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9 movie theater extras we can do without

And that's in addition to the ridiculous prices they charge for popcorn and Raisinets.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 1, 2011 8:52AM

This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.


Let me tell you, sometimes this working-for-a-living thing isn't all it's cracked up to be. For the past couple of weeks I've been in one of those high-pressure do-or-die phases that require me to be at the office from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. -- and sometimes much longer.


I've been away from home so much lately that the long hours have really started to take a toll on me. For example, last Thursday, after a particularly long and grueling day, I walked through the door a little after 9 p.m. and promptly noticed a stranger sitting at my kitchen table eagerly scarfing down a bowl of ice cream. Although the young man before me looked vaguely familiar, I couldn't quite place the face. "Hi there. Have we met before?" I asked.


"Uh, it's me, Dad -- your son, Matthew. Remember?"


Apparently my teenage son had gone through puberty while I was away. "Of course I do, son. I'm just really tired." (Note to self: Next time out, remember to buy Matthew a razor.)


Needless to say, this past weekend I figured it would do me a lot of good to leave the office behind, if only for a few hours, and take the family out to see a movie at our local movie theater. After all, we're in the heart of the summer movie season. So I got online to see what was playing, and couldn't help but wince at the prices. It was going to cost me close to $40 just to get my family of four through the door.


Throw in some popcorn, drinks for everyone and the Raisinets -- I'm sorry, but a movie isn't a movie without the Raisinets -- and before you know it the price for two hours in the theater starts pushing $70.


Ironically, after considering what I would be getting for my hard-earned money, I ultimately decided to find something else to do, if only because a trip to the movie theater would undoubtedly end up giving us significantly more than we bargained for. For example:


Babies with an acute case of colic. Look, I realize baby sitters are expensive, but it's not as if there aren't reasonable alternatives out there. For example, what's wrong with picking up a couple of $1 movie rentals from the local Redbox kiosk, ordering a pizza or some hot wings for home delivery, and enjoying a picture from the comfort of your own home? Just sayin'.


Blocked views. I've heard it said that only 5% of the American population is taller than 6 foot 2 inches. So can someone please explain to me why, when I go to the movies, someone taller than that sits in front of me 95% of the time?


Endless trailers. The last time I was at the theater, I was "treated" to 20 minutes of trailers. It got so bad that, at about the 18-minute mark, the crowd actually started getting a little bit hostile. A few people even started throwing popcorn at the screen. I'm not kidding. Post continues after video.

Blaring movie sound. Although I can't prove it, I'm certain that movie theaters think that they can make any crappy movie better by simply raising the volume. Here's how it works: The worse a movie is, the higher the owner cranks up the dial. Then again, maybe that's not such a bad thing when setting the volume knob to 11 helps drown out the sound of . . .

Loud eaters. I'm not sure how my dog does it but even when he eats something as innocuous a single potato chip -- never mind a bowl of Alpo -- everyone within a 10-foot radius is immediately immersed in a gluttonous cacophony of gastronomical sounds: biting, crunching, lip smacking, chomping, slurping, slobbering and moaning. I notice a lot of theater-goers eat their popcorn that way too -- that is, when they're not throwing it at the movie screen or off the backs of tall people blocking their views.


Cellphones addicts. Come on, folks. Are you really so important that you can't become inaccessible to the world for two hours? Turn the phone off. I promise, the world will still be here when the movie is over. (Trust me. The theater owner who makes his place impervious to cellphone signals will become an instant millionaire.)


Chair kickers. I realize this is anecdotal evidence, but I've found that chair kickers only seem to show up for Disney and Pixar pictures. So I've written both companies to request they start producing more R-rated movies.


Tardy folk. After 20-plus minutes of trailers, how is it that people still manage to come in late to a movie? The unavoidable distraction these tardy individuals cause as they fumble through the dark trying to locate, say, six or seven adjoining seats in an already crowded theater is always truly annoying.

