Monday, April 28, 2014

#130 He Lets Me Vent

I thought it would be six months before I discussed movies in any way here again.  I found myself again at the theaters this weekend, and my thoughts became too pressing to keep bundled inside.

My Easter movie this year was supposed to be Muppets Most Wanted.  Though the last Muppet movie didn't impress me too much, even in spite of my love for Jason Segal, I knew when I saw the commercial for Muppets Most Wanted that I wanted to see it on Easter.  Click here if you are confused as to why I would need to see a movie on Easter.  

My Easter movie didn't happen, but of course I had opened my big mouth and told Jonathan he could come with me to see Muppets.  So when, several weeks laterwe were discussing plans to go see Disney's Bears, I shouldn't have been surprised when Jonathan also asked about going to see Muppets.  

And because I have no restraint, I told him I would take him to see both movies.

I am going to give you an even shorter review of these two movies than I did in the last post.  Because the main purpose of this post is not to review movies, but to bring to question the business of movie theaters in general.

Disney's Bears

I love Disney's whole nature movement, creating movies that educate rather than simply entertain.  Bears follows a mother bear and her two cubs as they search for food, shelter, and safety.  The narration by John C. Reilly is actually enjoyable, which is surprising considering I have disliked every movie he has done since Chicago.

Muppets Most Wanted

I love the Muppets.  As I was growing up, The Muppet Family Christmas was pretty much played on repeat at my house during the month of December.  This is one of the rarer Muppet movies, and my favorite.  All the older ones are good, too.  But, now that Disney owns the Muppets....well, enough said.  They just aren't the same Muppets anymore.  Also, now that Frank Oz no longer does any of the voices, it's almost blasphemy to watch them.

How can you have the Muppets without Frank Oz?  I ask you.  What kind of lunacy is this?

Here is the grand revelation I had as I sat watching Bears on Friday night.  The movie was one hour and eighteen minutes long, but I still paid a whopping twelve dollars per ticket.

Get that right people.  TWELVE DOLLARS.  Twelve dollars to sit in the Regal's stiff theater seats* shifting my weight every ten minutes.  Twelve dollars to watch a film with one paid actor, and several bears whose theatrical skills were clearly taken advantage of.**

*Jonathan had a gift card, otherwise, dear Lord, we would have been at AMC.
**Worse than Jon Heder getting paid only $1000 for his role as Napoleon Dynamite. 

Why are movies at theaters a one size fits all price?  How come I paid $12 to see Bears at Regal, and $11.50 to see Muppets Most Wanted at AMC?

I'd like to propose my solution.  I realize it does nothing to send my thoughts out to the world on my tiny pathetic blog about...wait, what is this blog actually about again?  But the thought is bursting upon my chest so I figure, why not put it in writing to get it off my mind?

Educational movies such as Disney's Bears, should be deep discounted.  They should be $5 a ticket for all mankind.  Why?  Two reasons: 1. They aren't real movies, there are no actual characters, no climax, no conflict keeping me on the edge of my seat.  As I watched the first ten minutes, I suddenly was ten years old again, suffering through Milo and Otis.  A movie involving a talking cat and dog who have not experienced the world of CGI, is painfully boring.  And a movie about bears travelling together, their actions all being narrated by John C. Reilly, is never one put on the must-watch-again-and-again list. Of course, these movies do have their moments.  This brings me to my second reason: 2. If educational films are cheaper, they might bring about more viewers.  Although Flixster is telling me that Bears has brought in $3.7 million so far, I have to wonder how many of the viewers walked out of the theater thinking the same thing as me:  I paid twelve dollars to see a bunch of bears walk around to John C. Reilly's voice for only ONE HOUR AND EIGHTEEN MINUTES?!  

This leads me to my main solution to the absurd cost of seeing a movie in the theater.  Movie tickets should be priced according to the length of the movie.  A shorter movie should certainly not cost as much as a movie double its length.  

Hubby says this idea would eventually fail because then the movie industry would purposefully gear their movies towards being certain lengths so that they could fall into the best price category for the theaters. 

And I say, SO BE IT.  

If there is one thing that irks me more than paying twelve dollars for one hour and eighteen minutes of movie, it's paying twelve dollars for a movie that is three hours long that could have easily been boiled down to two hours.  

I'm a complicated character, what can I say? 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

#129 He Goes to the Movies

Hubby and I came up with a new tradition for our little family of two last year.  Any holiday that Hubby has off of work, we go to the movies.  This wouldn't work based on my days off, since teachers get every holiday known to man, and then some.  It's been fun so far, although we cheated and didn't go on Easter, but I'll explain.

The idea sparked when we were at the movies last summer on the Fourth of July.  We loved how empty the theater was and how, at least at our theater, the tickets were just a pinch cheaper than normal.

In the past six months, I have seen more movies in the theater than in the last three years.  I'm not too great about reviewing movies, that's usually my older brother Justin's strong suit, but here's a rundown of the movies I've seen on stock market closed holidays from November, 2013 to April, 2014.

