The (tarnished) Silver Screen

Posted: 05/12/2011 in Ramblings

I recently read an article via a friend on Facebook. I was more hurt than shocked by what I read. It seems the film business is trying everything to kill off their patronage for good. The article in question makes a few decent points, but it is the story itself that kills me as a film fanatic. I do enjoy how they chose to use the Alamo Drafthouse phone message picture in it, though.

Here is the article in question. My thoughts are below it.

First, that Alamo Drafthouse video is at least a year old, but it is still relevant. It shows the mindset you are dealing with on the consumer side of things. As for what the article is about? Screw it. People go to the theater for the experience. That includes considerate attendees. Silence is as much a staple for the audience as popcorn and sticky floors. To cater to the people who can’t be ripped from their electronic devices into reality for 2 hours without feeling withdraws is a bad move. One that will put yet another nail in the coffin. People don’t have to go to theaters to see movies. They go for the nostalgia more than anything else at this point.

Seeing the glow of a cellphone screen, or hearing the clicking of a text (taping for touch screens) rips you out of the illusion the theater is trying to create. The darkness, sound system, and style of seating aren’t a coincidence. It is to immerse the viewer as much as possible. The isolation gives the illusion of being the lens. A silent observer to the events being portrayed on film. Allowing anything to hinder that experience defeats the purpose of being in a theater.

Shame on them for giving into this. If you can’t be cut off from the internet, or cell phone for the length of a film you’re an addict.

This short entry is the same rant I gave in response to first reading the article. It may be a bit repetitive, but I felt it was important to share it with anyone willing to read it. Especially if they are film fans. It is a travesty and it points to the end of theater going as we know it. I give it maybe two more generations before it is officially dead. Between the stranglehold the industry puts on the theaters as far as prints are concerned, how selective the chains are with films rated too strongly (or none altogether), and now catering to the smallest (and arguably the worst) group of movie goers, the system is going to collapse. Going to the theater is a luxury that a lot of people can no longer afford. This isn’t just because of the economy, either. It really started with the prices being hiked as a result of the studios squeezing the chains for every dime they can for the prints. But, hey, film lovers found a way to accept it. Or at the least work with it. With this latest move, things have taken a turn for the worse.

When was the last time, outside of a midnight release you saw a packed theater? I don’t know about you, but I have noticed a decline every time I go to theaters. Hell, in the past year I have gone maybe 4 times. It is too expensive, the people are almost unbearable, and it just isn’t the same anymore. It is more convenient to stream it at home, wait for the DVD, or (SHOCK!) download it. The experience isn’t the same any longer and people are noticing. The annoyances are becoming a bit much and for what? Nostalgia? I feel sorry for this generation, and future generations. They won’t have what we all did. They don’t have it now. Hell, they barely have decent films being shown in the theaters at this point. It is like being robbed and then being annoyed for two hours. 

The only way to save it is to shut up, turn off the phones, kill the rating system, lower costs (drop mainstream films, or strike if you have to), site down and watch a movie THAT IS BEING PLAYED FROM CELLULOID. NOT A DAMN DVD. 


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