OK ... I pay the price to get in. Even though it takes my breath a bit, the big theaters in the big towns have me hooked. While I enjoy a movie at the Apollo in Princeton — you just can’t beat the price and the convenience — I will venture to the bigger theaters to see movies that are known to have a lot of special effects, great music, etc.
But every time I open my purse to pay, inside I’m thinking ... “I am clearly in the wrong business!” When the change back from my $10 bill — if there is an change — is less than a dollar, I find myself reeling — and I don’t mean the reel-to-reel movies of yesteryear either.
Did I mention the concession stand prices? The teenagers behind the counter scooping up popcorn and filling up giant soda glasses must be the brunt of so many complaints, that I almost feel sorry for them. They look at me wide-eyed, wondering if I’m going to complain about spending a $20 bill on a snack that I’ll never finish — no kidding, who can eat all that popcorn, and if I did drink all that soda, I’d spend the majority of the movie in the restroom instead of in front of the screen. Eating at the theater is like eating at the airport ... surprising what they’ll charge a captive audience.
But then I walk down that aisle, and I make my way into the darkened room, find the perfect seat and pray nobody taller than me will sit in front of me — at my height, you know the chances of that are slim. Soon, the lights are dimmed, and I settle into one of those rocking theater chairs — wishing they would turn the heat up a bit because it’s always cold.
While I miss the cartoons from years ago, I do love the previews. While I know I will never remember the names of the movies they’ve previewed that I want to see, I still watch in the anticipation of what film I’ll be waiting for next. I always think I should take a piece of paper with me to jot down those titles, so when I check out what’s playing in a few weeks/months ... I can physically match my list to what’s at the movie. I never do it, so I rely on my friends and colleagues to tell me what movie they think I’ll like.
And then it happens ... with popcorn on my shirt and a drink I’ll never finish in the cupholder on the arm of the chair ... the $30 I’ve just spent for this luxury is forgotten. The music gets louder, and all of a sudden, I am consumed in the feature I’ve come to see.
No kidding. I absolutely love it because for the duration of the film, it’s just me and the folks on the screen ... No cell phone ringing, no deadlines to meet, no worldly worries, no concerns, well ... no anything other than the story at hand — a story which I can watch, yet one I don’t have to participate in. That’s right ... I don’t have to solve any problems the people on the screen are having; I don’t have to answer the phone that is ringing in the movie or answer the door; I don’t have to dodge any bullets — real or proverbial. I just have to watch.
OK, I have fallen asleep in a few movies (a $30 nap always makes me mad), but by and large, I’m being held captive by the folks on the screen, and I absolutely love it. That $30 seems rather paltry for the luxury of jumping into another world, where I don’t have to participate.
This Sunday is the 85th Academy Awards. I’ve seen three of the movies nominated for Best Picture. I’m hoping “Argo” walks away with the Oscar, but quite frankly, who wins doesn’t really matter to me ... Because when I walk out the door and throw away that half-eaten bag of popcorn and that half-drank cold drink — and realize I’ve been transported to another world for a couple of hours, I think I’m clearly the winner ... even if it does cost $30.
BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.