Down in the states going to the movies is a big part of their Christmas Day celebration.
I’m glad that’s not the case here in Canada, because I’m not much for going to movie theatres. It always feels like I’m risking two or three hours of my life that I’ll never get back. Instead I like to send my family to the movies and if they think the show’s any good I’ll buy the DVD. The DVD costs the same as a ticket and I can watch it as often as I like in the comfort of my own home.
Since my husband and sons all love going to the movies, they are more than happy to be my personal movie testers. However, they often shake their heads sadly and tell me I’m missing out on the whole live movie experience; that unique fellowship of gasping and laughing along with a crowd of strangers. I point out that I am also missing out on the guy in front of me checking his cell phone for messages every two minutes and the lady behind me who went snorkelling in a vat of perfume before coming to the show.
Last month we were down visiting our son when circumstances suddenly ran amok and I found myself being herded along into a theatre. I don’t think they’ll make that mistake again. I’m afraid I was a bit of a movie scrooge. I gasped at the ticket cost and then again at the concession prices. “Don’t get the popcorn.” I helpfully advised my husband and adult son and everyone else within earshot. “It’s ridiculously expensive and really, really, bad for you. They put way too much butter on it and some places still use coconut oil. Did you know that just one large movie popcorn has as many calories and more fat than a triple cheeseburger? And salt! The sodium content alone is enough to kill you!”
I had some more grisly statistics I was desperate to share, but I didn’t like the way the concession manager was glaring at me so I sidled over to a machine to get a bottle of water. I had already slipped in a toonie before I noticed that not only were the bottles smaller than usual but they cost $3.75 each! I looked around for a family member to gripe to but for some reason they were both avoiding eye contact. So was everyone else in the place. Well, except for the concession manager who was still glaring at me, but he didn’t look like he’d be very sympathetic about my water woes.
Giving a great sigh of irritation I dropped in a second toonie, grabbed my little bottle of water and then fished into the change cup for my lonely quarter when what to my wondering fingers appeared, but a whole $4.50 in change!
I was like one those irate customers that are always two people ahead of you in a line up. They start yelling about some consumer injustice and then the manager shows up, tells them they’re absolutely right and gives them a refund plus a gift certificate. They just end up standing there with their mouths hanging open not knowing where to set their rage. That was me standing in front of the overpriced beverage dispenser holding my fistful of coins. Apparently people who go to movie theatres are so rich they don’t even bother bending over to take out their change. I didn’t like the movie very much, but I sure enjoyed that water.
There is one movie theatre I read about that I would love to go to, except I don’t know if it still exists.
Back in 1955 there was this place in the States that replaced all their theatre seats with mechanical horses so the audience could watch westerns while participating in the chases and shoot outs. Air was blown into the theatre and strips of light were injected along the floor to give the illusion of forward movement. The audience were even given cap guns they could shoot off during appropriate scenes. Don’t you think that would be fun?
Until I find a theatre with mechanical horses, I’m afraid it’s just me, my DVD player and a bowl of homemade popcorn. My family — and at least one concession manager — wouldn’t want it any other way.
Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org