Strong opinions, weakly held

Going to the movies

I don’t go to the movies much any more, but this weekend I managed to make it to two different ones. I went to the local art house to see No Country for Old Men, and I went to the megaplex to see Sweeney Todd. The quality of the movies aside, I was disappointed in the quality of the experience overall.

The art house is what it is. The theater is old, and the seats are uncomfortable. The place is not without its charms, but I still had to walk around a bit after the movie to work the kinks out. The megaplex was no fun at all. The place has nice comfortable seats, but they want nine bucks for a small popcorn and Coke (I passed), and for some reason they didn’t turn out the overhead lights during the movie, which was completely incomprehensible. They showed ads before the movie and fifteen minutes of previews after the scheduled movie start time.

I hear the movie business made a financial comeback this year, but I don’t see how it’s going to last. The advantages of letting Netflix ship movies to my house and then watching them in my comfy chair on my nice big TV is pretty compelling. Oh, and my monthly membership to Netflix costs the same as the matinee price for two tickets at the megaplex.


  1. mostly concur, though i have to say that I Am Legend would be unlikely to have precisely the same impact on me at home that it did in the theater.

  2. There is the communal viewing experience, and I don’t think that is to be discounted. “No Country for Old Men” is a heavy movie but there are some laugh out loud bits, and it was better to be there with a bunch of people laughing out loud at those same bits. I also remember going to see “Little Miss Sunshine” on the big screen, and having some huge laughs with a whole bunch of other people was great.

  3. I’m with you, Rafe. I can enjoy the megaplex once every few months, but it grates really quickly. Art house can be done well–there’s an indie theater where I used to live where it’s easy to get to know the owners (they even posted the entire saga of getting up and running on their website), the concessions are reasonable and varied (and they have beer and wine), and through a quirk of fate in which, having only one projector, they were forced to have an intermission in every film, you get a chance to stretch and such without missing anything. It’s truly the most charming theater experience I’ve had.

  4. Two words: Alamo Drafthouse. They started in Austin, but they’re franchising quickly. Drink a beer, eat a decent meal and see a movie all at the same time.

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