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Friday, June 17, 2016

Movies Have Lost That Loving Feeling

Okay, so where am I?

I can tell you that I'm not in federal court with one of those cantankerous Californians filing lawsuits against Starbucks, hell-bent on taking down the the java king over underfilling their lattes. I mean, geez, cozy up to the barista and get a little more milk poured in. Last time I complained, I got a free drink and a new coffee. What a deal!

There may be some truth that I am at the movies taking in Central Intelligence, starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. I'm not used to standing on line for a movie, but I definitely wanted to smell what The Rock was cooking and I had a fresh, fully-filled Venti drip from the aforementioned Starbucks, so life was good. The movie didn't disappoint, but honestly, the movie industry itself is starting to disappoint.

They seem to be in panic mode because of Netflix, spiraling costs and the rude, loud unwelcoming nature of the movie theatre experience itself. But as I sat through nine movie trailers (yes! nine! -- shame on you Cinemark) totaling twenty-four minutes I realized something else: there's no mysteries or surprise anymore.

Now there is so much information, so far in advance before a movie comes out that it's anti-climatic. Everything about it is known. You feel like you've already seen it. What was intended to promote a film, now serves as buzzkill instead.

I loved the movies once. Still do. I went with my mom to see a movie almost every Tuesday when I was a kid. Top Gun was in theaters so long that I was able to take three different dates hoping to find that lost, loving feeling. (The same crash and burn scenario occurred all three times, yikes!) Now my son and I count the days down to the next Star Wars installment a year in advance.

My first theater experience I can remember was seeing the blockbuster Earthquake in 1974 when disaster movies were all the rage. I remember looking up in awe at the big screen and waiting for the Sensurround to kick in.

What's Sensurround you ask? Only the greatest thing ever in 1974! Here's the theater notice that appeared in newspapers all over the country:

"ATTENTION! This motion picture will be shown in the startling new multi-dimension of Sensurround. Please be aware that you will feel as well as see and hear realistic effects such as might be experienced in an actual earthquake. The management assumes no responsibility for the physical or emotional reactions of the individual viewer."

Who wouldn't want that?! Yet, I digress...

Anyway, as the opening credits rolled all I knew was this was an epic disaster movie set in my hometown of Los Angeles and you knew it starred Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, Lorne Greene, and George Kennedy. Beyond that? Everything was onscreen, unfolding right before my wide eyes. Today? You would have seen a sneak peak trailer sponsored by Pepsi a year ago. You would have read reviews, seen a bunch of Internet bloggers dissecting it, along with IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, reviewed that would have added to you skepticism to see the movie in the first place.

If Earthquake comes out today, I am already sick of it before I click on Fandango to order a movie ticket. I not only know what parts of Los Angeles are ruined, but also how many died and how many floors are left of the Capitol Records Building. Why? Because all of the details would have been reviewed over and over again.

Hey movie industry, SPOILER ALERT!: you're spoiling the movie going experience by vomiting too much information about the movie before it's released. It would be like George R.R. Martin revealing the end of the last Game of Thrones book in the Forward. Bring back the mystery and mystique.

There are no movie scenes anymore that make us gasp because they've all been rumored, teased, speculated, or openly discussed or seen. There can never be the surprise of a Psycho shower scene because we would have already seen it in the trailer and watch Alfred Hitchcock dissect it on Conan or Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Movies should be an escape from reality. And I mean the modern reality of knowing way too much about the movie before you plan your Friday night trek to the movieplex.

How about bringing back ignorance as bliss?

When I walk into a theater, I want to literally and figuratively be in the dark about what I want to see.

Give it a try yourself and you'll find that you like your movie experience that much more.

Above: The Earthquake trailer told you everything and nothing all at once.