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JSE
05-22-2007, 08:05 AM
After reading S Dog's recent thread, I was just curious how may people here still frequent the Movie Theater and to what extent? For me, I watch about 85 to 90% of new movies when they come out on DVD in the comfort of my own home. Over the last couple of years I have become more and more aggravated with the whole theater experience. Loud kids, cell phones, "talkers", frequent pee'ers, frequent fat arse eaters, smell, crowds, lines, etc. About the only time I go to the theater now is when I feel the movie would greatly benefit from the big screen and "big sound" of a big theater. Other than that, I would rather sit at home and watch a movie on my system in peace and quiet.

My wife forced me to go with her to see Shrek this last weekend and I almost strangled several kids and adults. I know it was Shrek and I should have known better than to expect peace and quite but, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Half the little snot-nosed brats were not even watching the movie but rather talking and laughing and screaming at each other. And don't even get me started on the kids! :nono:

So how about it, how often do you guys actually hit the theater these days?

Jim

s dog
05-22-2007, 08:22 AM
After reading S Dog's recent thread, I was just curious how may people here still frequent the Movie Theater and to what extent? For me, I watch about 85 to 90% of new movies when they come out on DVD in the comfort of my own home. Over the last couple of years I have become more and more aggravated with the whole theater experience. Loud kids, cell phones, "talkers", frequent pee'ers, frequent fat arse eaters, smell, crowds, lines, etc. About the only time I go to the theater now is when I feel the movie would greatly benefit from the big screen and "big sound" of a big theater. Other than that, I would rather sit at home and watch a movie on my system in peace and quiet.

My wife forced me to go with her to see Shrek this last weekend and I almost strangled several kids and adults. I know it was Shrek and I should have known better than to expect peace and quite but, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Half the little snot-nosed brats were not even watching the movie but rather talking and laughing and screaming at each other. And don't even get me started on the kids! :nono:

So how about it, how often do you guys actually hit the theater these days?

Jim Being a single person i go at least 2 or 3 times a month , But a lot of the times i go just to get out of the house and do something because i get bored setting round home by myself, Back in the married days i hardly ever went to the theater at all.

GMichael
05-22-2007, 08:36 AM
With projectors in two rooms, 7.1 sound in one, and 6.1 in the other, who goes out to the movies? I'll skip the sticky floored, cell phone riddled, crazy kid and loud laughter filled theaters. I'll wait till they come out in 1080i on the HD channels. Thank you very much. If they start keeping these places clean and put in good sound systems, I'll give them another shot. I don't even mind the $5 sodas or the $6 popcorns if it was just enjoyable.

topspeed
05-22-2007, 08:58 AM
I've got two little kids, so it's not like I have a choice. Admittedly, most of the movies I see are animated these days, but I still like to go to a theater to see movies that benefit from the big screen. Spidey 3 looked pretty darn amazing as we're fortunate enough to have a full digital theatre with DLP projectors. Sandman looked fantastic! :thumbsup:

PeruvianSkies
05-22-2007, 09:30 AM
There has been for over 50 years now a battle between home viewing and the movie theater. It started as TV vs. the Movies, then Color TV vs. the Movies, and then with the advent of home video it became an even bigger battle as now the screens and sound systems need to attract people. However, people have big screens and big sound systems at home...so why go to a theater? There is more to it than that folks....

Once upon a time the cinema was a thriving, enjoyable, family-filled, fun, and experiential time. It was for lack of better words: an event! A time to feast your eyes, ears, mind, and soul into the deep recesses of a glowing white screen. The love and passion for movies though is what is dying, which is a tragedy. I love cinema. I always have, always will. I love looking up at a huge screen with the deep, rich color and the truly 3-Dimensional experience that you get. I love being taken back into time or into a place that exists only in the imagination. However, there is a decline in that amount of 'good' movies that are being released. The love and passion has worn off and while people still flock to see SHREK 3 or SPIDEY 3, are these really that memorable? Life-changing? Are they just a quick 2-hour escape and then......what's next?

The great movies, the really great ones make a lasting impression. They are the ones that you talk about for days, maybe even go and see a few more times. They are larger than life. Movies like the original STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES, or THE GODFATHER. These are movie events that people just soak up. In the years to come the movie industry needs to keep up with the standards of excellence in both the actual films and the presentations of film. Instead they spend millions of dollars promoting movies that flat-out-suck. They market to death these movies, even try merchandising the oddest things, and then wonder why people would rather sit at home. Hmmm.

There are only a handful of recent films that I recall being 'movie events'. That is, movies that people talked about, buzzed about, and sometimes event went as a whole group. I can't recall anything post-2000 except LOTR, but the 1990's had a few. They were:

JURASSIC PARK (first DTS film and wow did it ever ROAR)
TERMINATOR 2 (Yep, he came back!)
THE LION KING (they promoted this film about 2 years before it even came out)
TITANIC (call it what you will, this film, unlike the ship, stayed afloat forever and was re-released to theaters because people kept coming)
HOME ALONE (it was Black Friday and I never saw so many cars in all my life at the theater....)

JSE
05-22-2007, 10:08 AM
There has been for over 50 years now a battle between home viewing and the movie theater. It started as TV vs. the Movies, then Color TV vs. the Movies, and then with the advent of home video it became an even bigger battle as now the screens and sound systems need to attract people. However, people have big screens and big sound systems at home...so why go to a theater? There is more to it than that folks....

Once upon a time the cinema was a thriving, enjoyable, family-filled, fun, and experiential time. It was for lack of better words: an event! A time to feast your eyes, ears, mind, and soul into the deep recesses of a glowing white screen. The love and passion for movies though is what is dying, which is a tragedy. I love cinema. I always have, always will. I love looking up at a huge screen with the deep, rich color and the truly 3-Dimensional experience that you get. I love being taken back into time or into a place that exists only in the imagination. However, there is a decline in that amount of 'good' movies that are being released. The love and passion has worn off and while people still flock to see SHREK 3 or SPIDEY 3, are these really that memorable? Life-changing? Are they just a quick 2-hour escape and then......what's next?

The great movies, the really great ones make a lasting impression. They are the ones that you talk about for days, maybe even go and see a few more times. They are larger than life. Movies like the original STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES, or THE GODFATHER. These are movie events that people just soak up. In the years to come the movie industry needs to keep up with the standards of excellence in both the actual films and the presentations of film. Instead they spend millions of dollars promoting movies that flat-out-suck. They market to death these movies, even try merchandising the oddest things, and then wonder why people would rather sit at home. Hmmm.

There are only a handful of recent films that I recall being 'movie events'. That is, movies that people talked about, buzzed about, and sometimes event went as a whole group. I can't recall anything post-2000 except LOTR, but the 1990's had a few. They were:

JURASSIC PARK (first DTS film and wow did it ever ROAR)
TERMINATOR 2 (Yep, he came back!)
THE LION KING (they promoted this film about 2 years before it even came out)
TITANIC (call it what you will, this film, unlike the ship, stayed afloat forever and was re-released to theaters because people kept coming)
HOME ALONE (it was Black Friday and I never saw so many cars in all my life at the theater....)

