Expense, Schmexpense...

The bag-girl at the grocery store was wrong. She wanted her $10 back after she saw the new version of John Carpenter's 1980 atmos-fest The Fog. I felt that, actually, only about $8 back would be warranted in the case of my visit to the film. Of course, I went to a matinee and it only cost me $8. Matinees, teenagers, matinees... I know it's only cool to go to movies at night with your friends, but you can save yourself two whole dollars. Put it towards your condom fund and stop having babies...

Truly, I do not require any of that $8 back. I have three mottos that I live my movie-going existence by: the first is "I Will See Any Movie Once" and the second is "Any Movie, At Any Time." (I will tell you of the third motto at another time.) The second motto ensures that any time a friend or relative asks if I want to see a film, and I not near death or have other plans already, I will absolutely go to that movie, no matter what it is; the first motto is basically a check to make sure that I don't weasel out of a film belonging to a genre of which I am not especially enamored. This explains how I keep ending up at Sandra Bullock movies.

This also means that I never whine about the expense of going to the movies. People act with shock over the rise in ticket prices, meanwhile the price of gas and every other freaking thing in the world goes up in price at the same pace, if not more. Sure, like anyone, I wish movies were less expensive, but that is just not going to happen anytime...ever. So, I lie to myself, pretending that my $8 or $10 buys me two hours in a dark room, where I can relax and shut out the outside world (however little I actually let that happen), letting my mind drift, bounce and crash through whatever fantasy path that I have chosen for that afternoon or evening. You are really renting an empty chair for 4-to-5 dollars an hour, and as a bonus, you get to watch a movie.

Of course, people then whine about the expense of the food and drinks at a movie, and yes, they are exorbitantly priced in general, but no one is forcing you to eat or drink at a movie. While I do often do have a beverage at a film, I rarely get anything to eat. First off, the myth that movie popcorn is some sort of sacred treasure is just that: a myth. Ever see the counter attendant pour a large garbage bag of pre-popped popcorn into the bin? You rarely get freshly popped corn at a theatre anymore. (I am not speaking of revival houses where they revere such experiences). Don't even get me started on the "butter-flavored" topping. The only thing in the world that tastes like butter is butter. So, unless you pull out a stick and start melting it in front of me (as they would at the late, lamented Capri Cinema back in Anchorage), I don't want anything to do with it. I don't want anything on my popcorn that oozes sludge-like from a pump sitting on the counter.

I understand that movies, in the minds of most people, are supposed to be an experience, and often that experience includes a silo-sized tub of sludge-corn, a mega-mega-mega-volume soda and an encyclopedia-sized box of chocolate tooth-gluers. And sometimes I partake of that exact same experience, too. But you don't need to do that every single time that you go to the theatre. Without even being cheap about it, you can go to a film and just see the film. Enjoy or hate the movie on its own terms, and don't worry about the expense of the experience. The experience is what you make of it, and so is the expense. Don't let the expense cloud your judgement of a film. The expense is what it is: everything is expensive these days. I'm not making an excuse for the theatre chains: they probably do charge too much for films and food and drink, but they are in a business and the consumables are where the theatres make their profits. If people didn't want to come partake of their product, they would be out of business. Proceed however you wish...

As for myself, going to movies is one of my avocations, and like any hobby, there is a certain expense involved in supplies. And I have accepted the cost of those supplies. If I mean to see movies at a theatre, then that is the price that I have to pay. If I am low on bucks that night, I don't go. I make a judgement call. Of course, the "Any Movie, At Any Time" motto often causes me to go broke momentarily, but not since I left Anchorage for warmer climes and now have a decided lack of local friends to tempt me with choices.

This post was supposed to be about my review of The Fog, but instead of writing about it, I seem to have gotten lost in it...

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