Friday, April 1, 2011

How I Spent All My Grocery Money at the Movie Theater

I have a five-year-old who has been bombarded by commercials for a certain holiday film. Last night before bed I asked her what she wanted to do with her day off from school, and she said, “Go see Hop!” I supposed I could spare a Friday afternoon to see a movie with my daughter about the Easter Bunny who poops jelly beans. Why not?
Aside from the fact that Hollywood is generally not making great movies anymore, I postulated several theories about why I dislike the theater these days. But first, there are the obvious reasons people don’t frequent the theaters like they used to: home theaters are better, more comfortable, you can eat and drink anything, you can talk during films (much to the dismay of your friends and family), and if you happen to be some sort of technology enthusiast, you may even have a 3-D TV. Hooray for you! These things are all the bonus points for watching movies at home.
I used to go see movies by myself all the time. It was my favorite thing to do on my days off (back when I had those). I would get in my car and drive to any movie theater, walk in, and see whatever was playing closest to the time that I got there. Like I said in my previous post, I will pretty much watch anything, and watching horrible movies by myself kept me from feeling somehow responsible for the awfulness of the movie to whoever I might be with. On these solitary excursions I didn’t really frequent the snack bar because I think popcorn, as a food, is a waste of my time, and the only carbonated beverages I like are beer and bubbly. After my experience this afternoon I realize that I saved myself at least a thousand dollars.
I have never been more proud as a mother than today when my daughter chose, out of all the candy in the concession stand, fruit snacks and a small bottle of water—and a mini pepperoni pizza, but whatever. All that with a bag of popcorn cost me $26. For that kind of money I could have bought myself some amazing small plates at some posh Seattle Gastropub. Or I could have bought a nice bottle of bubbles. Or four happy meals at McDonalds. It’s all about perspective. Needless to say, I shouldn’t have let the girl talk me into the bigger bag of popcorn for a dollar.
Today I purchased my tickets online, Fandango style. We spent extra for the RPX show. There went another $25 cha-ching in my ear. I had no idea what that meant. Did that mean 3-D? Was there something magical that happened in this “Premium” theater? No. The seat was so big that my daughter couldn’t get the folded seat to stay down. She either sat with her body folded in half, legs up in the air, or she sat on the top of the seat still folded up. More than once I rescued her from falling off or falling in. And, it turns out, the premium part of the show is that the seats occasionally vibrate. That was an exciting addition to this confusing Christmas-like version of the Easter Bunny story. (Yes, he flies away in an egg shaped sleigh pulled by 50 tiny chickens, from Easter Island where tiny chicken minions work to make all the candy for Easter morning. Except the jelly beans, which apparently are Easter bunny excrement).
The volume in the theater was turned up so loud I swear I felt blood trickling out of my ear. During the previews I thought perhaps one of the high school kids, working whatever kind of buttons they push up there in the box, had made a mistake. I considered leaving the theater, not just for my kid or all the others who were crouched in their seats holding their ears, for my own sake. I’m getting too old for rock concert decibels when I am not actually at a rock concert. I have to conserve the little hearing I have left. But, just like any show, it’s so loud that you get used to it after a little while. But that doesn’t make it awesome.
So I guess the point here is that I love my kid, I wanted her to have a great time at the movies like I did when I was a kid. We actually went to the same movie theater that I saw The Little Mermaid in when I was 8 (not on purpose, I have just lived in this city forever). I’m not really sure what she thought, but when we came home she asked, “Why did we see that movie in the theater?”  

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