There are still a lot of good movies out there, you just have to find them. I will agree that there has been a decline if good "blockbuster" movies over the years but I don't know if that's the sole reason people of not going as much. I really think it comes down to cost and the theater environment. Why spend $8 - $10 a head when you have to deal with the crowds, rude people and hassle? Especially when a lot of people now have HT systems ar home that sound "in their minds" good and they can go down to McDonalds and get a DVD out of the Red Box for $1 a night. I love going out but these days I would rather spend the money going to a small venue concert.

I could go into my rant about our increasingly self obsessed, rude, inconsiderate society at this time but I won't. :mad2:

L.J.
05-22-2007, 10:21 AM
I've got two little kids, so it's not like I have a choice. Admittedly, most of the movies I see are animated these days, but I still like to go to a theater to see movies that benefit from the big screen. Spidey 3 looked pretty darn amazing as we're fortunate enough to have a full digital theatre with DLP projectors. Sandman looked fantastic! :thumbsup:

Umm....what he said :thumbsup:

recoveryone
05-22-2007, 12:32 PM
I too only go out to see a movie just to get out of the house and away from the kids with the wife, its a date night for us, but I would be just as happy going to a nice little jazz cafe. If the DVD's came out within 30 days of the film release I would never go to a theater any more.

A movie really has to catch my fancy for me to go out to see it (like 300) or if the wife wants to see something. As for the kids, I just put them off for a week or so, just long enough for the hype to pass and then wait for the DVD to come out. I have a big range to cover with the kids, 17, 15 10 and 6, so you can see how I may need to wait until the DVD comes out to keep the peace in my house.

I noticed that theaters seem to be over doing it on the sound by having it extra loud as if that will impress you enough to think that the movie was better at the theater than at home. But they don't get it being loud dosen't equal better. I can crank my system up there too and still enjoy the quiet passages in a movie.

Hey Topspeed you live near Irvine, thats the only fully digital theater I know in So Cal. I saw SW II (AOTC) there and it was the best time I had in a theater since I was a kid. The wife and I caught a mid day peek and we were the only ones in there. Just like being at home.

RoyY51
05-22-2007, 01:16 PM
I haven't been to a movie theater in years...and have no desire to do so. I have my dedicated home theater dialed in to the point where I just don't feel it's necessary. When I shut my door and cue up a dvd, I'm in complete control. If I feel it's too loud, I turn it down. If it's not loud enough, I turn it up. If a particular film has overly saturated color, I adjust it. Bass too loud, not loud enough...taken care of. And, most importantly, if I need to make a pit stop or step outside for a breath of fresh air, I don't have to miss a single line. I have a pause button. Life is good.

ForeverAutumn
05-22-2007, 01:54 PM
I like the theatre experience. I find watching movies at home distracting. I have trouble sitting on my couch and just watching something for two or three hours (unless it's Lost). I'll end up flipping through a magazine or doing a Cross Stitch or something else when I should be watching.

I like the sticky floors and expensive popcorn. It makes watching a movie more of an event.

Of course, I only have a 27" TV at home. I may feel differently if we ever get around to buying our 52" HDTV, which we've been discussing since last November!

Troy
05-22-2007, 04:22 PM
My wife and I used to go to the movies constantly, sometimes several times a week. We'd even see multiple moveis on the same day. As the 90s wore on we found ourselves going to the movies less and less often for all the usual reasons: loud jerks, the proliferation of cell phones, broken sound systems, projector bulbs run at half-intensity (to prolong their life), torn screens etc.

Then at Xmas time, 2001, we went to see the first Harry Potter movie. We arrived for a late afternoon show, the theater was almost empty. We sat right in the sweet spot, 8th row or so, dead center. It was freezing in there. Why heat it for only 6 people, right? My wife curled up under her coat and we watched a rather bland and far too long movie made for children with little movie (or life) experience. My wife complained about the cold several times during the movie. As we stood to leave, she said "hey, my leg is wet!" feeling the back of her jeans, she was soaked from pocket tops to knees. No wonder she never got warm. Then she touched it and smelled her hand . . . and it wasn't Coke. It was USED coke! She had been sitting in a pee soaked seat for the last 2.5 hours! I've been married for 21 years now and have NEVER seen her more pissed (sorry) off than that night. I mean she was smoking mad. WOW. She rode home in the car with no pants on. Called the chains home office (Century Theaters) and read them the riot act. they basically said "oh, sorry, here's a couple of free movie passes."

Within a few days we had a 51" HD TV and that was that. We now go to the movies a few times a year and burn thru piles of DVDs from netflix. Like recoveryone, if DVD release was simultaneous with theatrical release we'd probably never go.

Peru, people used to go to the movies to get the same thing people get from TV today. Until the 1950s, theaters showed newsreels, cartoons, short documentaries AND a couple of features. The format used to be very similar to what TV is now. TV killed movies.

And that old argument that "Movies today suck compared to old movies" doesn't hold water. The ratio of good vs. bad movies has always been 1 in 20 or less. There were THOUSANDS of movies made in the 30s and 40s that no one from our times has ever seen that are lost forever. Because they sucked. Today we only have to watch that 5% of the movies from that supposed "golden era" that were good/relevant enough to last 60 years. Believe me, in 60 years no one will know that "Tomcats" or "Eragon" ever existed either. Even today's fairly popular bubblegum fluff like "Music and Lyrics" will wither away over time. Give it 20 years and the only people that will remember it are film history geeks. Nope, the ratio of good vs. bad has always remained pretty constant.

One last thing in defense of theaters: A comedy is MUCH better in a theater full of laughing people. there's a cathartic, tribal thing about a dark theater filled with roaring humans. Movies like "Ghostbusters" or "Something about Mary" were much funnier in the theater than on home video.

But I'll take the home video over it anytime.

PeruvianSkies
05-22-2007, 04:39 PM
There are still a lot of good movies out there, you just have to find them.

Name em'.

ForeverAutumn
05-22-2007, 06:22 PM
After saying that I like the Theatre experience. I have to relate this, most recent, experience...which may be one of the reasons for the downfall of the Movie Theatre, or maybe the result of it.

When we went to see Next last week, we got to the theatre and the box office was actually closed! After standing around, staring at the closed box office and looking lost for a couple of minutes, an usher finally came over to us and told us that we could purchase our tickets at the concession stand.

When we got to the concession stand, there were two people there. One girl ran the register, the other filled the orders....very slowly. We were pretty close to the start time, but we had to wait through three other groups of people ordering drinks and popcorn before we could even buy our tickets.

Once we had our tickets, we went to the entrance way for the actual theatres. The usher wasn't even there. He was standing 15 feet away horsing around with another usher. We just flashed our tickets at him as we walked into the theatre.

I've never seen such a poorly managed theatre in my life. I do like the movie experience. But a little Customer Service is nice too.

