect the silence of the movie theater. This wouldn’t be remarkable except that this was immediately followed by an advertisement for AMC theaters that was all about how to follow them on Twitter, and the sample tweets that were a part of this ad included selfies taken by couples at the movies with a flash while the movie was playing!
In sum: turn off your phone and don’t disturb others unless you’re going to tweet about AMC, in which case, please do not forget to include the appropriate hashtag.
Way to go, AMC, you’ve ruined going to the movies more than M. Night Shyamalan and Tyler Perry combined, and so I guess I’ll make it another six months before I venture to spend another $15 to be disappointed, considering I can spend less than half that to be disappointed on an OkCupid date.