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We Need To Stop Pretending That Going To The Movies Is A Magical Experience


Look, man, I appreciate what so many actors and filmmakers are trying to do. I understand cinema is very much at a crossroads. With a few notable exceptions, ticket sales are down, big-budget movies are not doing well at the box office, and in a post-pandemic age, streaming services are more popular than ever. I still think it’s stupid to say that cinema is dying. Saying that cinema is dying is like saying that fashion or comedies are dying. Things evolve and change. It’s been that way forever. Movie theaters will always be a thing. They may have to adjust to keep people coming back, but they won’t die. If the powers that be genuinely want to save cinema, they need to come to terms with something- Going to the movies kind of sucks nowadays.

Have you ever noticed that the only people who brag about the majesty that is going to the movies are people that live in huge markets? Yes, I'm sure if you live in New York or Los Angeles and can go to a packed theater every night, watching a movie seems like magic. That isn't the case for 99% of the country. I've seen dozens of movies in movie theaters post-pandemic, and I saw only four films worthy of being seen on a big screen with a crowd. Those movies were "West Side Story," "Spider-Man: No Way Home," "The Batman," and "Top Gun: Maverick." That's it. I enjoyed other movies but nothing that I couldn't have just watched from the comfort of my own home. I really loved Darren Aronofsky's "The Whale," but seeing Brendan Fraser act his ass off in a fat suit would've sufficed had I watched the movie from my laptop.


As I said, I go to the movies a fair amount. 90% of the time, there are probably ten people in the theater when I'm there. I've gone to movies on Friday nights where the place was 10% full. On the rare exception that the place is packed, you're sitting arm to arm with some bozo making a ton of noise as he frantically fumbles with his bag of Reese's pieces. In front of you is a row of people that won't shut the fuck up. That would be fine if you didn't have to sit through 35 minutes of lame previews, culminating in that god-awful Regal cinema ad in which they recycle famous lines from certain movies. Ain't cinema magical?



There are a lot of ways to fix the movie theater experience. Number one would be to stop making dogshit. Put out better movies, and people be more inclined to come to the cinema, but I acknowledge that Hollywood is a business, and that's probably not going to change. 

Also, fuck assigned seating at movie theaters. You should be able to sit wherever the hell you want. And please, for the love of God, limit the goddamn previews to three previews max. That includes fucking T-Mobile commercials and whatever schlock they try to sell me 45 minutes after the movie was supposed to start. I understand that Tom Cruise is on this crusade to restore cinema to its rightful place. Tom Cruise can afford to do that because Tom Cruise actually makes movies that should be seen in theaters. "Top Gun: Maverick" was worth sitting through 45 minutes of previews and sitting next to some mouth breather who shoved popcorn in his face the entire time. 

But more often than not, that's not the case. 

Next week we're going to get "Oppenheimer," which I'm sure will be one of the few exceptions to the rule that is modern cinema. Christopher Nolan is excellent, and he makes movies that deserve to be seen on the biggest screen possible. 99.9% of filmmakers are not Christopher Nolan. 99% of filmmakers aren't Steven Spielberg, either. Filmmakers have lived under the assumption for years that they are doing us a favor by putting their movies in cinemas. That's not the case. We, the consumers, are doing them a favor by going to the movies and paying to support their products. And if your product is stupid and time-consuming without a real payoff, people will be less inclined to go. Movie theaters aren't dead, but they need a facelift.