SlumpBuster
05-22-2007, 06:44 PM
Name em'.

Assuming your talking about "event movies" since 2000:

The Incredibles
Finding Nemo
Kill BIll
Casino Royale
Passion of the Christ
Wedding Crashers
40 Year Old Virgin


Howabout movies that get the non-movie going public to get out and go:

An Inconvienent Truth
Farinheit 9/11
The Queen
The Pianist
Hotel Rawanda

Howabout movies that are just plain great films:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Blood Diamond
Training Day
Cold Mountain
Gangs of New York

Will these movies ever have the social currency that Star Wars did? Probably not. But Starwars isn't all that great of a product to begin with. The acting is bad. The plots are lifted. The writing is so-so. The product today is still good. It's just that popculture is evermore compartmentalized and individualized. I'm not going to listen to Top 40 when I have 200 XM stations to choose from. Same with movies. But to blame the product is to miss the mark. Sure your going to get crap like Epic Movie. But, that low brow crap has always exisisted. To pine for the lost golden age of Hollywood is to rewrite history that ignores the 1000s of B movies that kids loved and directly inspired Star Wars, Raiders, and The Godfather.

JSE
05-22-2007, 09:18 PM
Name em'.


I think SlumpBuster just did!

So are you saying there are no longer any "good" movies being made? I find that hard to believe.

Judging by your list, it seems the term "great movie" to you means a blockbuster. There are a lot of great movies out there that are not blockbusters.

Capote? (sp?)

Syriana?

Little Miss Sunshine?


But back to my point, I don't care if a movie is a blockbuster or a artsy fartsy film, theaters have worn my patience thin.

PeruvianSkies
05-22-2007, 10:22 PM
I think SlumpBuster just did!

So are you saying there are no longer any "good" movies being made? I find that hard to believe.

Judging by your list, it seems the term "great movie" to you means a blockbuster. There are a lot of great movies out there that are not blockbusters.

Capote? (sp?)

Syriana?

Little Miss Sunshine?


But back to my point, I don't care if a movie is a blockbuster or a artsy fartsy film, theaters have worn my patience thin.

I'm talking about movies that are groundbreaking. STAR WARS, despite whatever flaws that anyone feels that this film has, was a groundbreaking film. It was an event that people flocked to. I am not saying that movies these days are NOT good, the ratio of good to bad though is very minute. There are far too many sequels and remakes and just flat out fluff that even the 'good ones's get lost in the shuffle. Take for instance CINDERELLA MAN.

kexodusc
05-23-2007, 06:22 AM
I'm talking about movies that are groundbreaking. STAR WARS, despite whatever flaws that anyone feels that this film has, was a groundbreaking film. It was an event that people flocked to. I am not saying that movies these days are NOT good, the ratio of good to bad though is very minute. There are far too many sequels and remakes and just flat out fluff that even the 'good ones's get lost in the shuffle. Take for instance CINDERELLA MAN.
I'm also in the camp that thinks there's still as many great movies being made as ever - there's just more movies now it seems.

PeruvianSkies - you seem to imply that there was a movie like Star Wars made every other week back in the gold old days. There wasn't. In fact, I think the Star Wars movies, Snow White, and Titanic might very well be the only movies to ever reach "event" status. The industry is irregular that way, some years/periods are full of good films, some suck.
There's a difference between the past and now too - the first 50 years of film making had over 3000 years of the human race's best stories, books, broadway acts, plays, etc to steal from and adapt to the big screen. Well, the well ran a bit dry eventually. Don't give earlier movie generations too much credit because they stole their stories from history before a future generation had the opportunity to be the first to steal an idea. A lot of classic movies were Westerns or War movies based on popular tales - you can only recycle those so often.

In any historical study there's always a survivorship bias - we remember Jaws, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, etc, but we forget The Bad News Bears Go To Japan, Piranha, Grease 2, and Caged Heat.

Oh yeah, there were a lot of bad knock-offs and sequels in any period.

There's also the simple fact that the more you do something, the less special it is. Ride the same roller-coaster 10 times a day next time you're at Six Flags, you'll see what I mean - the 1st time is better than the 9th. The more movies we see, the larger the database for comparison is. Take "Boyz N The Hood". Watch that movie now and it seems rather tame, but back in 1991 it was having a huge impact on society, it was a bad ass movie to watch. The crappy psuedo-knockoff "Juice", doubt anyone even remembers it.

JSE
05-23-2007, 07:38 AM
I'm talking about movies that are groundbreaking. STAR WARS, despite whatever flaws that anyone feels that this film has, was a groundbreaking film. It was an event that people flocked to. I am not saying that movies these days are NOT good, the ratio of good to bad though is very minute. There are far too many sequels and remakes and just flat out fluff that even the 'good ones's get lost in the shuffle. Take for instance CINDERELLA MAN.

How much more "ground" is there to break? Star Wars was groundbreaking during it's time for it's specials effects. How much farther can special effects go now? That is without becoming animated. CGI is WAY overused these days and it looks fake in a lot of instances.

Indiana Jones was not a groundbreaking film. It was a great film with a great story. Nothing really groundbreaking about it. Same thing with Titianic. I did not see what the big deal was BTW.

My point is this, a good movie is a good movie and there are still plenty of them. I would be interested to see how many movies per year were being released back in the late 70's through 90's compared to now. It seems like we are flooded with movies these days. Finding the good ones just takes a little more effort now.

SlumpBuster
05-23-2007, 08:01 AM
I don't know. I can't actually decide if Peru is on to something. According to Boxofficemojo.com's 100 top grossing movies of all time adjusted for inflation at least 16 are from this decade. That is more than a decade's fair share if your tracking at least the last nine decades. But, a movie from this decade doesn't show up until number 29, and that is Shrek 2.

This of course assumes that box office is a proper measure of a movie's event status.

Troy
05-23-2007, 08:18 AM
Name em'.

Pretty good list there Slumpy. I'd add Children of Men, Pans Labrynth and Grindhouse to the list without even thinking much.

I think others have already addressed the "groundbreaking must see" event film issue as well. I'd put "Toy Story" in the short list. "Pulp Fiction" too. But again, we are talking about a once a decade type of thing.


I'm talking about movies that are groundbreaking. STAR WARS, despite whatever flaws that anyone feels that this film has, was a groundbreaking film. It was an event that people flocked to.

Frankly, time will not be good to the Star Wars and Indy Jones series which relied too much on FX which always become dated at some point. Most people of the current generation find the original King Kong to be virtually unwatchable because the stop motion is so cheesy. The same fate awaits SW, Dr. Jones and LOTR.


I am not saying that movies these days are NOT good, the ratio of good to bad though is very minute. There are far too many sequels and remakes and just flat out fluff that even the 'good ones's get lost in the shuffle. Take for instance CINDERELLA MAN.

As I said in yesterday's post, that ratio has ALWAYS been minute. It's just that the bad old movies are already forgotten. Some time in the not too distant future today's bad movies will be forgotten too.

