With all the stresses in our lives, everyone is looking to get away from it all even for just a little while. Admittedly, my life isn’t all that stressful. For the most part I spend my days traveling back and forth to work almost an hour each way, sitting at my desk or in meetings at work, and playing cards when I’m not. I’m married, have 2 teenage children, a mortgage, 2 car payments, and a proportionate amount of debt. Aside from being the victim of a sedentary lifestyle and very poor diet choices, my life is pretty ho-hum.
So what gets me excited…it’s pretty simple really. Well, it’s 22 x 52 feet of fantasy and fiction supported by 100 decibels of sound effects that can change the way you feel in an instant. Simply put, movies.
I love going to the movies. Whether it’s with my family or friends or even going alone (I’ll have a whole conversation on the solo movie experience at a later date) it’s just a fantastic time. Sure I get made fun of for going alone on occasion, but deep down everyone wishes they had the confidence to stroll into a theater and plop down with their soda and candy for 2+ hours of unadulterated enjoyment. I’m not one to shy away from laughing out loud all by myself in the middle of a theater either. Yes, I’m a middle of the theater movie-goer. I don’t like sitting way out back or way up front. Sitting in the middle is a perfect combination of screen ratio and sound mixing optimization. For movies with surround sound, sitting on extreme sides or ends of the theater give a distorted account of all of the movies sounds to be heard.
There’s a strategy to picking your seat that a casual movie-goer might not understand. Ideally, you want to arrive about 10 minutes before the movie is schedule to start allowing for 5 minutes of getting the ticket and snacks before choosing your seat. Any earlier and you are very likely to eat all of the popcorn throughout the previews before the movie even starts. Once you enter the theater, you need to look for 2 things…central location and a staggered seating pattern. Yea, that’s right, a seating pattern. Ideally, you’ll find at least 2 more seats than what your group needs for a buffer zone. If you can find a space where a seats are occupied in front and to the side then you’ve hit gold. See, what you need to do is sit on seat immediately to the side of occupied seats in front of you. That way, it’s unlikely that anyone will sit directly in front of you because they would be too close to the other people already seated. Most movie-goers just want free space. But a clear view with a small chance of being obstructed is best. Of course, most new theaters are now stadium style so the staggering is not required.
Now that you’ve located your seat, sit back and enjoy the next 20 minutes of previews. Arguable, this is one of the best times of the movie going experience. If you’re with someone, it’s a chance to discuss and determine whether you want to see the movie that is being previewed. You shouldn’t talk during the movie, so this is the last chance. I’ve sat through preview sessions that I have counted to be 10 previews on occasion. Most people get annoyed with it, but those are just people who don’t know how to relax and enjoy themselves. Going to the movies is an experience. This brings me to my second rule of movie-going, duration.
Movies need to be at least 2 hours long. Gasp! Yes, in order for a movie to be worthy of consideration it needs to be at least 2 hours long…or as they list them, over 120 minutes. Why you ask? Well, with the rising cost of going to the movies, it’s the best way to get the most bang for your buck. Now I don’t want all filler to get to the magic 120 minute mark. I want special effects, some back story, character development and at least one “wow” moment to give you something to talk about on your way out. Throw in some memorable one-liners and now you have a recipe for a solid move-going experience.
I would estimate that I go to the movies between 60-70 times per year. There are times during the year that I have seen every movie that was currently playing at the theater. That even sounds a little crazy to me. However, we are just approaching the heart of the movie calendar in terms of blockbusters. Spring and early summer are usually the times when all the hyped up movies come out and I can’t wait for it. Starting this week, we have a string of 8 weeks of releases of my most anticipated movies of the year including Iron Man 3, The Great Gatsby, Star Trek, Hangover 3, After Earth, Internship, Man of Steel, and World War Z. It will surely be a great next 2 months at the movies and I’ll be sure to share my thoughts on each of these and others that I see. Stay tuned.