THE CINEMA VISIT THAT TRULY SUCKED… BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
I’ve just watched the episode of THE SIMPSONS where Homer gets arrested for illegally downloading big Hollywood blockbuster-type movies and exhibiting them to his friends and neighbours in his back garden because the cost of going to see films in the cinema is prohibitive.
Now, I’ve never downloaded a movie illegally in my life and, to tell you the truth, I don’t think I’d know where to begin. But I’ll tell you something else for nothing. Going to the cinema is not what it used to be and, in some ways, it’s nearly not worth your while- and your money- any more.
I recently went to the cinema to see this year’s Big Summer Blockbuster, JURASSIC WORLD. The film itself was fine. There’s no problem there. The problem is all the other little irritations which now form part and parcel of going to the pictures and which, taken together, all add up to one giant pain in the ass- yes, I said ass!- for your average cinema-goer.
The first major annoyance is the price of the ticket. My friends and I chose to go in the middle of the afternoon, so we were charged nine euros and fifty cents each. Had we elected to go at night and maybe watch a movie in 3D, it would have been considerably more, just because it’s night-time and they give you a pair of crappy black plastic glasses that are scarcely worth holding on to afterwards.
In the episode of THE SIMPSONS I was just watching, it cost Homer something in the region of seventy-two bucks to treat the family to the new RADIOACTIVE MAN movie. The joke was that watching the film in various different ‘sophisticated’ ways would cost him even more. How could a family of five, say, afford to do this on a regular basis? The answer, of course, is that they can’t, and there’s most assuredly no joke there.
Two half-empty bags of Skittles set my friends and I back a fiver. A bloody fiver! We’re not big popcorn eaters, in fact I loathe the stuff (unless it’s toffee popcorn!) so we saved ourselves a packet by not buying any. The people in front of us were buying some, though, along with large Cokes. It was costing them enough to buy a whole bunch of DVDs from a second-hand shop to watch at home. It’s daylight robbery. I know that cinemas need to make money, but surely there must be other ways besides blatantly ripping off the public they’re supposed to serve…?
The cinema was only half-full. Where have all the hordes of movie-goers gone? There was a time, and not so long ago either, when the place would have been jam-packed on a Saturday afternoon. Where was everyone? At home watching pirated movies online, or can they just not afford to go nowadays? I’m guessing that the experience of going to the cinema is just not good enough value for some people any more, and I can’t say I blame them. I feel the same.
The pre-movie ads were interminable. I mean, they seemed to go on forever. Some of them were so long and complicated that we thought they were the start of the movie, or at least a trailer. And why so many bloody ads? I know they’re the cinema’s bread-and-butter, but still…!
Why are people always trying to sell us things? Mostly crap we don’t need? Nearly every TV show has a ‘sponsor’ now, which we’re forced to see every time there’s an ad break, and most shows have an ad break every fifteen minutes. It’s like we’re living in a world of commercials. It’s enough to drive a sane person nuts.
Ironically, the one ad they didn’t show at the cinema was the one where everyone’s told to switch off their phones and shut the f**k up during the movie. Even if it had exhibited this little public information notice, I still would have been disturbed by the constant glare of smartphones and people yammering and people wandering around looking for seats after the bloody film had started. It was a nearly-empty theatre! How hard could it have been to find an empty seat? And why pay nearly a tenner for a cinema ticket if you’re going to spend the whole time goggling at your phone? People are just plain stupid at times.
After the ads, there followed trailers for the most appalling-looking superhero films, with lasers and guns and robots and other pointless things that nobody needs to see. What happened to real films, with a plot and proper dialogue, where real people talked to each other and did real things and afterwards you went home feeling like you’d really seen something worth seeing? Everything’s 3D nowadays too and you can’t even watch a rubbish film without purchasing a pair of stupid glasses to see them with.
Do I sound like grumpy old Grampa Simpson? You know what? I don’t even care. Films today are a load of old tripe, and the people who watch them are turnip-heads and melon-heads who could do with a good dose of Smedler’s Powder to put them back on the straight and narrow. (No, I don’t know what Smedler’s Powder is. Ask Grampa Simpson.)
After the trailers came more ads. Jesus wept. I nearly did. Why wouldn’t they just play the damn movie? I wanted to set off a chant of ‘START THE MOVIE…!’ like Homer Simpson did in that episode where he’s chased out of the cinema by ushers wielding cinema-sized Kit-Kat sticks. I felt Homer’s pain. I felt every last bit of it. We must have been in our seats nearly a full half-hour waiting for the film to start, my friends and I. By the time it did start, I was so aggravated that I nearly didn’t enjoy it.
As to the future, well, I’ll still go to the pictures because a film blogger who refuses to set foot inside a cinema is no use to anyone. But I’m going to have to be ultra-discerning about the films I go to see because I know I wouldn’t be able to tolerate all that nonsense more than maybe once every few weeks, or when there’s something coming up that I’m dying to see. The days of going to the cinema willy-nilly or on impulse, ‘just to see what’s on,’ are pretty much gone for me. And that makes me sad. Sad and angry. Someone pass me a Kit-Kat, quick…!
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
2) A WRITER’S JOURNEY
3) ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA
4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
5) CANCER BALLS
6) CATCH OF THE DAY
7) FIFTY FILTHY-DIRTY SEX-POEMS YOU MUST READ BEFORE I DIE.
8) FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
9) THE DEVIANTS
10) VISITING DAY