And I don't understand, did you like "Cinderella Man" or not? I thought is was bland and predictable, but people seemed to really like it. Remember "Far and Away" from 1992? "Seabiscuit" from 2003? Same sort of bland and mediocre fluff. Pretty popular with audiences in it's day, but already well on their way to being utterly forgotten.

That is just how most movies work. They are supposed to have a limited shelf life.

PeruvianSkies
05-23-2007, 09:08 AM
I don't know. I can't actually decide if Peru is on to something. According to Boxofficemojo.com's 100 top grossing movies of all time adjusted for inflation at least 16 are from this decade. That is more than a decade's fair share if your tracking at least the last nine decades. But, a movie from this decade doesn't show up until number 29, and that is Shrek 2.

This of course assumes that box office is a proper measure of a movie's event status.

That's part of what I am trying to get at. The other thing is that they simply don't make movies like they used to, or compete with Home viewing as much. My original point was that the cinema used to have to keep on it's toes in order to compete with things like TV, Home Video, Etc. Now more than ever they need to since most people can enjoy large screens and big sound at home. However, the theaters are letting people down. Partly because of the conditions/atmosphere of the theater, and the other is the I already mentioned...they don't make movies that people really want to see anymore. I am not saying that they don't make "good" movies, but the frequency of good movies coming out is at an all-time low. People will still go to the theater occassionally, but they are limited with what they can see because often times the better movies get limited release and are overshadowed by things like THE RING 2, GRUDGE 2, GARFIELD 2, SHREK 3, PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN 2 and 3, SAW II, SAW III, FINAL DESTINATION 3, AMERICAN PIE 8, THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2, DADDY DAY CAMP, BAMBI II, BROTHER BEAR 2, BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE 2, HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2, ICE AGE 2, KUNG FU HUSTLE 2, I'll ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, I'LL STILL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, THIS TIME I'M SERIOUS I'LL STILL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER.

I did like CINDERELLA MAN. Good film and one of Howard's best. Although I am not a fan of most of his films, probably the worst two are BEAUTIFUL MIND and THE MISSING. Dreadful.

kexodusc
05-23-2007, 09:23 AM
I don't know. I can't actually decide if Peru is on to something. According to Boxofficemojo.com's 100 top grossing movies of all time adjusted for inflation at least 16 are from this decade. That is more than a decade's fair share if your tracking at least the last nine decades. But, a movie from this decade doesn't show up until number 29, and that is Shrek 2.

This of course assumes that box office is a proper measure of a movie's event status.

I don't think box office is a good measure. There's more theaters than ever before in more markets, especially in other countries. We'd also have to adjust the movie figures for population growth trends, to see what % of the economy paid what amount in real terms.

According to my quick Google search of the USA population, in 1950 there was around 149 million, in 1970 we had 200 million, 1980 had 225 million, and today over 300 million americans. That's 50% growth in population since 1970, 33% or so since 1980.

There's also more forms of entertainment competing for peoples' dollars today though.

Kam
05-23-2007, 09:29 AM
great discussion!

i think the major points have already been discussed already though, jumping in late in the game here. but i think the next trend that we're already seeing is a move away from cgi. you will (i hope and pray) start to find artists who really wish to show off their craft show that it can be done 'in-camera' ala tarantino and Grindhouse.

he has a ridiculous appreciation for the artists that have come before him and i think that final stunt in grindhouse is a direct homage to their genius that he has heavily borrowed from and been influenced by.

but on the home vs. outside argument, going to the theater (while it has lost its luster) to me, is still an event. i really do enjoy the magic of sitting in the giant theaters and seeing the curtains part (ok, admittedly then only do that at the ziegfield now) and that beautiful flicker of light. unfortunately, this has to be balance by all the aforementioned crap that we have to put up with from our fellow humans.

i'll see anything that's showing on the Imax because it has that same old 'event' feel to it. and i'll also try and go midday, weekdays, odd times, specifically to avoid the crowds i want to avoid, namely teenagers (and adults too) with short attention spans txt-ing and calling in the middle of movies.

the quality, imo, is absolutely still there. yes, it's harder to find because Spiderman 3 is playing in 4,324 theaters and Half Nelson played in 106.

And on a point Troy made, the strongest films that stand the test of time, imo at least, have nothing to do with special effects at all and everything to do with story. the most 'groundbreaking' effects are all incamera effects. Welles was the first to use Deep Focus and that is something that was then taken and used by hitchcock and depalma for a very specific effect across 3 eras/genres of filmmaking that works in each era because it is not dependant on being 'replace' by 'better cgi.' it's finding how lights and lenses work and taking advantage of physics. we're not gonna get any better at that.

ANY movie, imo, that has reliance on CGI effects (or 'improveable effects') will be replaced and forgotten when the better product comes out. They're still very fun to watch and very enjoyable right NOW, and worth seeing, but they won't stand up over time, because our eyes and minds will advance beyond what they are showing.

A movie has to touch our hearts, because those emotions will stay the same for hundreds of years. The movies that touched me emotionally as a kid, i can watch now and still feel that touch. The movies that touched my 'wonder' as a kid, i can watch and appreciate how i USED to feel about it, but that wonder isn't there anymore.

I see the glass plate keeping harrison ford safe from the snakes, i see the blue screen plates around the Tie-fighters in the original trilogy, etc. I still enjoy those movies, they are fun entertainment. BUT there's a reason why Bridge on the river kwai, lawrence of arabia, and pretty much anything else by lean are always my favorites even now.

i think in time (if not already), schindler's list will still be spielberg's calling card. jurassic and even SPR will diminish over time as 'ground breaking' as they both were. we've had such an unbelievable deluge of violence in this world since SPR that even the attrocity of watching the storming of normandy beach has diminished now that a new kind of warfare if being waged in the world with beheadings and the like. there's a new level of brutality that we've been exposed to.


ok, enough ramblings for me, thoughts are getting muddled as i lose my own attention at what i'm writing haha. i am part of the problem too!

recoveryone
05-23-2007, 11:40 AM
As Kam put it, this is a good discussion. The only trend that I see in films today or even over the years is that a story that is some what about a true event or person seem to be the ones that stick in our minds more than the fantasy ones. Fantasy lend itself to sequels due that the story can go on and on and most are from books that were chopped up to fit within 2-2.5 hours. Films like Cinderella Man, Remember the Titans can only be a one shot deal. There is no next season part 2-3-4. For myself I have been leaning toward the qusai Docudramas:

Black Hawk down
Flight 93
911
Coach Carter

I still enjoy the occasional Pirates thing, but when I watch these type I know there will be more of it to come (too many lose ends). I know there has been many Directors that have use the Docudrama style, but one that sticks out to me is Spike Lee. Most of his films take place in a limit amount of time (normally a 24-48 hour period). Some didn't like Inside man, but it struck a cord with me along with many of his other films "do the right thing" "School Daze". Films with this type of style put us in someone elses shoes that we ourselves could really be.

