Mark at I Watch Stuff seems to drift somewhat beyond ironic mock-irritation into the realm of genuine scorn in discussing the advent of high-end movie theatres in America.
Australian conglomerate Village Roadshow has begun a 5-year, $200 million venture to create a line of swanky, upper-class cinemas that boast "plush reserved seating, special parking privileges and upscale food and beverage offerings with seat-side waiter service," (no exclusive water fountains?) plus "a 40-seat-maximum patron capacity and an even higher-end atmosphere [than existing deluxe theaters]". But, of course, such luxurious amenities come at a price: an inflated $35-a-ticket price tag, just high enough to keep out the hoi polloi.
Some of our friends tried one of these in Australia and loved it. I think Mark is full of shit on this one. Movies are no longer about everyone coming together to watch the newsreel of our boys in Patton's army fighting across Europe. Now the shared experience is that everyone either is an asshole or has to deal with one. When I go out to a movie now it usually already means that I'm having to float a loan or sell a kidney to get a baby sitter. So when I go, it pisses me off something fierce to have little thirteen-year-old Tami McRemedialclass yapping into her fucking Razr about whether she and Nebraska and Propecia are going to be meeting up to huff paint fumes behind Starbucks or at somebody's pool house. Last time I went to a movie with a friend, instead of the wife, it was showing of the second Pirates movie and a whole row of little punks was whispering and punching each other and taking calls and generally acting in a way that made me wonder if bringing the draft back would be such a bad idea. They didn't so much laugh off threats as seem incapable of following them. I went to talk to an usher, but he, too, was not born until I was already skipping Property class in law school, and looked incapable of adjusting the collar on his burnt-orange theatre-chain polyester shirt, let alone deal with his peers. And yet if I had done what was morally right — wait until after the movie, then kick one of these kids in the crotch so hard that his nuts wouldn't descend until Chelsea Clinton runs for Senator — I would have been treated as the criminal. Fuckers.
So anyway I am totally cool at this point with paying $35 to see a movie in luxury an with access to food that is not typically advertised with a jingle, if it will weed out some of these little shits. Ultimately, though, I think this is the wrong time to be sinking money into big movie theatre concepts. DVDs hit the shelves pretty fast, they look great in Blu-Ray, and I really don't need signals about when to laugh from a room full of people who are only there because Drillbit Taylor was sold out.
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