Monday, July 24, 2006

“I’m gonna pick my baby up / And take her to the picture show”, part 2

If you haven't read part 1, you can find it here.

As many of you have guessed in your comments to part 1, the problem with going to the pictures these days is the same as the problem with many other pursuits: other fucking people. I probably shouldn't complain too much; from what I hear of cinema-going in Hong Kong, it would make even the rowdiest UK cinema seem like tea at the Ritz, but still... If I had my way, these would be the rules for cinema-going:

1. No admission after the Coming Attractions trailers have started. No exceptions.

2. No food allowed. No, not popcorn either: it smells like dirty old socks; and certainly not fucking Chinese takeaway, oh Wife of mine! Water is the only acceptable beverage.

3. No mobile phones. No, not even set to vibrate; and no, not even for texting, you cunt. (Although I did find it amusing to see kids playing games on their mobiles while at a screening of Scooby Doo. Yes, the film was that fucking bad.)

4. Any talking louder than a whisper and the culprit will be evicted.

Does all that seem harsh? I think not.

Another problem with other people sharing your movie experience is one of perception. A case in point, if I may be so bold as to venture one, is what happened when I went to see Blue Velvet.

The venue was the wonderful Prince Charles cinema off Leicester Square in London; a great little place -- cheap as chips and home to many a wonderful film-ogling session. Blue Velvet was not one of them. You see, I'd previously watched Blue Velvet on telly and it had scared the shite out of me. Clearly I scare easily, because David Lynch has a habit of doing that to me. And yet almost every line in this most masterful of masterpieces was laughed at.

I sort of understand why, because it is a parody of sorts in some ways; but this shared viewing has effectively spoiled the movie for me in a big way. Because when you take away the tongue-in-cheek script and the hammy acting, the plot and the action of that film are all darkly terrifying. These are truly horrible, vicious people doing horrible, vicious things to innocents.

Oh well. I just wanted to say, really, that I wish I had my own cinema where just Wife and me and a few select friends could go. Of course, I'd have to ensure they were going to abide by my rules and I'd let them know when they could laugh, snigger, and cry, but you get my gist.

In the absence of enough funds to do that, we will have to settle with either DVDs at home or the rowdy crowds at the moving-picture emporium. Neither is truly the cinematic experience we all hope for, but what can you do?

Furthermore, when tickets can cost up to £10 each, it is always cheaper to buy the DVD on import from the States. At least that way, if the movie sucks arse, you can always sell the bloody thing after and recoup some of your outlay! Who says I'm a cheap bastard?!

Coming up in part 3: Bootleg and pirate movies

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Blogger Cooper said...

I totally agree.

I think of myself as a very non-violent person, but I have lashed out twice in the cinema because of people talking. Once it was my friend who I hit round the back of the head (harder than I intended), he was really annoyed and I had to apologise a lot after. The other time I kicked the chair of the person in front of me as hard as I could because he was talking on his mobile phone. He went mental but I couldn't back down despite being shit scared he might hit me, so I gave him my special glary eyes. He had a rant at me but then sat down and shut up.

I've told people to be quiet politely many times, but they tend to ignore it.

24 July, 2006 17:29  
Blogger Camie Vog said...

I think I could abide by your rules in your cinema. Funny, the only time I ever eat popcorn is at the movies. I am curious how one can eat chinese take out in the theater...

24 July, 2006 19:22  
Blogger Red said...

Camie, it's quite simple, really, as long as you don't lose your spoon. Which, of course, I did. However, my friend, bless her, gave me hers and let me eat first. She knows I get angry when hungry.

24 July, 2006 19:58  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Coop: It can happen to the best of us. Wife is always kicking seats and doing the out-of-corner-of-eye glare. I think women can get away with it more. One time I did turn round and ask, not very poiltely, "Can you shut the fuck up please?" of two Spanish girls; I think the one was translating for the other or something...

Camie: It's never happened in my presence, but it is something that Wife did once upon a time and is something of a running gag in our house. Ah, how we laugh!

Red: Those halcyon days - Chinese food smuggled into a cinema. You crazy mixed-up dame!

24 July, 2006 20:04  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

I whole-heartedly approve the enforcement of your rules.

People are so freakin' rude! But I love watching movies on the big screen... so I suffer through it... and sit on my hands so as not to resort to smacking the woman and her two-year old upside the head as they explain the plot and comedy of every scene to each other. Aargh..

ahhh... the cinema

24 July, 2006 20:29  
Blogger The_'Real'_Batman said...

I have never reached a greater state of apoplexy when, near the end of the film, the person nexts to me calls someone to tell them the phone has finished and proceeds to tell everyone else what else they plan to do that they. This is a case, I think, for justifiable homicide.

24 July, 2006 21:26  
Blogger Minerva Jane said...

Great rules. At the theater near me in downtown Brooklyn people come in large extended families--partly, I think, for the air conditioning. Several generations--including tiny babies in their strollers--fill the upper tiers. Never had someone bring in chinses, but the vats of food and the new "combo" options are a little frightening--2 liters of coke! potatoe chips with fake nacho cheese sauce! sticky buns! and candy... Plus a feedbag of popcorn. I wish I was kidding.