E-Stat
05-23-2007, 02:07 PM
After reading S Dog's recent thread, I was just curious how may people here still frequent the Movie Theater and to what extent?
Unless it's a 70mm print (virtually non-existent today) or IMAX, I'd rather stay at home and watch the HT for the same reasons you noted. The sound quality at most theatres is typical "pro audio" dreadful - hard sounding and too loud. It seems that the time between theatre release and DVD release continues to shrink. I can wait a month or two.

rw

PeruvianSkies
05-23-2007, 02:35 PM
How much more "ground" is there to break? Star Wars was groundbreaking during it's time for it's specials effects. How much farther can special effects go now? That is without becoming animated. CGI is WAY overused these days and it looks fake in a lot of instances.

Indiana Jones was not a groundbreaking film. It was a great film with a great story. Nothing really groundbreaking about it. Same thing with Titianic. I did not see what the big deal was BTW.

My point is this, a good movie is a good movie and there are still plenty of them. I would be interested to see how many movies per year were being released back in the late 70's through 90's compared to now. It seems like we are flooded with movies these days. Finding the good ones just takes a little more effort now.

How much more ground is there to break? Are you kidding me? The film format is 110+ years old at this point and it evolved throughout that entire time. To say that there is nothing else to do with it is just plain nonsense. The format was over 70 years old in the 1970's when they started to do groundbreaking work and the same is true today. Editing techniques, camera techniques, there is still more that can be done to push the envelope and to tell the narrative in a different, unique way. Can you name another format that has lasted so long? You can still take the film stock from a Lumiere Bros film from the early 1900's and still play it in a 35mm projector.

TITANIC was revolutionary in it's scope and depth with the special effects. This is one of the first films that blended live action and special effects together on this scale and this effectively. Of course it's not all about CGI, you can go back to 1958's A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (also about the sinking of the Titanic) and it was also groundbreaking with the use of the camera at various angles to make it appear that the ship was sinking.

I never said that INDIANA JONES was groundbreaking, but it was a movie event. People talked about it when it came out, it was a huge buzz film, people went multiple times to see it, it made an impression on people and is still a fan favorite to this day.

STAR WARS revolutionized more than just SPECIAL EFFECTS...it revolutionized sound design for films, it was a counterculture space opera with loads of imagination and the marketing for this film including collectables, memorabilia, etc etc have also become legendary as well. This was one of the first films to be such and has been imitated and copied so many times since then it's rediculous. It wasn't like it didn't have competition in the Sci Fi world either...that same year CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND was released. I am not even a big STAR WARS fan, but I know the facts about it and know it's importance to the contribution of cinema and the 70's.

Smokey
05-23-2007, 05:24 PM
TITANIC was revolutionary in it's scope and depth with the special effects. This is one of the first films that blended live action and special effects together on this scale and this effectively.

That might be, but the movie was a bore and overrated. They turned what could have been a moving story about the greatest ship of all time, but they ruined it and made it into a sappy love story.

Some people call Titanic an over budget Love Boat TV show :D

JSE
05-23-2007, 05:26 PM
How much more ground is there to break? Are you kidding me? The film format is 110+ years old at this point and it evolved throughout that entire time. To say that there is nothing else to do with it is just plain nonsense.

Am I Kidding? Nope. Think about it. Let's take a Charlie Chaplin film. No sound, B&W, low frame rate, etc. Now think about your favorite, T2. That's an amazing leep in "Groundbreaking-ness" to say the least. How much father can we really go in terms of sound quality, video quality? HD is pretty darn amazing. How much farther can we go beyond HD? Do you think the next advance in video and sound format will be groundbreaking? Do you think it will be a huge leap? I guess the next big step might be a virtual type experience. Who knows? But the largest advances in audio and video have been made. I can see how improvements will be made but will it be Charlie to T2 improvements.

I'm just saying thta in terms of the up till now life of film/video and audio, the biggest leaps in quality have already been made. I'm talking in terms of non-animation of of course. I can see how there is still alot more "groundbreaking-ness' left in animation.

Now something groundbreaking would be to hook shock devices up to rude people in theaters. They get out of line........ ZAP! JSE would be a happy movie going camper once again. And that's what it's really about is it not? Keeping JSE happy! :thumbsup:

Now off to watch LOST!

JSE

topspeed
05-23-2007, 05:45 PM
Hey Topspeed you live near Irvine, thats the only fully digital theater I know in So Cal. I saw SW II (AOTC) there and it was the best time I had in a theater since I was a kid. The wife and I caught a mid day peek and we were the only ones in there. Just like being at home. Actually, I live in the Central Valley, you know...where all the cows and oranges are. We're just lucky enough to to have a state of the art theater along with our dairies :p.

This has turned into an interesting thread, although it seems to be more about the merits of movie quality than ht vs. movie theaters. Someone (perhaps Troy?) mentioned the importance of seeing a great comedy in the theater, and that is something that cannot be overstated. There is a certain bonding that happens when a large group of strangers are sharing the same emotions concurrently. This is something that will never happen in the confines of our beloved HT's. It's supposed to be an event or even an escape. If I'm watching a movie on my HT, it's just not the same thing...and I'd like to think I've got a decent HT.

PeruvianSkies
05-23-2007, 06:05 PM
Am I Kidding? Nope. Think about it. Let's take a Charlie Chaplin film. No sound, B&W, low frame rate, etc. Now think about your favorite, T2. That's an amazing leep in "Groundbreaking-ness" to say the least. How much father can we really go in terms of sound quality, video quality? HD is pretty darn amazing. How much farther can we go beyond HD? Do you think the next advance in video and sound format will be groundbreaking? Do you think it will be a huge leap? I guess the next big step might be a virtual type experience. Who knows? But the largest advances in audio and video have been made. I can see how improvements will be made but will it be Charlie to T2 improvements.

I'm just saying thta in terms of the up till now life of film/video and audio, the biggest leaps in quality have already been made. I'm talking in terms of non-animation of of course. I can see how there is still alot more "groundbreaking-ness' left in animation.

Now something groundbreaking would be to hook shock devices up to rude people in theaters. They get out of line........ ZAP! JSE would be a happy movie going camper once again. And that's what it reallt about is it not? Keeping JSE happy! :thumbsup:

Now off to watch LOST!

JSE

So according to you a film needs to be of better quality in terms of picture and sound in order to be groundbreaking....what about camera technique, editing, sound design, integration of live action and cartoon/animation, new film formats, mixed genres, new narrative structures, etc etc etc.

JSE
05-24-2007, 06:42 AM
So according to you a film needs to be of better quality in terms of picture and sound in order to be groundbreaking....what about camera technique, editing, sound design, integration of live action and cartoon/animation, new film formats, mixed genres, new narrative structures, etc etc etc.


Don't all those, except for the last two, fit under Audio/Video? And no, I never said that but you did elude to that in your statement,

"Editing techniques, camera techniques, there is still more that can be done to push the envelope and to tell the narrative in a different, unique way."

that's what I was responding to.

