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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Throwback Thursday: At The Cinema With...

Pre-demolition: The derelict site of the former ABC Cinema in central Tunbridge Wells

These days I rarely see any movies at the cinema. I tend to make a short list at the start of the year (predominately the next run of Marvel Studio movies) that I'd really like to go and see, and am happy if I make it to two-thirds of that list.

But once upon a time - when I had a job - I went to the cinema almost every week.

While the Tunbridge Wells town centre cinema (pictured above well past its prime, and now -after a lot of faffing about - demolished) was still open, and I was friends with the manager, I saw pretty much everything that came out.

Of course, at the time, I was entertainments' editor for the local paper and self-appointed cinema critic. I even had my own regular - and well-read (if not well-written) - column: At The Cinema With...

But when Odeon bought out the site then closed it so it didn't draw audiences away from their new, dismal, overpriced grottiplex on the out-of-town industrial estate, the rot started to set in.

I still went reasonably regularly, even though I had to pay(!), and got to see pretty much everything that interested me.

But these days, now that I can't drive, it's just too much hassle. It's expensive, as well as inconvenient, has uncomfortable seating... and there are "other people" there when I'm trying to watch films.

To mangle Jean-Paul Sartre: "Hell is other people."

Despite what you might see elsewhere (in some movies, actually) watching a film is NOT a social experience, especially when you're paying the sort of money now being asked just to get through the doors.

If I've made the effort to go and see a film, I don't want to hear other people chattering, whooping, munching popcorn etc I want to be in my own little bubble where I can sink into the story unfolding before my eyes.

Truth be told - and it's probably a product of my age as much as anything - I find that far easier to do at home these days.

With the advances in home entertainment - the quality of DVDs and Blu-Rays, for instance - there is no longer the need to go to the cinema and pay a fortune to get annoyed with the unappreciative crowds of oiks who treat it as a social club.

Sure, I'll have to wait two or three months (sometimes a bit longer) for the movies I want to see to come out on Blu-Ray, Netflix, Amazon Streaming, or Sky, but I've realised I don't mind waiting. It's a small price to pay for being able to watch a film how I want to, in comfortable surroundings with minimum distractions.

6 comments:

  1. The theater nearest to me remodeled a couple of years ago. Now all the seats are recliners, and each row is separated by a wall topped with glass (for kids' eyelines??) and there is three to four feet of legroom (so people going to the restroom/concessions are less of an annoyance. Of course prices went up with half the seats in a theater, but it's pretty bubble friendly. Maybe the new theater will adopt some of these "modern(?)" design elements.

    Although, I go to movies less and less anyway, for the same reasons as you. I didn't even see SW:TFA until it came out on video.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds like an incredible redesign. I'd love to see a cinema along those lines around here.

      Star Wars for me has to be seen first in the cinema. Only one I didn't see in the cinema (and that's because I was hospitalised, so had an excuse) was Revenge Of The Sith.

      Of course, if Disney are going to start pumping out an avalanche of Star Wars features then I might have to rethink my Golden Rule ;)

      Delete
  2. I follow a similar pattern, where I map out a vague plan at the beginning of the year. Although for me, it's usually the DC movies that are must-sees (god help me), so I've been able to get by without the mandates of the MCU.

    My wife is actually interested in seeing Civil War, so if we manage to see that sometime soon, it will be the shortest span in which I've seen three movies in the theater (SW:TFA, Bats v Supes, Civil War) in many years!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Although I'm a Marvel zombie (can't wait for Civil War, although my greatest excitement is for Doctor Strange later in the year), I'm really hoping to see Suicide Squad on the big screen.

      I'm waiting for the home video release of BvS, as I couldn't bear the thought of sitting for almost three hours (once you factor in the trailers) in our local multiplex, enduring a film that I probably wouldn't enjoy anywhere near as much as a Marvel movie ;)

      Delete
    2. I don't blame you. I thought BvS was pretty terrible, but I'm STILL tempted to see it a second time simply because I may never get another shot at seeing Bats/Supes/WW/etc. fight on a big screen in 3D (just saw it in standard the first time...). I'm apparently very weak in character.

      Delete
    3. I'm a bit of a completionist when it comes to superhero movies, regardless of quality ;)

      Delete

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