Grrr! Going to the Movies

Going to the movies is a lesson in Oblivionism.

And I know. I go to the movies every week so that I can review films for the Keeping It Reel segments here on and on FOX News Mobile.

And while I get to go to press screenings, that doesn't stop the Oblivion behavior that I try so desperately to avoid, especially at the movies.

Indeed, due to the very fact that I must attend press screenings before the movies are actually released so that my reviews can run on opening day, I am subject — no, forced — to endure Oblivions.

You see, normally I'll try to see a movie during the day when the theaters aren't packed with morons, or a few weeks after a big movie opens so that I can avoid the rude people who believe the world revolves around them.

And press screenings are not immune to the lovely sounds of Oblivions devouring popcorn at 100 bites a minute.

Listening to some people eat is akin to watching marathon runners in Boston in April — their mouths are trained to go the distance until even those hard, unpopped kernels are gone.

And one would think that people who review movies for a living would be even more conscious of talking or making noise during films, but no.

At the press screening of "Jackass: Number Two," I was treated with a running commentary by none other than a fellow movie critic.

It was bad enough that the projector broke down, forcing everybody to have to move to another theater in the building, but one male critic regaled his female co-host with film festival stories (is this work or a date?) and then, once the movie started, a countdown to how much longer the film would last.

"Just 30 minutes left," and "Oh, that was funny," he said sarcastically a number of times.

On top of all of that, I found the movie repulsive.

There are a plethora of other Grrrs that come with going to the movies, like people who arrive late and then step all over you to get to a seat, or worse — ask you and your friends to move so they can sit together; people who forget to shut their cell phones off; people who kick the back of your chair or worse — put their feet up on the back of your chair; and people with excellent posture who, even in an empty theater, will sit directly in front of you.

But theater owners and movie studios are also Grrr-worthy.

For instance, why is that consumers can go to retail stores and return goods, but at the movies there is no such practice (with rare exceptions)? I've been to several movies for which I would like to get my money back.

At restaurants you have to complain during your meal, not after your meal, if you're not satisfied. You can't do that at the movies. What if the movie gets better when you're out?

And then there's the additional Grrr of getting bad sound at the movie. How many times have you been to the theater where the volume was too low or too loud? What are your remedies? Well, you can go to the box office, but the 17-year-old at the counter is usually clueless, and there's never anyone who looks like a manager in sight.

What you can do is go to the Web sites of Sony or AMC and if you submit a complaint, they will usually send you a gift certificate for your next visit. No Grrr there, however, who remembers to do so, unless you are royally Teed Off?

One thing I never really understood is why movie studios or theater owners don't discount movies — and I'm not talking about movies that have been out for six months that wind up at the $3 movie theaters.

"The Black Dahlia," for instance, was a major snorer. After getting trashed by critics and bad word of mouth, you'd think that movie theater owners would dump the flick from its theaters and add more showings of "The Departed," right?

Well, they can't. The movie studios in Hollywood wouldn't allow that.

However, why not discount movies?

For instance, over the weekend, if you weren't really early for your desired showing of "The Departed," you were probably faced with a sold-out show. What did you do? Most likely you went to Chili's and had a margarita with your friends or played some video games at Dave and Busters.

But what if the movie theater, anticipating sold-out shows for "The Departed," went ahead and scheduled "The Black Dahlia," an underperforming movie for the theater, say, 15 minutes after the most popular showing of "The Departed," at a discounted price?

So, instead of starting "The Departed" and "The Black Dahlia" at 8 p.m. on Saturday night, you start "Dahlia" at 8:15 at half price.

Who would turn that down?

It seems like common sense to me, but what do I know? Mr. T has a TV show that rips off my Grrr! column. Maybe he'll do a show from movie theaters pitying popcorn-munchers and other Oblivions.

Just spell my name right when you send me the check, Mr. T.

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