I guess my point is this. Granted we have gone off topic here but,

I think the largest most significant advances in film/movie/audio have already been made. Will there be new formats, new "narrative structures", new "mixed genres"? Sure there will be. But to what extent? Will they be groundbreaking?

kexodusc
05-24-2007, 07:59 AM
Don't all those, except for the last two, fit under Audio/Video? And no, I never said that but you did elude to that in your statement,

"Editing techniques, camera techniques, there is still more that can be done to push the envelope and to tell the narrative in a different, unique way."

that's what I was responding to.

I guess my point is this. Granted we have gone off topic here but,

I think the largest most significant advances in film/movie/audio have already been made. Will there be new formats, new "narrative structures", new "mixed genres"? Sure there will be. But to what extent? Will they be groundbreaking?

Pfff, forget you JSE, I'm still waiting for "surround vision" , virtual reality, or at least 3-D to take the experience up a level...

Kam
05-24-2007, 08:05 AM
....new "mixed genres"? Sure there will be. But to what extent? Will they be groundbreaking?

mainstream hollywood movies and porn. :) groundbreaking? i dunno, but eva, jessica, and me in that first ever movie will be nice :)

PeruvianSkies
05-24-2007, 08:22 AM
Don't all those, except for the last two, fit under Audio/Video? And no, I never said that but you did elude to that in your statement,

"Editing techniques, camera techniques, there is still more that can be done to push the envelope and to tell the narrative in a different, unique way."

that's what I was responding to.

I guess my point is this. Granted we have gone off topic here but,

I think the largest most significant advances in film/movie/audio have already been made. Will there be new formats, new "narrative structures", new "mixed genres"? Sure there will be. But to what extent? Will they be groundbreaking?

I knew when I said 'Sound Design' that you would probably try to say that falls into the picture/sound category, but what I am referring to here is NOT the playback quality, but the key word: design of the film's sound in terms of how the sound enhances the narrative structure. There are many films that use sound as narrative cues for instance, which does not really have to do with the quality of that sound, but rather the score, soundtrack, on-set sound effects, off-set sound effects, etc etc etc. If you are familiar with the film THE PASSENGER starring Jack Nicholson there is a brilliant scene in which Jack is playing back a tape that he recorded of himself earlier. As he is listening the camera moves to where we are unable to see Jack and then when he reappears we have gone back in time to where he is recording the message. This is a brilliant transition using non-diagetic sound in order to build a certain narrative structure. There are many other instances of how the sound design can be used to also contribute to the overall narrative of the film, but I don't think I need to go into how important the overall sound (not quality necessarily) of a film is vital to the films overall impact.

JSE
05-24-2007, 12:23 PM
figures you would think that...

Oh, please forgive my lack of knowledge about "Sound Design". :confused5:


I knew when I said 'Sound Design' that you would probably try to say that falls into the picture/sound category, but what I am referring to here is NOT the playback quality, but the key word: design of the film's sound in terms of how the sound enhances the narrative structure. There are many films that use sound as narrative cues for instance, which does not really have to do with the quality of that sound, but rather the score, soundtrack, on-set sound effects, off-set sound effects, etc etc etc. If you are familiar with the film THE PASSENGER starring Jack Nicholson there is a brilliant scene in which Jack is playing back a tape that he recorded of himself earlier. As he is listening the camera moves to where we are unable to see Jack and then when he reappears we have gone back in time to where he is recording the message. This is a brilliant transition using non-diagetic sound in order to build a certain narrative structure. There are many other instances of how the sound design can be used to also contribute to the overall narrative of the film, but I don't think I need to go into how important the overall sound (not quality necessarily) of a film is vital to the films overall impact.

Um........yeah, that's still covered by Audio.

Check please!

JSE

PeruvianSkies
05-24-2007, 12:27 PM
Oh, please forgive my lack of knowledge about "Sound Design".

JSE


You're forgiven.

PeruvianSkies
05-24-2007, 12:40 PM
Am I Kidding? Nope. Think about it. Let's take a Charlie Chaplin film. No sound, B&W, low frame rate, etc. Now think about your favorite, T2. That's an amazing leep in "Groundbreaking-ness" to say the least. How much father can we really go in terms of sound quality, video quality? HD is pretty darn amazing. How much farther can we go beyond HD? Do you think the next advance in video and sound format will be groundbreaking? Do you think it will be a huge leap? I guess the next big step might be a virtual type experience. Who knows? But the largest advances in audio and video have been made. I can see how improvements will be made but will it be Charlie to T2 improvements.


JSE

Here is your post regarding "sound quality and video quality", which are not the same as "sound design" or "cinematography". Quality obviously has an important part in those areas, but you are referring to their quality during playback, which is different. The Oscars has categories for Best Sound Design and Best Cinematography, they don't have Oscars for Best DVD Audio/Video Quality.

The point here is that when we are talking about groundbreaking there are still many new things that can be done. How much better can video quality get? Well, when people first saw Laserdisc they thought it was the BEST EVER, then DVD trumped that a few years later, and now people are realizing that DVD isn't so hot when comared to HD material. So you never know how much better it can go. I can still see areas where HD still cannot compete with true film. Mostly in the color fidelity, depth, black levels, white levels, and saturation. HD is sharp and refined, but those other areas are equally important.

From Chaplin to T2...yes, far leap...very far, and when T2 was released the special effects were incredible. They still hold up fairly well after 16 years, but looking back you can still see how current special effects (when done right) can look better. CGI is quite different though as it often looks too 'digital' or 'fake' looking. Even LORD OF THE RINGS...5 years later looks dated with it's digital work.

There are still many advancements that can be made...it just takes the people who believe in them to make them happen instead of lazy people who think everything falls into the 'been there done that' category. Here's your T-shirt!

JSE
05-24-2007, 12:44 PM
mainstream hollywood movies and porn. :) groundbreaking? i dunno, but eva, jessica, and me in that first ever movie will be nice :)


Which Jessica?

3-LockBox
05-24-2007, 12:45 PM
I know it was Shrek and I should have known better than to expect peace and quite but, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Half the little snot-nosed brats were not even watching the movie but rather talking and laughing and screaming at each other. And don't even get me started on the kids! :nono:


But somehow I still like going to the theater to watch movies. Of course, I do not own an HT system, so I don't experience the same rapture at home. I have the same yahoo factor in my house on the weekends that you described in your movie theater experience. One day...

GMichael
05-24-2007, 12:46 PM
Which Jessica?

Alba,

You know, wifey number 2.

Troy
05-24-2007, 12:58 PM
The Passenger is Jack Nicholson's worst movie. Unwatchable. Hitchcock used delayed and overlapping sound effects in the 40s anyway. Altman's overlapping conversation schtick was a big change too, but these stylized things are all common now. Aside from higher-fi and electronic, synthesized sound, sound design for film hasn't advanced much in the last 30 years.

