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A Return to the Box Office

January 19, 2011 - Steve Schulwitz
While growing up, it was a weekly ritual to take in a movie or two at the local theaters with my friends or family. Heck, if I liked the movie enough I would walk out the exit, re-enter, then pay again to get an encore viewing.

Now I can't recall the last time I went to the cinema, let alone what flick I saw. The more I think about it, the more I wonder why we don't go more often than maybe once a year.

There is always a movie or two released weekly that I would like to see, but I always wait until they're available through another source before I watch it. Even then, there are many movies I never see because I forget about the titles.

Is it more convenient and affordable to watch them at home? Well sure. We have a 52-inch, high-def television, surround sound, Netflix, iTunes and apps on our iPads that allow us to view anything, anywhere at any time. Bathroom breaks can be had and not a scene missed with just a click or a touch, and there is never a line at the snack bar (fridge). Convenient, yes. A good time? Not so much.

Movie night at home goes most often like this...

I watch a movie I want on our Blu-ray and television, while each girl watches one to their liking on the laptops. Andrea is usually cuddled up in a blanket in her chair watching some "chick-flick" on either her iPhone or the iPad. Wow! Like we don't spend enough time on these devices as it is? We can't even watch the same movie together, while we are in the same room! Sad.

This scenario is hardly a family event like going out to a movie and getting each other's reviews during the car ride home. I miss the crowd for a feature film. Sure, there is always someone else in the crowd who can't be quiet, or the guy who laughs at a joke nobody else thinks is funny, but that is part of the appeal. Sometimes you have to deal with the person who sits in front of you with a sombrero on and blocks the screen like an eclipse, but the overall experience can't be reproduced at home, however, no matter how much technology you have.

At home you don't get the smooth smell of theater butter and popcorn, or the luxury of having someone else clean up the kernels that fall on the floor because your eating in darkness. That's worth the price of admission right there, considering the way I spill things.

If all goes well, maybe I will set up a date night for my fiancee and I this weekend. I'll be in charge of the dinner venue and leave the movie selection up to her (That I may regret.) The phones and computers will be left behind at home, and with any luck, we will have a good enough time to do it more regularly.


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