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A MOVIEGOER’S MANIFESTO—MORE PEEVES FROM THE MIDDLE SEATS

How’s the movie experience going for you?  Are you still going to movies once a month, once a week, a couple times a year?  Do you find it more pleasant (more comfy seats) or more obnoxious (hello, neighbors with smartphones)?  Do you prefer a night at home with Netflix, or do you still like the culture of viewing a new movie with all your favorite coughing, text-checking strangers?

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Here’s my annual rant with suggestions for movie producers and theatre owners to make our moviegoing experience peachier:

Really, why do we need a ten-minute long credit scroll that lists every caterer, dog whisperer, assistant to the assistant and Starbucks gopher?  I understand there may be some union rules regarding screen credits, which were drafted in the days when that screen credit was the only time their name would be displayed in conjunction with that film, but in the age of the internet, those who want to delve deeper into the credits can go to IMDB or the movie’s website.  Considering that you play twenty minutes of ads-n-pads before the start time, then yet more ads, teasers, PSAs and trailers until the twelve production company logos come up and the movie actually begins, you could shave nearly 45 minutes off of a runtime and squeeze a whole other showing or two in a day. Isn’t that better than more ads and needless credits?

The fancy new theatres with heated recliners are very nice, thanks.  The loyalty programs seem to work pretty well in terms of getting a free ticket or popcorn every now and then, which is good.  But can you review the popcorn containers and those bag/box handouts you provide for those who share the big tub o’ corn? Some of them crinkle and make an awful noise, as do many candy wrappers.  It grates against the soul, of course, but in a movie like A Quiet Place, where a silent audience is essential, it drives us homicidal.

Speaking of noise, thanks for the mega ultra-sonic THX Dolby surround sound blasters—but honestly, you can bring the volume down a bit.  I’ve been in too many theatres that pump it up to painfully loud extremes, rendering moot any entertainment value the movie might otherwise have.  Louder never makes it better.

Special showing events (such as old movie marathons, operas, series binging) are great and bring fans together in a bigger way, but to charge so much more for this content is disingenuous.  It’s not a live concert. Bring those prices a bit closer to the ticket price please.

How’d that last wave of 3D movies go?  Yes, for some movies it boosted revenue (3D ticket prices are higher), but most movies are still not filmed for a 3D format, and the conversion does little more than muddle the waters.  I know you invested some serious dollars in upgrading your digital state of the art projection systems, but it’s already tapering off because films still aren’t being made specifically for the format.  I’ll shell out the extra $$ to see a great movie that wisely uses the format in its visual storytelling, but it looks cheap to do a flat conversion.

Lastly, and most importantly, when people in the theatre take out their phones and start scrolling through Facebook and Instagram during the “talky” parts of the movie, please stop the film, put a spotlight on them, and develop technology that transmits their phone data straight onto the screen, so we can all see what’s so important.

Let’s continue this discussion on The Wayward Critic Facebook page or Twitter—what are your moviegoing pet peeves?  Drop them on us @waywardcritic and let’s commiserate!

The Wayward Critic reviews movies, television and streaming and occasionally rants about other things.  Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for new movie reviews, snarky commentary and sage wisdom. @waywardcritic, email waywardcritic@gmail.com.

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