|There is nothing more annoying than film companies moaning about how piracy and DVD are killing the cinema experience. It annoys me endlessly. If they spent more time actually improving the cinema experience, and less time moaning, we may have a compromise and meet in the middle. You never know people may start enjoying going to the cinema and come back for more.
When I was young, cinemas cared. You could buy a programme to accompany your film (I remember buying one when I saw Return of the Jedi) and ushers that would actually tell people to be quiet and actually give a shit about people who want to watch a film in peace and quiet. Over all it was the unique experience that film companies keep banging on about. A trip to the cinema for me when I was 9 was equal with a trip to the fair or a trip to London. Exciting, dazzling and magic.
Today, staff at the cinema are only there to take your money. Whether it be from your ticket, or for your sweets or popcorn. After that, you are on your own. If someone is talking throughout the film, or using their phone, or mucking about generally, it is well and truly up to you to sort it out. I suppose that is why we pay so much to go to the cinema these days, we are paying to see the film and for the unique experience of being stressed and irritated. I have been in cinemas in which you hand your ticket to the usher, who stands at a pretend podium in the middle of the walkway, and then once you pass them you could wander into any screen, with absolutely no one to stop you. Once I entered the screen in which my film was showing, it had kids inside running around - the film I was seeing was a 15. Why is this allowed to happen?
Can you imagine any other business being run in this way? It would be like going to a pub, getting past the bouncers to then find that there are no bar staff and that you have to get your own drinks and chuck out any rowdy customers yourself. As a business model it isn't exactly sustainable. Alan "Shoog" Sugar would not be impressed.
Yet, cinemas are in a unique position - they have something people want, but do not care about the people they serve.
I was in love with the cinema for many years. I would go at least twice a month, sometimes once a week. Today, I would much rather wait until the film comes out on Blu Ray, at least that way I know I can enjoy the film and concentrate, without having to worry about someone talking all the way through it. If I wanted to recreate a modern cinema experience at home, I will simply invite some kids from the local estate to come round and chat while kicking my chair while the film ticks along.
It's the mindless selfishness that annoys me most. If you want to chat while some pictures play out that you are barely interested in, throw £10 down a drain and go and sit at the window of Dixons and do it. Spare a thought for the room full of people that have each paid money to watch and enjoy a film. You utter contemptible bell-ends.
Do I miss the experience of going to the cinema? Yes. I am nostalgic for that feeling of wonderment and magic which has now been robbed from me. A modern cinema experience for me is rife with pain, suffering and anguish and something I never ever look forward to. If the cinemas are going to continue to fleece us for £10 at a time, I suggest they start to pretend that they give a solitary shit about their customers and put something in place to make the experience as painless and enjoyable as possible.
There is a first time for everything and last night I went to the cinema on my own. I went to see X:Men- First Class (my review is up at www.culturedeluxe.com). I have decided to stop giving my money to any of the multiplex chains and instead give my coin to my local, friendly cinema - the Worthing Dome. I cannot say enough good things about this cinema. The ambience is lovely, the decor is stunning (preserved since 1921) and the prices are staggering. My ticket was £6, my large Coke was £2 and my packet of peanut M&M's was £2. So that's £10 - all in. At a shitty multiplex, you would spend £10 before you even get to the sweets. This is why we should all support our local, little cinemas. They care. They care enough to make your experience memorable and enjoyable. They have souls and they have life. They don't all look the same and they certainly don't try and get as much money out of you as possible, and even if they did, I wouldn't mind as much.
I was surprised at just how quickly (and easily) I slotted into the lone eccentric role. I made the terrible error of arriving half an hour early and then buying my drink and treats. Thus locking me in the lobby. There could be no walking up the street to kill time. Instead I was stuck, sat in the corner on a couch, on my own, with half an hour to kill. Luckily I was able to tweet endlessly and try and bring Twitter down to my level of boredom. Happy times.
In conclusion, modern cinemas are rubbish, little cinemas are brilliant. People are still morons.
Follow Ted (MrJohnRain) on Twitter
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|I can honestly say that having been attending the cinema since 1981, I have only had the experience ruined by idiots once, but I appreciate that I may be lucky in this regard.
You're certainly right about it losing its magic though, but maybe that's just me getting old. That said, some of the magic has now returned since I started taking my lad to the cinema. He loves it, and of course he doesn't know any different in terms of the experience, so these visits will be the memories he cherishes.
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