A friend of mine made a post on her blog about the decline of movie theaters. I've also seen several entertainment magazines, most notable Entertainment Weekly a few months ago, tackle this, and it's gotten me thinking about what's wrong with The Movies.
The problem is, in my opinion, most certainly not the movies themselves. It's the moviegoing experience in general. A lot of this has to do with accepted behavior in moviegoers, but some of it is the fault of the theater managers. So, while seeing a movie in a theater is an important and mostly enjoyable experience, here are some small things that take me out of a film.
Talking. Number one pet peeve ever. GAH! Don't talk. If you weren't so busy talking to your neighbor about what's going on, you wouldn't have missed that thing and you wouldn't have to lean over to said neighbor and ask what happened or what Character X just said. (Notable exception: Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Cell phones. If you're so busy and important that you can't withdraw yourself from contact with people for two hours, you're too busy to spend $10 to see a movie. Turn. the phone. off. And, for heaven's sake, do NOT pick it up to call someone. No one cares that you're sitting in the movie theater. It's not newsworthy. Really.
Kids. I have nothing against people bringing their children to see movies. However, if you haven't got them trained to not kick the seats and ask 87,000 questions during the movie, then please find a sitter. The exception to this, of course, is movies for kids, where you expect a certain energy and distraction level (and occasionally desire it). But please. Don't bring your kid to see The Passion of the Christ unless they are trained to behave like the adults around them.
Lateness. It's really not that hard to check showtimes and plan when to leave home in order to get to the movie on time. I personally feel that there should be a "late charge" at the cinema - if you come late, you have to pay 50 cents more. Or summat. If this were live theater or a symphony concert, you wouldn't be allowed in if you were late. Unless you were going to the Lord of the Rings Symphony. :P
Adverts. Oh. My. God. It didn't bother me so much at first. I actually quite liked the Coca-Cola commercials with "DeLuxe347" ("It's De-Luxe, son! DE-LUXE! Superstar Extraordinaire, get it right!") But for the most part, they're dead annoying. Would I like to buy the world a Coke? No thanks. Do I care about the insignificant comings and goings of the lives of Elementary Paper Bag Crafts? Nope. Do I Wanna Fanta? Not even if hell froze over. And TNT? I'm actually less likely to tune into your next movie-of-the-month if I see a behind-the-scenes featurette in front of my movie. What happened to the days of just playing some music softly over the speakers as people were sitting down?
Trailers. Okay, I understand that the studios want to pimp the other movies they're releasing. But could we please have trailers for movies that the audience of the film that's playing might be interested in? And, um, it's really annoying to see a cool trailer and then find out that the film doesn't come out for another year.
Bad movies on half a dozen screens. Yeah, this one probably won't ever change. But it galls me to look at the showtime page, see ZERO times for Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang and a bajillion showtimes for Doom.
Of course, all this won't stop me going to the movies. But I think it has stunted many people's interest in leaving their homes to go see them. People just don't have respect for the experience, which is a shame because movies take a lot of money and a lot of work to make, and even more money and hard work to actually get on screens across the country.