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Cinematic Choices

Over the years, I’ve noticed a change in not only my taste in genre of movies, but also a preference for theaters and time of day to visit.

Just a few years ago, I would have said the only “good” time to see a movie is on a weekend night– the same time the rest of the world also seems to think is the best. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate the mid-afternoon show, and have found that time makes for a better experience overall.

Even on the opening weekend for a blockbuster movie, the early afternoon just seems less crowded, and I’ve managed to have a better selection of seats at those times over trying to attend a weekend evening show. If I want to sit in the middle of the theater, chances are there will be plenty of available seats, and I probably won’t have to worry about that seemingly ever-present tall person sitting in front of me, effectively blocking a clear view of the screen.

Also, the composition of those daytime viewing crowds has been more pleasant in my experience– there have been fewer people talking or moving around during the show, and I haven’t noticed anyone using a cell phone during the handful of afternoon shows I’ve attended, whereas with the evening ones this summer, the amount of noise and phone use during some of the shows have almost ruined my viewing experience.

During a few recent trips to the movies–all with different people– I started compiling a mental list of preferred behavior/actions for my movie companions. I don’t think my preferences are much different or more specific than most people, as I enjoy watching a movie with people who are excited about the film, and would be willing to have even a short discussion afterwards. Some movies don’t really require anything more than a “that was awesome,” but for ones where I had questions after, it has definitely been nice to have someone to bounce my thoughts off of after the movie.

Talking during the movie is pretty rude in general, but I’ve found that a silent poke or brush of an arm/leg, followed by a quick whisper with a comment or thought relevant to the scene is actually okay, and much better than going with someone who will randomly comment in a loud voice their thoughts during certain parts of a movie. I usually enjoy hearing whatever comments a friend has, but making a lot of noise makes me fearful of causing a scene and is a little embarrassing.

Snacks, or at least something to sip on during the show, have pretty much become a must-have part of the show for me, and I’m usually game for grabbing a bag of popcorn, or sharing it with a friend. For “chick flicks,” especially when going with my girl-friends, candy of some sort usually happens– it’s perfectly fine to splurge every once in a while and get that king size candy bar, or box of snow-caps. 🙂

The other big difference I’ve noticed is actual choice of theater. I used to only go to the multiplexes, but have found the smaller local theaters around St. Louis have most of the same amenities (sound, screen, seats, etc) as the mega-theaters, but with a lot more ambiance, and much smaller crowds.  Sure, the parking situation at some of those smaller places can be a bit of a pain sometimes, and I’ve had to parallel park a couple of times– an activity I’m horrible at– but that’s a risk I’m willing to take any day to have a better overall experience.

Are you an avid movie-goer, and if so, have you ever noticed your tastes in theater type or time of visit changing? What are some of your preferences for taking a trip to the theater, and traits of a “perfect” movie companion?

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