I love the cinema too much to actually endure sitting in one. I have fond memories of being a child and visiting the fantastic boutique cinemas to see awesome films like ET, The NeverEnding Story and Ghostbusters.
Yes I remember those experiences vividly, amongst others. Giant multiplex cinemas were still a few years away (from my area at least) and most of these theatres were still privately owned and family operated. There was a passion for cinema back then and the people who ran the places did so out of love. Red patterned carpet, ushers at the door and a bell to sound the start and end of a session. This was a time when mega Hollywood blockbusters were released monthly (if not yearly), unlike now where they're churned out weekly. They were good times. Going to the movies was special… drive-in cinemas were also popular and friends would smuggle friends under blankets, or even in the boot.
These days I hate going to the cinema. My love of movies is just too strong and 7 times out of 10 the experience will be ruined somehow. Our suburbs are dominated by giant multiplexes with 10-20 cinemas under one roof. Logically this allows them to cram in as many films as possible, but in doing so they forgo passion and decent customer service. Not to mention that certain big distributors hold a monopoly on these screens and push smaller releases out.
Candy bar prices are inflated and there’s a lack of staff. One usher represents ALL of the cinemas, which generates all kinds of problems that management doesn't care about. While the film is playing there is lucky to be one cinema-check, if any, and even then it’s less than productive.
While avoiding the cinema I still push myself along to see some of the more epic films. With no word of a lie I would say that 7 out of 10 visits have incurred some kind of technical problem such as glitches, incorrect sound, poorly aligned image and even reels that end without the next one being threaded (if it's not digital).
However, my biggest issue with these giant, overpriced factories is the patrons. The bigger the complex, the worse they are. Last weekend I had the displeasure of watching a movie with an audience full of wankers, dickheads and douchebags. No sooner did the lights dim, people starting hitting Facebook. They talked aloud during the movie, phones rang, screens lit up and seats were kicked. I would have asked people to be quiet if not for the fact I was clearly outnumbered. Oh and don't get me started on the unavoidable, disgusting smell of hotdogs & nachos polluting the room. It is obvious that people do not frequent these places for love of cinema. The multiplexes can suck my balls.
And so these days if I am spending a night at the cinema I will travel further to some of the more boutique, movie-minded places. Unfortunately most of these are in the city. Immediately walking into one of them the atmosphere is different, better. The foyer is remarkably ambient with most people keeping their conversations to themselves. The floor staff are everywhere and ready to assist. Inside the cinema the audience is usually fairly quiet and once the lights dim, they are silent. They are obviously there to watch a movie, not socialise. THIS is how it should be and when the film is over, then by all means start buzzing.
But in today’s world of hi-definition, big screen, home theatre systems its not necessary to experience every release at the cinema. I certainly watch most of them in the comfort of my own home. I wish that a night at the movies was more appealing, but it just isn’t.
Please support the smaller cinemas in your area. They're competing against the big guys and are generally in it for the love of it. The big players don't deserve your loyalty. And even better still, get behind your local film festivals and communities. They do it right!
There isn't a lot of negativity around here. If you follow my posts you will know that I enjoy most of the movies I write about. It's not that I don't dislike or even hate a lot of films, it's more a point of focusing on things that make me happy. I saw a Facebook post this morning that said "Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate!" It's a simple philosophy and one that I've indadvertedly practiced over the years. Of course you will find some reviews in this blog that are less than favourable but in most instances I have drawn out positives instead of wasting energy of the negatives.
I read a lot of other blogs... film related and other... and i am alway dismayed by the amount of negativity put out into the world. Like all art, films are subjective and opinions are personal. If you don't like something, then by all means justify your position, but rather than hammering an assault of criticism how about putting things into context? No filmmaker sets out to make a bad movie and it helps to understand their intention, motivation, circumstances and demographic. Smothering a thick layer of hate only makes you look like a twat and the sad thing is that in today's age of social networking, everyone's a fucking expert.
And so when I see a film that I hate I allow myself two options. 1) let it go and move onto the next movie OR 2) express my thoughts with reason and context.
Life's too short and there's too many unseen movies to see.... haters waste time.
I get caught in genre ruts. As is the case right now I will immerse myself in b-movie heaven for months on end.... consuming copious amounts of rarities and cultish trash. But then I can snap into a month of wisdom, watching as many historical films and documentaries as possible. Every genre of film is covered by these moods and as I mentioned, right now its 80s sci-fi B-movies! The one recurring figure in my latest phase is Charles Band. In my recent review of Doctor Mordrid I described him as an Auteur of B... from Demonic Toys to Trancers... Puppet Master to Gingerdead Man. There's no denying that a huge amount of his catalogue is crap, particularly from the year 2000 onwards, but it's the type of crap I can happily spend time consuming. Amongst them there are some gems... some that shine above the rest. Doctor Mordrid, Trancers, Arcade & Re-Animator are obvious ones. But it occurred to me recently that my (some would say) mystifying love of such things dates right back to early childhood and that Charles Band is responsible for this passion.
One of the earliest film related memories I have is from when I was 6 years old. I recall vividly spending an afternoon at a neighbour's house with a whole bunch of other kids. The older brother of one of these kids also had his teenage friends over and they were watching horror movies. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and Ghoulies were brand new releases at the time and with the parents nowhere to be seen, us little ones sat on bean bags and stared wide-eyed at these movies. A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 didn't phase me. Sure, it scared me but I could hack it.... but it was Ghoulies that scarred me for life. The terrifying and menacing presence of Freddy Krueger was nothing compared with the blood curdling, nightmare-inducing horror of Ghoulies. The funny thing is that NOTHING in the movie affected me.... but rather the tagline. One of the older kids read the video cover out aloud. “They'll get you in the end”. My six year old brain went ballistic. WHAT?? They'll GET ME? Those creepy little demons will actually GET ME? FUCK THAT!! The movie was only half way through but I wasn't taking any chances and so I picked my ass up and ran all the way home. Enjoy the movie suckers!
Upon reflection, that flash of terror felt exhilarating and I have been chasing it ever since. This explains my deep seeded love of horror and b-movies. I am forever looking for that feeling... and while I occasionally come close, I will never again be struck with such a powerful and motivating terror like I was that one afternoon...
Thank you Charles Band.