Advertisements. I can overlook the blatant product placements within the movies themselves, but after paying a small fortune to get into the theater, why should we be subjected to an endless stream of commercials before the film even starts? You know, maybe all those fashionably late movie-goers are smarter than I thought.


Anyway, for essentially the same amount of money I would have spent at the movie theater, I ended up taking the family out for a bite to eat and then back home to watch "The Adjustment Bureau" on pay per view. I'd love to give you a quick movie review but, to tell you the truth, I fell asleep midway through the film. Hopefully I won't be so tired this weekend.


More on Len Penzo dot Com and MSN Money:

Jul 5, 2011 8:57AM
I have a simple answer to all your woes, Len.  Don't go to movie theaters.  I haven't been to a theater in years and I don't miss it in the least.  In fact, I'm certain the experience has gotten worse since my last visit.  The annoying, inconsiderate, self-centered people are everywhere.  The sound is WAY too loud and the commercialism gets worse and worse. 

My wife and I have enjoyed Netflix for quite some time.  We pick what to watch and when to watch it.  We make our own popcorn and it tastes many times better than the crap served at theaters.  I sit in a really nice recliner with no visual obstructions and if we need more popcorn, we hit the pause button.  I calculate the total cost of a movie night to be around $3 or $4.  All things considered, why on earth would I ever consider going to a theater? 

Jul 1, 2011 11:30AM

RedBox is $1 a night.


For old movie buffs or "New Release Fanatics" is Netflix for $9 a month.


Some people just spend too much on entertainment. Usually, they are spoiled brats or someone elses' guest. There are always the inferiority complexers who are needing something to brag about at work.


Entertainment is entertainment, how much time do you really have anyway? The lawn needs mowing, the trim paint is peeling, the kitchen floor and bath need scrubbing and your kid just mentioned the science fair project that is due tomorrow.

In WI, our republican legislature, and governor, passed carrying a concealed weapon. They are also passing, allowing alcohol to be served in theatres. Anybody want to go see a movie, with a bunch of armed drunks?
Jul 4, 2011 11:25AM

With today's technology, anybody ever wonder why it is even necessary to waste gasoline driving to a movie theatre; fighting the crowds in the parking lot, standing in line for a ticket and snacks; then, in some instances, having to fight over a seat?


Then we have people of all ages using their cell phones, or whatever; talking; then leaving a mess to be cleaned up when they leave.


It would be much simpler to look at the movie menu on TV, and select a new release on Friday when they come out, and enjoy the new movie from the confines of one's home.  How much better is that?  How much less expensive is that?  How much more peaceful would that be?  How much money would the American People save on gasoline?


Think about it people; why isn't this happening now?  The Greedy Movie Chains like Regal, AMC, and others aren't really needed.  They do NOTHING! to produce a picture.


In this era of scarcity, cutting back, and the need to make better use of existing resources,

I'd say it's past the time to move this very convenient, resource and money-saver along.

We don't  need movie theatres any more.  They are obsolete,  and unnecessary.


What a wonderful and economical way to better serve the public.


Let's git'er done!

Jul 4, 2011 11:33AM

Yes Man has it right!  Guns and Beer don't mix unless  you are a redneck.


What do you expect from the Pin Head Governor that was elected in Wisconsin?


When I attend a movie in Madison, I'll be packin two LCR's and wearing my vest.


Is this a great country or what?!  

Jul 4, 2011 8:50PM

What we can really do without is, Critics!  Most of these guy are failed writers or actors and they feel it is their right to criticize successful people.

2 perfect examples are Rex Reed and Roger Ebert

Rex Reed appeared in the worst movie ever made Myra Breckenridge as the lead actor. If you have seen it you know what I am talking about.

Roger Ebert, wrote the script to "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" also one of the worst movies ever made.

I think the only experience these guys have to have is to be a failure at something and you get the job as a critic.

The only reason I can see for these people is to piss on the work of others and call it critiquing!

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