24 July, 2006 21:29  
Blogger martinobhoy said...

I've never, ever understood the need to have food in the cinema. Can people not go two hours without eating? And it's not as if it's a small snack like a chocolate bar and a bottle of water. It's always enough popcorn to feed an African nation and enough coke to float a battleship.

24 July, 2006 22:00  
Blogger a.c.t said...

We go the flics between twice a month to 5 times, depending what's out. If it wasn't for the £14 an hour offer I wouldn't bother cos it's a rip off, although I do agree, films are a whole different experience at the cinema. As for taking food in, I don't see what's wrong with it as long as you don't make noise. I was really annoyed in the week though when I went to see a film in the afternoon and there must have been about 5 people in there and someone came and sat 2 seats away. What's that about? Haven't people heard of personal space?

24 July, 2006 22:24  
Blogger Camie Vog said...

The first time I saw "Taxi Driver" on the big screen was in Amsterdam, about 17 years ago. Imagine my surprise to find that the theater offered no popcorn, but allowed cigarette smoking!

24 July, 2006 23:19  
Blogger Jezebelle said...

I like your rules. And Scooby Doo did suck ass!

25 July, 2006 02:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i watch all movies at home 4 tha subs some theatres r testin outta little box that gives that 2 u but i think u will miss 2 much movie if u has 2 look down n read it...
but no noise in mine :o)

25 July, 2006 05:00  
Blogger apositivepessimist said...

I think the makers of chip and lolly packets have never been to the movies.

Good god I haven't been to the cinema for ages precisely for those reasons...oh and the closest one is over 120k's away there and back. Bugger that.

25 July, 2006 06:47  
Blogger Pie said...

Subtitle boxes sound like a good idea pup, although awkward to keep looking away. Maybe some kind of filtered glasses that allow you to see the subtitles on the screen only if you're wearing them would work. I always have subtitles on at home for one of my kids but I tend to have them on even when she's out.

What the hell is it with things like hotdogs at the cinema? I can't even eat those neatly at the table in broad daylight let alone cramped up on a horrible seat in the dark - I'd come out looking like one of the victims from a horror film.

25 July, 2006 07:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You cheap bastard.

Just like me then!

25 July, 2006 09:22  
Blogger thehealingroom said...

Hi asterisk,

I just had to pop into say that Blue Velvet was the Scariest movie besides Eraserhead that I ever saw. I saw it in a theater that regularily showed more of the Art films and no one was laughing.
I didn't realise people laughed at it til later.
I thought it was Very Creepy.

25 July, 2006 16:43  
Blogger Aidan said...

When I saw Seven in the cinema, I wasn't unnerved quite so much by the film as by the pre-teen-sounding (but not looking) girl sat behind us, who tittered shrilly almost the whole way through, to the obviously mounting fury and embarrassment of her partner.
Almost as baffling as the people who kept finding something to laugh at in the third Austin Powers movie. This country...

Perhaps most squirmworthy, though, was the young man seen sobbing throughout, and as he made his way out of, the Britney Spears film Crossroads (not me, I hasten to add, though these several years on, I'm not sure how I can justify being there in the first place, dry eyes notwithstanding... I think I was forced to attend).

25 July, 2006 17:33  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Martha: People are rude, and getting ruder. Grrr...

Shamash: Whay do people think anyone else cares what they're doing for the rest of their day or life? What is that all about?

Minerva Jane: I love that families come for the air-con! Crazy, that is.

Martino: Don't. Even. Get. Me. Started. Oh, did I start it...?

25 July, 2006 20:16  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

ACT: That's a good amount of movie-watching, well done. In theory, you're right with the "quiet food" thing; in practice, it would just be abused. Although cinemas like Brixton's Ritzy and the (now departed?) Everyman in Hampstead used to sell only things like cake, and that was fine. Soft and moist does the job every time.

Camie: Yeah, we Europeans have pretty backward views on smoking in public places. Bizarrely, though, even Italy has been more proactive in changing their policy than we have in the UK. Ridiculous.

Jez: Thanks. I'll put you on my invite list when I get my movie theatre!

25 July, 2006 20:20  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

DP: We often use subs, too. Often because Wife feels compelled to have the volume so low that it doesn't disturb the neighbours. But that means I can't hear the damn movie! Yeah, guess you're *lucky* on the noise thing ;-)

APP: That's a long way for a movie... Sheesh, you really have to want to go, huh?

Pie: Movie hotdogs... Never had one, never will. Yuk.

RD: I mean, you gotta know when you're being screwed, no?

25 July, 2006 20:23  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Healing Room: Thank you, thank you, thank you!

AKR: I'm sure there's a story behind why you went to see Crossroads, and I for one want to hear it! The Seven thing... that'd drive anyone mad, surely?

25 July, 2006 20:26  
Blogger apositivepessimist said...

heh. yeah.

fortunately I am blessed with the "fuckit, will wait for video" mentality.

26 July, 2006 09:40  

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