OTHER THINGS IN THE WORLD THAN MUSIC > Art and Literature, Movies and TV

Going to the movies versus watching them at home

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Bill Binkelman:
Over the last two years or so, I find more and more that I don't take the time to go see movies in theaters much any more, except for blockbusters and even not so much those any more. My TV is modest (37 inch LCD 1080i/120mHz), so it's not like I get that great an experience watching at home. And here in Mpls, you can still see movies on first run, at matinees, for as cheap as $5-$6. I can't really explain what is driving this shift in my behavior.

I am shocked at the big action flicks I haven't seen in theaters recently (which is how these films should be seen, right?), when I used to see ALL "big event" pictures that way. For example, I didn't go see Captain America, or X-Men: First Class, or Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, to name just a few of the summer biggies. I just can't seem to get motivated to get in the car, drive the 20 minutes or so to theater, get there at 10 minutes prior to get a decent seat (I'm picky that way), etc. I'd rather wait and get it at redbox or through netflix. I know when I upgrade the set to a 50 incher, which I hope to do next year sometime, I will be even less inclined, since then my blu-ray player will really make a difference.

I also admit that with how rude people are now (cell phone conversations, talking loudly during the movie, coming in late, bringing bratty kids, talking back to the screen), that also enters into the equation.

So, how many of you here have switched to watching more movies at home and less in the theaters? Am in the minority or are more folks opting for not going out but staying in and waiting until the films get on DVD or streaming?

Anodize DB:
I, too, have noticed similar changes in my movie-going habits, for some of the same, but also other, reasons. For my wife & I, it's more about not having the time or being able to find adequate baby-sitting that is really the obstacle, for the most part.

However, I'd augment my response by saying that most of the 'major' Hollywood films released in the past couple of years (I'm being kind here) have, frankly, sucked. Most everything has truly degenerated to sequels, prequels, endless remakes (christ, there's yet *another* Three Musketeers bowing soon; what does that make, roughly 5, 8 versions of the same damn story???), variations, in short, crashingly few things that are original, or at least seem worthwhile enough to plunk down $22 (!!!).

As a massive film lover, and writer/critic thereof, this situation does sadden me, and, as a result, I too have more or less gone the on-demand route via my Fios options when I want to watch something. It's still a choice, though, and even then the choices seem nil; I know there are numerous films out there I regret missing (and I'm not just talking about the big event films, most of which this year were *hideous*; I loathe the Transformers series—pretty much detest anything Michael Bay, one of the great hacks of our time, touches anyway—but sorry I missed the X-Men prequel, which is available on-demand now), but, again, time constraints made seeing them about impossible.

All of the above being stated, I have every intention of seeing the upcoming Thing prequel... :)

I used to go to the movies at least once per week, sometimes twice.

6-7 years ago I got a fairly modest, hulking HDTV, back in the days before streaming HD and BluRay, and plain old DVD was enough to convince me to give up the movie theater. I'd rather see a movie months after the theatrical release, if I can avoid rude people talking, texting, kids playing, and all the kind of distracting crap Bill mentions above. I still went to the theater every couple of months for major "event" movies.

A few years ago I upgraded to a 1080p front projection TV and BluRay. There's no "tube" so you can project the picture as big as you want, within the limits of the size of your room. I think our screen is something like 140 inches, and it makes for a movie-viewing experience just a notch below the sounds and visuals of the movie theater. Once you factor in the audience distractions mentioned above, the ability to pause and rewind, and best of all the ability to sit there with food and drink of your choice, the home theater experience to me is far more enjoyable than "going to the movies."

Now I'd say we only bother going out for the truly big blockbusters, maybe once or twice per year. Even then, we try to avoid showtimes or theaters where we know we'll have a problem with screen-talkers.

I could really be perfectly happy never going to a movie theater again, except for maybe a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show, for nostalgia's sake or something like that. I'd be far more likely to go to a little arthouse and watch a Cronenberg retrospective or some old Samuel Fuller than to want to cram into a Regal Cinemas theater, pay $25 for snacks, and then sit through a half hour of commercials.

I'm always more happy with watching movies at home with a good beer or wine and interesting snack and watching it when I want and with only a select few people and my dog Ginny and stopping it if we want and starting again when we want and continuing tomorrow if we want. I don't mind cinemas too much but if I get uncomfortable sitting so long in the same way I have no options, and I think a good movie is also great on a smaller TV if its a good one. I don't need overblown sound levels or a huge screen or popcorn and coke and people talking and choking on the popcorn and their kids whining and mobiles going on and off and the driving there and back. Heck I don't even like movies much ... unless they are bloody good and worth my time.

To me going to the movie theater to catch a film was always a social or date event. My friends and I would all meet up and catch a flick together. As we've grown older most of my friends who I use to go to the movies with have either gotten married so they are less social, or moved away. My current girl of interest (not sure if  she qualifies as a girlfriend yet) is also a musician, so we end up mostly going to music performances, mostly classical music recitals (her main interest) or small ensembles. Actually our first "date" was to see a film, but that was because it was a film that I did the music.  ;D

Like the rest of you I watch most of my movies at home on my 54" TV in my living room, mostly via fios, with the occasional DVD or blueray.


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