I'm with kex, the next quantum leap in "film" entertainment (bigger than sound, color or 70mm) will be from film itself into some kind of immersive, but passive, 3D experience. Virtual Reality was the term for it back in the 80s, but someday, when the processors catch up, that will be the reality.

Maybe "Brainstorm" was really prophetic . . . That Douglass Trumbull always was a visionary.

Yep, That mass-human experience of a theater full of laughing people will be missed. Another step backwards for human experience.

JSE
05-24-2007, 01:31 PM
Alba,

You know, wifey number 2.

I'm more of a Biel fan myself. You know, the BoooooooooTeeeeey!!!! :crazy:

GMichael
05-24-2007, 01:33 PM
I'm more of a Biel fan myself. You know, the BoooooooooTeeeeey!!!! :crazy:

She'll do. Bring her too.

JSE
05-24-2007, 01:56 PM
She'll do. Bring her too.


Mmmmmmmmmmm ....... Jessica's Booty in HD. Now that's groundbreaking! :idea:

Kam
05-24-2007, 04:37 PM
She'll do. Bring her too.

if i hadnt actually already met her (go ahead and hate me, it was worth it) she would be in the running for wifey #3, but alas, i must keep my wives completely separate from reality, lest they ever meet.

Worf101
05-25-2007, 06:04 AM
The shuttle from Q'uonos was held up by a run-in with Borg. Luckily a Cylon BaseShip blundered across the space time continum and allowed me to "sneak" away. Onto the topic at hand. I go to the movies still. I've an "art house" cinema near me run by folks I've known for 25 plus years. I watched em grow from a single screen in a converted porno theatre to 8 screens in a converted 50's moviehouse. They make popcorn with REAL butter, they play movies I've NEVER heard of and enough commercial stuff to pay the bills.

My band played both anniversary parties there. The Spectrum 8 Theatres is like home to me. I got there twice a month whether I want to or not. I convinced them to go DD in all of their theatres. I tell them when they need calibration (and they do it). They recently built a coffee house next door and I installed the sound system with my own to greasy mitts. I guess you could say I am almost in the theatre business so I'll never stop going to movies.

Da Worfster

PS all the free movie passes I earn for doing work round there don't hurt none neither.

SlumpBuster
05-25-2007, 07:26 AM
Two thoughs:

As to ground breaking movies and CGI, ect. ect. I saw "The Best Years of Our Lives" for the first time a couple of weeks ago on PBS. That movies 50 years old with no CGI and was groundbreaking in 1946 and still one of the most haunting movies I've ever seen. I'm still thinking about it weeks later. Similarly, The Shop Around the Corner almost as perfect a film making gets in is clarity and decieving simplicity. It is leaps and bounds better than You've Got Mail dispite the remake being in color with digital sound. You don't need technology to break gound.

As to being able to identify event or hallmark movies of this decade, that is really an impossible task. Would anyone have guessed in '80s that the Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink and Ferris Bueller would still be a right of passage for teenagers today? Who is to say whether a movie like "The Notebook" (regardless of what you think of it now) won't hold unanticipated importance in 20 years?

Troy
05-25-2007, 10:52 AM
As to ground breaking movies and CGI, ect. ect. I saw "The Best Years of Our Lives" for the first time a couple of weeks ago on PBS. That movies 50 years old with no CGI and was groundbreaking in 1946 and still one of the most haunting movies I've ever seen. I'm still thinking about it weeks later. Similarly, The Shop Around the Corner almost as perfect a film making gets in is clarity and decieving simplicity. It is leaps and bounds better than You've Got Mail dispite the remake being in color with digital sound. You don't need technology to break gound.

Yep, all great movies. I also saw "Best Years" for the first time a couple of years ago . . . I expect it to be remade before too long. Hopefully with it's poignancy intact.

As a guy that had done extrensive photography in aircraft junkyards that last scen of all the mothballed B17s almost made me pee.

http://www.lostamerica.com/aircraft.html

PeruvianSkies
05-25-2007, 11:07 AM
Two thoughs:

As to ground breaking movies and CGI, ect. ect. I saw "The Best Years of Our Lives" for the first time a couple of weeks ago on PBS. That movies 50 years old with no CGI and was groundbreaking in 1946 and still one of the most haunting movies I've ever seen. I'm still thinking about it weeks later. Similarly, The Shop Around the Corner almost as perfect a film making gets in is clarity and decieving simplicity. It is leaps and bounds better than You've Got Mail dispite the remake being in color with digital sound. You don't need technology to break gound.

As to being able to identify event or hallmark movies of this decade, that is really an impossible task. Would anyone have guessed in '80s that the Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink and Ferris Bueller would still be a right of passage for teenagers today? Who is to say whether a movie like "The Notebook" (regardless of what you think of it now) won't hold unanticipated importance in 20 years?

Right on! Two of the greatest Science Fiction films, Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS (1927) and Jean Luc Godard's ALPHAVILLE (1965) stand the test of time as films that did not use so-called Special Effects and certainly nothing computer generated. METROPOLIS is one of the earlier pioneers of using scale models, but the majority of the films impact is simply it's creativity and ingenuity that is rarely found in filmmaking today. Both of these films will live on because of their ingenious display of raw expression.

JSE
05-25-2007, 12:31 PM
Yep, all great movies. I also saw "Best Years" for the first time a couple of years ago . . . I expect it to be remade before too long. Hopefully with it's poignancy intact.

As a guy that had done extrensive photography in aircraft junkyards that last scen of all the mothballed B17s almost made me pee.

http://www.lostamerica.com/aircraft.html

Hey Troy,

Excellent stuff. I really like the lighting effects. I'll have to dive deeper into your website when time permits.

Just added you as a contact in Flickr.

JSE

3-LockBox
05-25-2007, 05:48 PM
Yep, all great movies. I also saw "Best Years" for the first time a couple of years ago . . . I expect it to be remade before too long. Hopefully with it's poignancy intact.

Its one of those, "if it ain't broke...don't fix it" things. It should just be left alone.




As to ground breaking movies and CGI, ect. ect. I saw "The Best Years of Our Lives" for the first time a couple of weeks ago on PBS



Where the hell have you two been? I saw Best Years Of Our Lives when I was a kid. Great movie though.

But if you guys have a real zen for classic movies, there's an old movie with Orson Wells in it, Citizen Kane I think is the name, that you might want to see. ;)

Woochifer
05-30-2007, 03:19 PM
JSE -

Sorry to drop by after the keg's been tapped out, but I got a little bit lost on the way! :cornut: Besides, I'm sure you got a few cold ones hiding out in the back of the fridge that I can raid!

Anyway, on topic, I also don't go to theaters nearly as much as I used to. I think the theater going experience with all the new megaplexes is much more generic yet so much more of a hassle with the traffic and crowds. Even in a dense city like San Francisco, the neighborhood movie theater is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, and I think that rootedness in the moviegoing experience is now totally missing since theaters are no longer a part of the neighborhood.

