The Price of Admission

There’s been a lot of talk about the magic of going to see a film at a theater over the last two years. Streaming is nice and all, but you can never capture the emotions of the big screen, the surround sound, the concessions vendor, and the communal experience. I endorse theaters for all reasons minus the last part. I could do without having a mass amount of people at a showing of a movie, with the exception that the people are not chatting, coughing, laughing too hard or too often. or cheering. You rarely get those exceptions. Let’s normalize going to the movies alone. Not to pull a Jerry Seinfeld set, but WHYYYYYYY do people insist on going to the movies together? YA CAN’T TALK TO ANYONE! Otherwise, my plain old TV has nothing on the big screen, so theaters will always have a place in my heart. I even love the carpeting.

This was just a prelude to run through the old memory bank and look back on (with possible rage) the most annoying theater-going moments from the great people of Earth.

The Many Saints of Newark – I skimmed through parts of the movie on HBO Max the other day, and I think I was too generous to this movie when I first saw this at the Regal Cinemas in Newington, NH in October. Pretty awful, a Sopranos movie made for the fans who skip the therapy sessions and dream sequences. During the showing, an old guy was chatting the whole time, pointing out the ham-fisted references for the people there that somehow didn’t watch the show. When Vera Farmiga Livia said “poor you!” the guy responded, “she said that on the show”, presumably talking to his wife. I found this one a little more amusing, who needs to pay attention to this thing on screen anyways.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Okay, now we’re talking if you want me pissed off. My hype for this was through the roof. I love it now, which I can’t entirely say about all of Tarantino’s filmography as I’ve gotten older, but I was afraid to admit that I wasn’t infatuated by it when I first saw it in July 2019 at the Showcase in Woburn, MA. A group of fucking assholes, I couldn’t tell if they were like the shitbags I go to school with or just a rowdy big family with teenage kids, were chatting their way through the first half. They each had a whiff of the “yeah bro, that’s fucking sick” college kid. Someone, unfortunately not me, finally told them to shut up, and the second half was peaceful, but it was too late. I was simply not in the right mood to enjoy Quentin’s most wholesome film yet. This should’ve been an all-timer theater experience for me, and I still blame those fuckheads today for depriving me of it. I really, really hope the pandemic wasn’t tough on them at all.

Creed II – An old guy coughed out his lungs throughout the whole second half, also at the Showcase in Woburn. Theaters, don’t feed the elderly with popcorn. Those seeds stick in your throat.

Avengers: Endgame – Can’t believe I’m admitting seeing this on its opening weekend. Might as well go all out now, I liked the MCU at that time. Maybe I was happier back then, maybe I didn’t watch enough movies back then. Will anyone give a shit about me watching more movies? No, they won’t show up to my wake because I was a stuck-up cocksucker. Anyways, I was starting to get more cynical about these movies when I saw the big one in April 2019 at Jordan’s Furniture IMAX Theater in Reading, MA. For Infinity War, the cheap fake-snarky jokes, overbearing fan service, shitty visuals, and the quantity over quality mentality sucked me in. I was not having it this time around. Clapping? CHEERING? But please, tell me it’s not an amusement park. Feige really knows how to play it right down the middle. None of his movies are all that shitty. They are just so goddamn pedestrian. Things like the Venom movies are way more impactful because they embrace the goofiness. The MCU thinks it’s in on the joke but they lack any sense of earnestness.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout – From a pure visceral experience, this movie kicks ass. I hate that the beginning of the third act wants you to legitimately care about the convoluted plot and melodrama and halts all momentum, but I can let that aside. Somehow, only in the way I can, I found myself feeling disheartened after seeing this at Jordan’s in Reading in July 2018. Birthday weekend. Easy Friday at work. Fuddruckers dinner. IMAX screen. It was all lining up for me. This time, the person I am mad at the most is me. Why was I grump during this? Cruise and the boys gave me everything I was expecting. Why did I relentlessly try to grapple every minute detail about this ridiculous plot!?!? “But wait, this guy him and Cavil are fighting needs to be…” Dude, SHUT UP and cherish this bathroom fight! Like everything in my life, I never appreciate my good fortune. I think about this when I sit in an empty theater for a gruelingly average movie like Belfast. Not to mention, there was a culprit of one of the worst offenses sitting in my row, the obnoxious laughter. Every footstep from a character got a chuckle from this guy. When Simon Pegg is almost killed via hanging in the climax, this fucking guy was HOWLING like it was the zipper scene in There’s Something About Mary. Hope you enjoyed the picture, big guy, wherever you are.

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