Why I Don’t go to the Movies Like I Used to.

I have gone to the movies more so than most people even if not so much lately. My folks didn’t have air conditioning when I was a toddler, but the movies did, and so they treated me on occasion to air-conditioned comfort. I’m still upset about what happened to Bambi’s mother.

And then there was the most wonderful six-weeks of my life! When I was in junior high, the civic-minded owner of both Roswell movie theaters offered an inducement to all us schoolkids. If we made the honor roll at the end of the six weeks, he would give us a free pass to any and all movies for the next six-weeks grading period!

I studied hard and got me a free pass and knew exactly how to use it. Movie theaters were big into double features back then. On Saturdays I’d go to the double feature beginning at the Plains Theater at 1:00p.m., get out and run down the alley to the Yucca Theater, where I was just in time to catch the double feature beginning at 5:00p.m. Home by around 9:30. I went with a number of friends, some of whom had made the honor roll, some who hadn’t.

I had a racket going. Four movies per Saturday for six straight Saturdays, twenty-four movies for free! I knew that I was going to make the honor roll again, and so I looked forward to running up the tally to forty-eight movies over twelve straight Saturdays. Unfortunately, the movie theater owner did not extend his civic mindedness for another six weeks. No more passes. If we made the honor roll, we had to do so of our own initiative.

And then for many years I used movie clips as illustrations for sermons. I went regularly to the movies, took notes to remind myself of what happened and how, and when I needed an illustration I rented a tape or DVD of the movie. I called Jay Thomas, a friend who was a videographer, and he extracted the illustration in a form that could be put on the screen at church. Jay and I had an assembly line going.

All good things, though, come to an end. In retirement I don’t need sermon illustrations, but what has surprised me is that I’ve stopped going to the movies much at all. At first I thought that maybe the researchers were right. People stay home and watch Netflix or Amazon Prime. And I do that a bit, but with me one of the benefits of going to a movie theater is getting out of one’s house and forgetting one’s life for a couple of hours. I don’t get that from Netflix.

So, why wasn’t I going to the movies like I used to? My wife and I figured it out. There’s nothing much showing that we care to pay to go see. Or see even if we had a free pass. Here are some of the teasers from the movie listings in Friday’s paper.

A Happening of Monumental Proportions. “Administrators at an elementary school scramble to hide a dead body from students and parents on Career Day.” I saw this years ago when the name was Weekend at Bernie’s.

The Meg.  “A massive creature attacks a deep-sea submersible leaving it disabled and trapping the crew at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.” I saw this back when I had a free pass and was watching four movies/Saturday. It was called Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. It’s been done to a watery death on the ocean bottom.

Peppermint. “After surviving a brutal attack that killed her husband and daughter, Riley transforms herself into an urban guerrilla to deliver her own personal brand of punishment.” Jennifer Garner is now playing the role made famous by Charles Bronson in the original Death Wish? Sat there, seen it.

Papillon. “Henri ‘Papillon’ Charrièe forms an alliance with a fellow prisoner to escape from Devil’s Island”. I don’t recognize the name of the actor in the leading role, but I saw the original with Steve McQueen. Like James Bond movies, Hollywood can’t improve on anything with Steve McQueen in the original.

Life Itself. “College sweethearts Abby and Will fall in love, get married and prepare to bring their first child into the world.” I feel sorry for parents who bring children into a world that has such a limited selection of movies. But not sorry enough to support them.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Be still my heart, more dinosaurs.

 The Predator. “The universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter, and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with new DNA.”  To find out the makeup of the new DNA is tempting, but I don’t think so.

Venom. “Journalist Eddie Brock develops superhuman strength and power when his body merges with the alien Venom.” Sounds like pouring money down a snake pit.

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. “Best friends Sonny and Sam meet Slappy, a mischievous dummy who brings his ghoulish friends back to life.” I just hate it when dummies do that.

Incredibles 2. “Elastigirl springs into action to battle a cybercriminal who plans to hypnotize the world through computer screens.” Isn’t the world already hypnotized by computer screens? I can’t believe that Craig Nelson and Holly Hunter provide the voices for this, but I keep reading that social security isn’t enough. We senior citizens need to keep working.

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t go to the movies that much anymore because there aren’t that many stories that interest me. But there are a few, so I keep reading the reviews.

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