And I totally agree with you on the crowds. Audiences treat the theater like it's their birthright to prop their feet up on the seat in front of them and talk away like they're at home. If it's not the chattering, it's the cell phones, and even the text messaging can be distracting. Moviegoing in itself is not really an event or a special outing anymore, and the megaplex experience seems to embody that. The theaters don't even tell you which auditorium is showing which movie unless you ask at the box office, making it more difficult to plan the moviegoing around seeing a movie on the larger screen.

I think there are some remedies though to making moviegoing more of a special event. First off, there are the IMAX releases. My wife and I recently saw Spider-Man 3 in IMAX, and that was a definite cut above the usual cookie cutter megaplex screen. First off, the image and audio quality were stellar. Very reminiscent of when I used to seek out theaters showing certain movies in 70mm.

Also, in IMAX you will get a somewhat different crowd. Less of the talking teens, and a generally more considerate audience. Aside from the appreciation for better picture and sound quality, I think a big part of this is the higher ticket price. The regular admission at that theater is $11, but $14 for the IMAX screening. To me, an extra $3 to see a movie in IMAX is no big deal, but to someone who has more of a casual interest in the movie or sees moviegoing as just another way to pass a few hours, that $3 might be a bigger deal or having to schedule around the IMAX screening times rather than taking the next available show at some generic auditorium.

In L.A., the Arclight Cinema totally gets it right. They provide reserved seating, larger seats, wider aisles, top notch presentation quality, and they station ushers near the doors to make sure that cell phones are turned off and people aren't talking. In return for all of these extra services, they charge $14 for weekend admission ($12 on weeknights), but to me it's totally worthwhile, because the audience that theater attracts loves movies and loves the big screen experience. Not sure if that kind of theater would work in other cities (since L.A. is a company town), but it provides a model for how a modern multiscreen theater can make for more enjoyable moviegoing.

Woochifer
05-30-2007, 03:50 PM
Will these movies ever have the social currency that Star Wars did? Probably not. But Starwars isn't all that great of a product to begin with. The acting is bad. The plots are lifted. The writing is so-so. The product today is still good. It's just that popculture is evermore compartmentalized and individualized. I'm not going to listen to Top 40 when I have 200 XM stations to choose from. Same with movies. But to blame the product is to miss the mark. Sure your going to get crap like Epic Movie. But, that low brow crap has always exisisted. To pine for the lost golden age of Hollywood is to rewrite history that ignores the 1000s of B movies that kids loved and directly inspired Star Wars, Raiders, and The Godfather.

I think another aspect that has diminished the "event" nature of moviegoing is simply how the release schedules have evolved.

Back in the era of Star Wars you did not have mass releases with 4,000+ screens on opening weekend. Nor did you have home video releases coming out within a few months. The DVD has changed moviegoing into a virtual infomercial for the home video release, and movie releases are now all about the opening weekend box office numbers.

In order to see Star Wars, you had to either seek out the theater showing it (which might not have been close by), or wait until the print arrived at your neighborhood movie theater. And then, you had people lining up for hours on end so that they could get tickets to that day's screenings, and then wait hours more to get in. With mass releases and 20+ screen megaplexes, the crowds just get funneled into whatever auditorium is screening the movie next.

Before Star Wars even came out on home video in 1981, it got at least two theatrical re-releases. In order to see Star Wars again, you had to go to the theater again, since there was no place to simply buy or rent a copy for home viewing. While home video made it possible to watch movies at one's convenience, it also wiped out the market for second run and repertory theaters.

The last movie I can recall that became a phenomenon where audiences would line up to see the movie repeatedly over the course of several months was Titanic. Even if a movie comes out and resonates with audiences to that degree, I'm not sure how long a studio would let a movie linger in theaters since now they can make so much more from a major DVD hit than a long-term theatrical release (contractually, movie theaters will typically take a progressively greater percentage of the box office receipts as a release goes further into its theatrical run).

JSE
05-30-2007, 08:22 PM
JSE -

Sorry to drop by after the keg's been tapped out, but I got a little bit lost on the way! :cornut: Besides, I'm sure you got a few cold ones hiding out in the back of the fridge that I can raid!

Anyway, on topic, I also don't go to theaters nearly as much as I used to. I think the theater going experience with all the new megaplexes is much more generic yet so much more of a hassle with the traffic and crowds. Even in a dense city like San Francisco, the neighborhood movie theater is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, and I think that rootedness in the moviegoing experience is now totally missing since theaters are no longer a part of the neighborhood.

And I totally agree with you on the crowds. Audiences treat the theater like it's their birthright to prop their feet up on the seat in front of them and talk away like they're at home. If it's not the chattering, it's the cell phones, and even the text messaging can be distracting. Moviegoing in itself is not really an event or a special outing anymore, and the megaplex experience seems to embody that. The theaters don't even tell you which auditorium is showing which movie unless you ask at the box office, making it more difficult to plan the moviegoing around seeing a movie on the larger screen.

I think there are some remedies though to making moviegoing more of a special event. First off, there are the IMAX releases. My wife and I recently saw Spider-Man 3 in IMAX, and that was a definite cut above the usual cookie cutter megaplex screen. First off, the image and audio quality were stellar. Very reminiscent of when I used to seek out theaters showing certain movies in 70mm.

Also, in IMAX you will get a somewhat different crowd. Less of the talking teens, and a generally more considerate audience. Aside from the appreciation for better picture and sound quality, I think a big part of this is the higher ticket price. The regular admission at that theater is $11, but $14 for the IMAX screening. To me, an extra $3 to see a movie in IMAX is no big deal, but to someone who has more of a casual interest in the movie or sees moviegoing as just another way to pass a few hours, that $3 might be a bigger deal or having to schedule around the IMAX screening times rather than taking the next available show at some generic auditorium.

In L.A., the Arclight Cinema totally gets it right. They provide reserved seating, larger seats, wider aisles, top notch presentation quality, and they station ushers near the doors to make sure that cell phones are turned off and people aren't talking. In return for all of these extra services, they charge $14 for weekend admission ($12 on weeknights), but to me it's totally worthwhile, because the audience that theater attracts loves movies and loves the big screen experience. Not sure if that kind of theater would work in other cities (since L.A. is a company town), but it provides a model for how a modern multiscreen theater can make for more enjoyable moviegoing.


I could not have said it better myself.

Every summer the wife and I go up to Michigan to visit her family. We go to a small town named Bad Axe, Yes, Bad Axe! The original theater still has it's doors open. It's was a small one theater joint but they have since enclosed the balcony to make a small theater upstairs. The downstairs main theater still has vintage seats, wood floors, curtains, etc. Not the best screen and sound in the world but it's just fun. We see one or two movies there every year. I love gping to that place because it's treats every show like an event. I wish there were more places like this still around. While I completely agree about the "awesomeness" of IMAX and prefer them over standard theaters, IMAX, 70mm, Love seats, drink holders, huge screens can't beat the Bad Axe Theater.

Bad picture but,

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jse-images/297844053/in/set-72157594320877909/

JSE