What happened to the joy of going to the movies?

It really struck me today that I just don't look forward to going out to see a movie anymore.

Our daughter is going to a sleepover and my wife suggested that we should go out and catch a movie... something good, like maybe The Aviator. My reaction was a very muted "Yeah, sure, I suppose." A few years back I remember chomping at the bit to get out and see a flick at the local multiplex, and I remember being annoyed at the fact I was only able to get away maybe twice a month to see something on the big screen. She even commented, saying hey, we don't have to go out and see something.

I guess I've just been worn down to the point that it's just not much of a thrill any more, and the finger can be pointed at a number of sources that are at fault:

Escalating movie ticket prices

Sure, they're cheaper where I live now, but before I left San Diego the evening ticket price was within spitting distance of $10. Take your wife and kid with you and you've spent $26 just to get in the damned door, never mind popcorn and a drink.

Commercials before movies

This might not be as bad if it were not following the previous reason. Drop a ton of cash at the door and now I have to sit through as many as eight commercials before I even see a movie trailer? It started out sneakily, with one or two creative/funny commercials, but now it's the same junk that's on TV. Heck, with my Tivo I don't even watch commercials at home. Do the studios really think I want to pay to watch them in a movie theater??

Product placement during movies

This was the precursor to commercials before the show. This one burns me almost as much as the previous item. For some reason any time I see a brand name it sucks me right out of the film. Sometimes it's so blatant that I don't feel like I'm watching a movie so much as walking through a mall (Total Recall, anyone?).

Loud talkers and cell phones

Do I really need to say much about this? Hello? You are not sitting at home on your couch with a beer in your hand where you can talk to your wife/kids/husband/dog in the middle of the #$#%$ movie! Have some respect and consideration for the rest of us, would ya?

Parents bringing kids to inappropriate films

Ever since I became a father I've become extremely sensitive to this, and it drives me INSANE to see parents come into a showing of an R rated film towing four, six, and eight year old kids behind them. Every time something that earns the movie it's R rating is on screen I think of the kids little sponge brains sucking it all in.

Overly loud volume

This is what happens when you have teenagers in charge of the volume control. There have been times where my ears actually hurt due to the volume of sound coming out of the speakers. I've sat through moments where it was turned up so loud that you could hear the speakers cross the edge of clarity into garbled noise.

The Alternative

With the advent of surround sound systems for the home, big screen HDTV monitors, DVD players, online DVD rental, and Tivo satellite systems (of which I own all of the above), who needs to go out to see a movie and get the full effect? I pop a mean bowl of popcorn, and can kick back with a nice dark beer (that costs less than a small soda at the theater) in my leather recliner, control the volume, and pause the movie when I need to. And the floor isn't sticky, either.

It's good to be the king.

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