There are times when I forget that Eoin is European.
Europe is the biggest geographical oddity on the face of the earth, because there, everything is within convenient walking distance. Grocery stores, movie theaters, even entirely different countries are a sedate stroll away.
But for those of us who live ten, twenty, even a half hour’s drive from the nearest movie theater, we’ve all sort of learned something: the more you can do at home, the less you’re going to spend on gas. Back last year, most Americans saw for the first time just how preposterously expensive gas can get, and for the most part, we did not like this. It was getting to the point where it was actually less expensive to buy a huge home theater and never leave the house again because you’d SAVE ON GAS.
See, rather than bite the bullet and shell out several hundred bucks on a good home theater setup with some secondhand components (hardly the crap that Eoin suggests–I’d personally suggest he check out eBay and Craigslist. People often sell perfectly good components because they’re looking to upgrade, or their mortgage is about to fall through like one of those wicker bridges, and thus, cash is needed desperately.) Eoin would prefer you to do something like this.
Gas cost to reach a theater ten miles away and return home: $4 (assuming 20 miles per gallon and four dollars per gallon)
Large popcorn and coke: $12
Movie ticket: $8
And these costs only get more ludicrous should you be going with someone else, or have to hire a babysitter for the evening to leave the house.
Now, clearly, Eoin’s okay with you dropping twenty four bucks US just to see ONE MOVIE. But when you get there, things only get worse. That “theater experience” Eoin describes so raptly includes a lot of horrible stuff too. For every bit of thrilling discourse after the film, you’ll also get a guy who loves to shout advice to the characters on the screen. For every trusted friend you see a movie with, there’s five teenagers who are there to throw popcorn around, and five toddlers who shouldn’t be there but their parents couldn’t afford babysitters and thus decided to bring the kids to Cut Out His Heart And Eat It Part Seven: The Rebloodification. And leave us not forget that popcorn and soda! It was recently discovered that the medium popcorn and soda at Regal Theaters is approximately equivalent, fat and calorie wise, to eating three McDonald’s Quarter Pounders…with a side dish.
Consisting of twelve pats of butter.
Think you can do better with your own snack choices at home? Sure you can. But try bringing those carrot sticks to the movies. Theater police will descend on you like a horde of locusts, bellowing “NO OUTSIDE FOOD!” Sure, Eoin mentions improvements, but these are the exception rather than the rule. Most of the time your choices are pretty much exclusively limited to popcorn and soda.
If you want a “social” experience with the movies, by all means, you can have one. Invite your friends over to watch. Enjoy your own kind of snacks while you watch. Don’t pay ridiculous prices, AND control the content! What could be better?
Oh, and one final thing–Eoin describes, with derision sufficient for a legion of Comic Book Guys, how impossible it is to replicate the cinema at home. Of course, what he fails to realize is that the absolute size of the screen is not what’s important, but rather, the ratio of screen size to distance from the screen. Staring at an eighty foot screen from a hundred feet away is roughly the same as staring at an eight foot screen from ten feet away. The real ratio isn’t that clean, of course, but the concept applies. Your screen is much smaller than the theater’s, so you don’t need to be near as far away. As for rumble packs and such, many of these are available in home versions, but how much do you really want or need them? Will you need to have your seat shaken while watching Schindler’s List? No, I doubt it.
So why pay a small fortune to put up with a bunch of losers for an evening out? Why pay extortionate prices to hang around with morons and try valiantly to watch a movie? Your home theater is under your control and your control alone.