Readers: With Ironman 3 breaking box office records last week, I thought it was the perfect time to repost this popular selection from the Len Penzo dot Com archives. — Len
Let me tell you, sometimes this working-for-a-living thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been in one of those high-pressure do-or-die phases that requires me to be at the office from six in the morning to six at night. Sometimes even longer.
I’ve been away from home so much lately, the long hours have really started to take a toll on me.
Last Thursday, I came home after a particularly long and grueling day, only to be caught off-guard by the sight of a stranger who was sitting at my kitchen table, scarfing down a bowl of ice cream. Although the young man before me looked vaguely familiar, I couldn’t quite place his face. “Hi there. Have we met before?” I asked.
“Uh, it’s me, Dad — your son. Matthew. Remember?”
Apparently my teenage son had gone through puberty while I was away. “Of course, I do, son. I’m just really tired.” (Note to self: Next time out, remember to buy Matthew a razor.)
Needless to say, this past weekend I figured it would be wise to leave the office behind for a few hours and take the family out to see a movie at our local theater.
So I got online to see what was playing, and couldn’t help but wince at the prices: It was going to cost me more than $40 just to get my family of four through the door. Throw in some popcorn, drinks, and the Raisinets — I’m sorry, but a movie isn’t a movie without the Raisinets — and before you know it the price for two hours in the theater is somewhere north of $70.
After thinking about it, I ultimately decided to find something else to do, if only because a trip to the movie theater would undoubtedly end up giving us significantly more than we bargained for. For example:
Babies with an acute case of colic. Look, I realize babysitters are expensive, but it’s not as if there aren’t reasonable alternatives out there. For example, what’s wrong with picking up a couple of $1 movie rentals from the local Redbox kiosk, ordering a pizza for home delivery, and enjoying a picture from the comfort of your own home?
Blocked views. I’ve been told that only 5% of the American population is taller than 6′-2″. Even so, someone taller than that sits in front of me at the theater 95% of the time.
Endless trailers. The last time I was at the theater, I was “treated” to 20 minutes of trailers. It got so bad that, after approximately 18 minutes, the crowd actually started getting a little bit hostile. A few people even started throwing popcorn at the screen. I’m not kidding.
Blaring movie sound. Although I can’t prove it, I’m certain that movie theaters think that they can make any crappy movie better by simply raising the volume. Then again, maybe that’s not such a bad idea when setting the volume knob to 11 helps drown out the sound of:
Loud eaters. I’m not sure how my dog does it, but even when he eats something as innocuous a single potato chip — never mind a bowl of Alpo — everyone within a ten-foot radius is immediately immersed in a gluttonous cacophony of gastronomical sounds: biting, crunching, lip smacking, chomping, slurping, slobbering, and moaning. Theater-goers eat their popcorn the same way. At least when they’re not throwing it at the movie screen — or the backs of tall people blocking their views.
Cell phones addicts. Come on, folks. Are you really so important that you can’t become inaccessible to the world for two hours? Turn your phone off — I promise the world will still be here when the movie is over. (The next theater owner who makes his place impervious to cell phone signals will become an instant billionaire. Trust me.)
Chair kickers. I realize this is anecdotal evidence, but I’ve found that chair kickers only seem to show up for Disney and Pixar pictures. So I’ve written both companies to request they start producing more R-rated movies.
Tardy folk. After twenty-plus minutes of trailers, how is it that people still manage to come in late to a movie? The unavoidable distraction of a large group of temporally challenged oafs fumbling through the dark and trying to locate adjoining seats in a hopelessly-crowded theater is excruciatingly annoying.
Advertisements. I can overlook the blatant product placements within the movies themselves, but after paying a small fortune to get into the theater, why should we be subjected to an endless stream of commercials before the film even starts? Maybe all those fashionably-late movie goers are smarter than I thought.
Anyway, for essentially the same amount of money I would have spent at the movie theater, I ended up taking the family out for a bite to eat and then back home to watch The Adjustment Bureau on pay per view. I’d love to give you a quick movie review but, to tell you the truth, I fell asleep midway through the film.
Here’s hoping I won’t be so tired next weekend.
Photo Credit: Joelk75