Memories of my childhood are often wrapped around fond recollections of the times my family and I would go the movies and enjoy watching our favorite cartoons and comic book characters come to life on a huge screen. The sounds, the laughter, random chatter in the peanut gallery while the loud, almost harmonious crinkling of paper as patrons stuffed their faces with popcorn rang throughout the cineplex. Those were the days. But those were also the days when I was a kid and I wasn’t aware of the uglier side of the movie-going process. Here are few of the reasons why I no longer go to the movies.
Money. The price of movie tickets is nothing to dismiss, given that the average price ranges between $7.50 and $8.50, not including the price of tickets for 3D movies (close to $15.00), which contributed to the uptick in the price of average movie tickets. It is expensive enough for a college student with a fixed income, so I can’t imagine what it must cost to take an entire family out for a night of family cinematic adventures. Tickets alone would cost close to $50, and then factor in food and drinks, which is sure to put a serious dent in your wallet. All in all, I could save myself a lot of money by simply waiting for my favorite movie to come out on DVD, enabling me to pinch pennies and enjoy the movie without all of this:
Noise. I don’t know when I became my parents, but I assume it was around the time I went to see I Am Sam at the movies and the one thing that bugged me nonstop was that everyone around me was chattering. And not just the chattering bugged me. Phones beeping constantly (Weren’t you told to turn off your phone before the movie started?), loud chewing, children crying, and that one person screaming louder than anyone else during a mundane part of a scary movie. The one time I went to see A Nightmare On Elm Street at the movies, I had to walk out on account of my blood boiling at how noisy it was in there. And sometimes it wasn’t even the moviegoers that bugged me but the movies themselves. After two deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively, loud noises really began to bother me. So when there was a drop in movie’s score, like during a scary moment, I would have to anticipate the moment and cover my ears because when the music kicked back in with the dramatic flare, I knew it would cause anxiety. So, yeah… noise is a big reason why I stopped going to the movies.
Age. Although only the ripe “old” age of 29, the magic of the movie-going experience is all but over for me. It’s still nice to get together with friends and hang out, but we don’t need a movie theater to find entertainment when quaint settings are an even better environment for having memorable moments. Also, as I get older, much of what made movies fun and interesting are like a serious medium to me that I can dissect and analyze. When I was younger, all I cared about was that the Green Power Ranger had the best weapon. Now, I know his name, what he’s been up to, and that all of the scenes from the television show were cut and pasted from the Japanese version of Power Rangers. There are moments when a movie comes out that is so good, that it causes me to revert to my days of wide-eyed innocence and ooh and ahh over how cool the special effects, wishing I had Nightwolf’s power. I’d never have to buy a car… just poof back and forth.
However, if I had to be brutally, truthfully, and wholeheartedly honest, the main reason why I don’t go to the movies anymore, the reason is as clear as day:
Online Media. The internet has made us some lazy people and we know it. I can get all of my work done via a laptop and a wireless connection. I go to school online, I shop online, I work online, and — as you probably guessed — watch movies online. Streaming media has all but killed the movie-going experience because gone are the days of waiting in long lines for movies. Online platforms like Hulu, Netflix, Redbox and even YouTube allow normal moviegoers to plop down on their couch, pay for the movie of their choice through a subscription or paid rentals, and simply watch from the comfort of their own living room or any other device that can play movies (Smartphone, tablet, gaming console, etc.). I can’t speak for anyone else, but I no longer feel an incentive to rush out and see a movie as soon as it comes out; I’d rather wait until it came out on Movies On Demand or online. Many cable companies like Time Warner offer On Demand services for movies and shows, so the customer can watch at his or her leisure.
So those are my reasons for why I feel that movie theaters are becoming a thing of the past. The internet has made our lives more convenient at the expense of many of our daily routines. It makes me wonder how future youth will look at movies and if technology is robbing them of the fun times they could have going out with the family and seeing their favorite characters on the big screen. But, I guess that as long as we as humans have a desire for social gathering and interactions, movie theaters are not going anywhere and as much as I hate to admit it, there are some experiences that not even the greatest of streaming media can replicate, like being awed along with dozens of others by the stunning visuals of something that Pixar just released in IMAX. I’ll pass, though, but let’s not deprive the youth of going out and having that “movie-going experience” we had.