As a person with a great passion for movies, I find myself increasingly honored to have the opportunity to voice my opinion on the numerous subjects and topics that abound in the subject of film.
Some of these topics range from the simplicity of picking five of my favorite movies of a certain style or genre, while others range into the much more complex, like using Sigmund Freud’s concept of psychoanalysis to help understand the relationships of the three main characters of the movie “Jaws.”
One topic I have touched on before is how, as a film columnist, I absolutely dread going to the movie theater.
My reasons are pretty simple.
The comforts of home are vast, giving me the ability to pause a movie, rewind it, or watch it with the subtitles on. If you’ve never done the latter, try it. It’s amazing. I’ve been doing it for years, and I found recently that my father, Tommy Bragg, loves to do the same.
With the subtitles on, one can understand every single line of dialogue without having the volume turned up to the decibel level equal to a Boeing 777. Occasionally, a Blu-ray or DVD will have a missed line here or there, but even so, you get the line without too much confusion.
Other than the simple differences in possessing a magical device known as a remote control, going to the movies is a chore. You get there 30 minutes early, pay upwards of $15 per ticket, then purchase snacks and drinks at a rate that would make Bill Gates check his bank balance.
Afterwards, while waiting for the film to start, you consume all of your Milk Duds and popcorn before getting 15 minutes into the actual feature.
Add to the ordeal that many times theaters are gigantic, freezing, their equipment might not be state of the art, along with signing a social contract with 50 or 60 other people and hoping that they are as good at being quiet or not checking their phones, and I hope you can begin to see where I’m coming from.
Most of the time, when I actually go to the theater, I can’t concentrate because I am wondering how much longer it will take before the picture will be over and I can run screaming into the night.
Growing up, going to the theater was how I could go and hang out with friends in the many years before social media connected us without having to be physically connected.
Every Friday night, my parents would drop my friends and I off at the now defunct theaters, which were located where Dillard’s is now in the Stones River Mall.
It wasn’t necessarily by choice, but that’s where all of my friends gathered. We’d watch whatever movie we were old enough to get into and then go home.
So, these days it’s rare for me to decide to go see a movie in the theater.
Obviously, I have exceptions to the rule, like if my dad wants to go, there’s a new Quentin Tarantino or Wes Anderson film, or if another much-anticipated movie comes out and I simply have to see it.
However, I’m not alone in my musings on skipping a theatrical release.
According to the most recent box office statistics, while 2012 was a record-breaking year in terms of revenue, raking in more than $4.25 billion in revenue, it was also host to the smallest number of actual viewers who attended the theater.
People have cited high ticket prices and box office bombs like “John Carter” and “Rock of Ages” with lowering the number of seats filled, but I think it’s much more simple than that.
As my good friend and fellow writer Zack Stovall recently said to me, “It’s that (in going to the theater) you’re paying $20 for a less than $20 experience.”
Indeed, my friend. Seeing a movie in the theater is simply not worth what you’ve got to put up with in order to go.
With the rise of smaller, more boutique-like theaters, where you can sit in a comfortable leather chair, enjoy an adult beverage or two, and eat a pizza while watching a movie, the theater industry is catching on to what some of us loathe about dragging ourselves out to the big screen.
However, because those theaters are limited to larger metropolitan cities, those of us who live in smaller towns are forced to leave even earlier for the movie or simply not go at all.
All of these factors contribute to the reason why I will wait years to see a movie until it’s released on DVD. And while I wait for the day when theater owners figure out how to make their establishments more enjoyable, I unfortunately just don’t see it happening any time soon.