A proposal to jam cell phone reception is the latest in a long string of ideas the movie industry has come up with to unsuccessfully attempt to bring people back to the theater. Our local Cinemark now has signs up that children under a certain age (I can’t remember what age) will not be admitted with their parents to R rated movies after 6p.Now don't get me wrong, I agree that people should leave the screening room to talk on their cell phones, but I think “jamming” is a bit much. What about emergencies? I propose for the most part, movie patrons are self-enforcing on that behavior anyway. My experience is if someone starts some conversation, someone will yell at them to take it outside. They usually get embarrassed and hang up. I just despise the notion that because 1% of people can’t behave themselves, the rest of us have to be punished.
And I like the proposal by our local theater because if you're taking your 5 year old to see Shaft at 10p, you should probably have your head examined and subsequently be flogged. Yes, in case you're wondering, we actually witnessed that. My Mother and I also watched 2 women bring their 4 young children into the South Park movie on opening night. I just wanted to slap them for not doing any research because about 2 minutes into the opening number, those folks were “gone daddy gone”.
The bottom line on the kid rule is that people who have children need to get it through their thick skulls that other people don’t think their child is nearly as cute, smart, or creative as they do. Parents who allow their sprogs to roam the aisles in the dark during the show are not suitable to own goldfish, let alone care for another human being. Some random misbehaving little monster bothers the hell out of the rest of us and needs to have his or her little bottom thwacked. Ahem…but I digress.
Here’s another thought. Most folks don’t like the fact that we’re forced to sit through 30 minutes of commercials and advertising before we are allowed to see the product we paid to see. I pay to see a movie, I don’t pay to see the latest soft drink ad. I don’t mind movie previews, but I think there should be less of them. I remember once upon a time, you’d get 2, maybe 3. Now, it is another 20 minutes in the theater. If I have to get up to pee in the middle of the movie I paid for because my first hour was spent with commercials and previews, I’m pissed in more ways than one.
But back to the original subject at hand, the decline in movie attendance. I guess I don't understand why this is so difficult. Theaters and the movie industry in general should take notes because you don’t need high-dollar consultants and focus groups to solve your problems. Here are some real solutions, all for free.
I am going to start at the root of the problem. The movie industry, for the most part, makes crappy, unoriginal movies. People honestly don't care with empty-headed, America hating, millionaire celebrities think about the state of the world, and we’re sick of having their thoughtless ideology force fed to us despite a myriad of what they think are subversive means.
News flash #1: everybody else is not narrow-minded and intolerant, the movie industry types are.
News flash #2: actors don’t do anything particularly important or life altering.
They entertain us, and that is their job. They make a shit load of money pretending to be other people for a living. What they do doesn’t make them important or brilliant, it makes them posers. The folks on the other side of the camera enable the posers to hone their craft of imitation in one way or another. That’s all. Deal with it, shut the hell up, and produce something of quality that serves its primary purpose of actually entertaining me.
Now, moving on…theater attendance is low because theaters charge too much to see the movies. I can wait a couple of months and watch the same crappy movie on DVD from the comfort of my living room. Our monthly Netflix subscription costs less than 1 Saturday evening at some dirty theater. Plus, I have better, cheaper food at my house--and I can enjoy a fine adult beverage of my choice as part of my movie experience.
OK, this one is for all of you “but it’s about the movie experience” types. Let’s just say for a second, that I really want to “experience” a movie on the giant screen with the surround sound. It costs the theater the same amount of money whether they’re showing a movie at 10a on Sunday, or 7p Saturday. So, why in the hell would I spend the $7-10 each for movie tickets to crowd around with the generally inconsiderate, smelly populace when I can see the same movie on Sunday around lunchtime for $3? Oh, and there’s almost nobody there. Yeah, I know supply, demand, and theaters still somehow behave as if they’re the only entertainment game in town. And yet, people still aren’t showing up. I remember a time when movies would stay in theaters for months because people wanted to see them over and over. Those days are gone faster than the 2 ladies with their kids at the South Park movie.