Theaters may be in the past for me


I am not sure I will ever go back to a movie theater.

It is not that I don’t like movies – I love movies. I have great memories of going to see movies. I saw all of the Planet of The Apes movies at the theater with my buddies decades ago. We loved those things. And it was always a double feature for 75 cents. One of our moms would drop us off and we had a few hours in the air conditioning to be lost in another world.

In my teens, we loved going to the drive in. There were two in my town, and every weekend you could find a movie worth your time. The drive in was great because it was cheap, we could sneak our friends in and you could also sneak in adult beverages, even though we weren’t adults.

And as any of you old enough to remember drive in theaters know, they were a great place to make out. Don’t be shy – you know it is true.

I haven’t been to the theater in years, but I would still go occasionally if something really caught my interest. I loved “Avatar” in the theater, and my wife and I went to see “Titanic” when it was re-released in 3D a number of years back.

But I haven’t been to a theater since we moved to this area almost six years ago. Now? Not sure I ever will.

There are a number of reasons for this. First, people are just generally ruder these days. We see this in everyday life all the time. Loud, entitled, obnoxious – our society is a mess. And please don’t blame only young people – plenty of people north of 50 are just as bad.

Talking in theaters is a big problem, as is constant cellphone usage. And don’t get me started on people loudly munching popcorn and slurping on sodas. Yuck, no thanks.

But since the pandemic hit last year, entertainment companies have pushed some great movies directly to streaming services. I love horror movies, and the latest “Conjuring” movie was dropped on HBO not long ago. My wife and I loved it.

Yes, we loved the movie, but we also loved that we could sit in the comfort and privacy of our own home and watch it on our big TV with surround sound. No kids kicking my seat. No grumpy old dudes complaining about politics during the previews.

And when you need to grab a snack or take a bathroom break? Just hit pause, baby.

Streaming has been a real game changer for many people. Yes, we pick and choose what we subscribe to, because it all adds up. But after years of getting jerked around by cable companies, cutting the cord and going with streaming only has been fantastic. We did it awhile back and have never second guessed that decision.

HBO has a ton of movies just sitting there to be viewed. Amazon Prime is excellent, and we added Shudder for a great horror movie fix. Hulu and Netflix are also musts for us. There are a ton of great TV show options and documentaries on Hulu that we love.

And that’s the thing – you can watch pretty much anything you want to watch when you want to watch it. Being in control of your entertainment is fantastic.

And even if a new movie you just have to see isn’t on a streaming service, it is available to rent, and we do that as well. I want content creators to be paid, so I don’t mind paying for their art.

I understand many people love the communal experience you get at a theater. I did too, when I was in high school and went with friends to see “Animal House, or “Alien.”

But now? Give me the couch and the pause button. And I think there are many like me. Theaters probably won’t go away. But the days of the giant multi-plex are certainly numbered.