Monday, June 20, 2005

I keep reading that there’s a huge slump in the numbers of people going to movies. These reports cite polls showing that people would rather watch DVD’s and pay-per-view at home. Well, DUH!
Let’s begin, as all things should, at home. Prying a family of four away from the obligations, video games, and other distractions at home has turned into quite a trick. The attainment of two little kids fully clothed with shoes on often seems like scaling K2 in scope and difficulty. Then there’s the gas, particularly wasted idling around the parking structures and lots of these megalopolis malls, where you meet the nicest people vying for that one open spot two rows over. It’s nice to know that so many people think I’m Number One!
Standing in line, trashed bathrooms, overpriced food-court food. I just love contact with my fellow Man.
With matinee prices starting at $8 a pop, that means $32 for my family to purchase tickets. What’s a movie without popcorn and a soda? Another $25 bucks or so, uh-huh. Put that up against 5$ for a DVD and another $8 for goodies at home, and we can pause it while you go potty or get a drink. And we do.
Now, my family is still trying to do our part, we see probably at least one movie a month as a family, but the sticker shock is becoming awe. It is pretty cool to see the look on Emma’s face during a movie like "Madagascar", where the big screen and sound seem to captivate her and make her wide-eyed. Last Saturday, we saw "Sharkboy and Lavagirl . . ." She fell asleep in the stroller (some people use strollers to smuggle in sodas and candy – In fact, I’m convinced that that’s how the first "dirty bomb" will be delivered, and I don’t mean a forgotten diaper) before the titles were over. I fell asleep about 20 minutes into it, myself, snorting myself awake a couple of times. Truly a movie aimed at youngsters – there was nothing there for anyone over (or apparently under) 8-12 years of age. That doesn’t mean that I had bad time – I’ll take a nap whenever I can get it. Sharkboy needs more acting lessons.
As for continuing to feel "not sorry" for movie executives, seems to me that DVD revenue’s gotta be pretty good, else they wouldna’ be so many of ‘em. The ever-narrowing gap between movie release and DVD release signals that maybe they’re not so discouraged, after all. They’ve even developed a new method of releasing the first DVD right away, and then releasing an "enhanced" version a couple of months later – with all the extras - so that the fan now has two copies of his or her favorites. You movie guys’s impoverishment is truly breakin’ my heart. And then there’s timing of release. "Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy", released a week or two before "Star Wars III" – there’s a bit of Gumpian Wisdom, ‘cept it didn’t work. You can’t see them, Forrest, for the Sith.
And just one other thing. Stop churning out crap. Pixar is successful because the story comes first. Sharkboy and Lavagirl needed 3-D – better to have objects coming from the screen, rather than being hurled at it. The glasses prevented anyone’s aim from being accurate enough to hit the screen. Besides, who in their right mind would throw jujubees at the screen, when they are about a quarter apiece?