Thanksgiving Day: Frozen

I'm a bit of a Hunger Games geek and was planning to see Catching Fire on Thanksgiving as soon as I knew that was around the time it would be released.  Then my brother, Jonathan, invited himself to sleep over on Thanksgiving night.  I tried to interest him in going to see Catching Fire by putting on Hunger Games after the parade on Thanksgiving morning.  When twenty minutes into it Jonathan was falling asleep, I decided I couldn't make him suffer through Catching Fire. even if he had interrupted my original plans.

"Let it Go" might have been the award winning song that Idina Menzel rocked with her easily recognizable pipes, but to me, the unrealized star song was "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?".  I may or may not have wiped a tear or two...or three thousand...away when I heard it the first and second time.  If you have a sibling, if you love them, if you miss them--you'll relate with this song.

The story was better than most of the old school Disney movies where romantic love conquers all.  In this case, good conquers all.

Black Friday: Catching Fire

My one complaint against The Hunger Games and Catching Fire is that those who haven't read the books are several steps ahead of any other viewers.  Hubby went to see both with me, despite his complete lack of interest, and had several questions.  Thank goodness he isn't like me and had the patience to save his questions for the end.

Aside from the required reading to have an in-depth understanding of some of the elements of the nation of Panem, I find both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire to be fantastic cinematic reproductions of Suzanne Collins' trilogy.  The arena created for the Quarter Quell (75th Hunger Games) is matched accordingly to the book, and the costumes of those living in the Capitol, as in the first movie, are provocative and have a captivating quality about them.  The actors portray their characters well, however, I personally think they could have found a handsomer Finnick.  That, of course, might just be preference.    

Christmas Day: The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Let's start with the biggest let down about this movie: I didn't realize there was a planned THIRD part.  When we went to see the movie, I was a few chapters away from finishing reading The Hobbit for the first time.  When I realized that the producers had planned a third part, I was upset.  I might have even shrieked a little in the theater.  Especially considering that the final part that remains could easily be settled in less than an hour of film.

While I love the actors, and find the graphics and other cinematic elements that I have no vocabulary for to be fantastic, it irks me to no end when a movie changes parts of a book drastically.  Drastically, as in, adding love stories that never occurred, adding events and actions that wouldn't make sense, and misplacing dialogue and actions to different days and times.  It took a lot of willpower for me to not whisper to Hubby ever single difference I spotted.

New Year's Day: American Hustle

We needed a movie for New Year's Day.  Hubby and I were both interested in American Hustle, but normally we wouldn't go see such a movie in theaters.  But because of our new holiday ritual, we saw it.  Like The Hobbit, there were incredible actors in this film, although Hollywood played up Jennifer Lawrence's role a bit too much.  Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper both amaze me with their ability to play such diversified roles.  Christian Bale isn't one of my favorites, but he played his part well.  Yet even with a great cast, this movie was really not worth my time.  It is much to do about nothing.  A long story to get to an almost ordinary ending.

Easter Break: Divergent

Hubby and I took an impromptu trip to Cape May during my first two days off of work for Easter break.  We were spending the day in Cape May and by late afternoon had made reservations to stay the night.  We had the clothes on our back, our car, and my purse...and I couldn't have been happier.  After shopping, walking up and down the beach, and eating at our favorite restaurant "Oyster Bay", we decided to liven up our night even more by going to a late showing of Divergent.

My friend, Danielle, got me hooked on the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.  Like Hunger Games, it is set in a dystopian society where citizens live in one of five factions based on a test they take upon turning sixteen.  While the structure of the society and its citizens was intriguing, I found the writing to be consistently poor.  This translated into the film, which by the last thirty minutes had me actually rolling my eyes in boredom.  The book, at least, kept me captivated and wanting to stick it out until the end.    

Hubby had the same complaint as he had for The Hunger Games.  If you hadn't read the books, the factions didn't make any sense.  It was difficult to understand which faction upheld what value, and which people belonged to which faction.

I felt the acting was as poorly played as the characters were written, and was horrified that they left out essential details to the story line.  I left thinking that Divergent would have worked much better as an HBO series.

Easter Break: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Easter Day is a tough holiday to go to the movies, especially when Easter Monday has been taken away from you due to snow days.  On Easter, we have church, then lunch with my family, and then dinner with Hubby's family.  The earliest movie we would be able to get to would be 8:00 pm.  Since we had already gone to see Divergent and had plans to see Captain America the next day with friends, we decided our Easter movie would get a technicality.   

I love Marvel movies.  I never read a single cartoon growing up, but I find the movies fascinating.  Although my favorite so far has been Iron Man the other Marvel characters have all kept my intrigue.

Captain America: The First Avenger had me a little confused, what with Captain America ending up being frozen for seventy years in the end.  My first question in these comic-book-made-movies is always, "Did this really happen in the cartoon?"  The Winter Solider was packed with so much action and excitement it didn't feel like a movie pushing two hours.  For a movie based on an super human like Captain America, I thought there was an odd abundance of car chase/crash scenes.  I'm not complaining though, because they certainly had me on the edge of my seat.

The only thing that I couldn't suspend reality for was to imagine that the woman Steve Rodgers had loved over seventy years ago could have still been alive, even if she was on her deathbed.

I'd like to imagine that I will not wait six months until I review another movie, but the truth is, it will probably be November before I update you on my ventures in the cinematic world again.