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bclouse
03-03-2005, 04:41 PM
When I was younger, I always felt that if a film was worth seeing it was only worth seeing on the big screen. I'd sometimes see 4 movies during a weekend. Nowadays, I'm lucky to catch 4 movies a year in a theater.

I watch movies mostly at home now, if I watch them at all. I just joined Netflix and I'm hoping to get back in the habit of watching films. But I almost feel guilty waiting till a movie comes out on DVD before watching it. For some reason, I feel like I'm missing out on the experience of watching films the way they were meant to be seen. That I'm cheating myself.

But I have started to enjoy the benefits of watching movies at home. Not having to deal with some annoying person, being able to take as many breaks as I want without missing any of the film. Plus because of my work schedule, I don't really have anyone to go to the movies with. It didn't use to bother me but I hate going alone anymore.

The experience is definiately different when you have control over the movie rather than the movie controlling you, but both have their upsides.

What about you? Are you an avid theater goer? Or do you rather watch movies in your underwear? (hopefully at home). If you go to the big screen one or more times a week, I envy you.

Odinoneeye
03-03-2005, 04:44 PM
Most action movies, I prefer on the big screen. I have a large screen TV and surround sound, but the experience still isn't the same.

Comedies I can usually get the same experience at home than I can at the theater.

fusoya
03-03-2005, 04:46 PM
with the $10.25 base price in NYC, I will only go to see a movie in the theaters under three conditions:

1. it's a movie which I have been anxiously awaiting the release of, and want to see ASAP
2. it's a movie (usually action or epic time-piece) which I'm interested in seeing that I can just tell won't be the same watching on a 26" screen
3. if I'm with a group of friends, and we can't think of anything better to do (yes, that's possible even in NYC), then we'll head over to the theater and see something.

otherwise, I can wait

btw - one of my huge pet peeves is when somebody asks me if I "saw it at the movies" .... #1 if you mean I saw it at the THEATER, then say so! Refering to a movie theater as "the movies" is one of the stupidest synonyms I've ever heard and #2 who cares WHERE I saw it? Do you really deserve bragging rights for saying that I saw Million Dollar Baby on the big screen, BEFORE it got nominated for any oscars? Lots of people I know seem to think so....

Shabadu
03-03-2005, 04:52 PM
I really enjoy the theatre going experience, and I will always prefer that to just renting a movie. I do agree though it is getting difficult to find people to go with me with the increasing prices of movies, but I am usually able to go a number of times a month. I often cannot wait until a movie comes out on DVD.

On the other hand, I will always be excited about renting movies because I enjoy watching all of the extra features and commentary.

In general, I just may watch way too many movies both ways.

MovieMogul
03-03-2005, 05:07 PM
I operate on the assumption that if I don't see a movie in the theater, I probably won't see it. I very rarely rent, and will only watch movies at home occasionally (infrequently enough that Netflix is not even economical for me). I see somewhere in the neighborhood of 150-200 films a year, old and new (features; this figure does not include shorts), and I'd say about 70-80% are in the theater.

Though I am fully capable of enjoying and appreciating films on my TV set at home, that is not where they were meant to be seen. They were meant to be seen in a theater, and the difference in experiences is so dramatic for me that they are useless to compare. I should note that, as a professional film archivist, I tend to be particularly fetishistic about this sort of thing, though, and fully recognize that a lot of people view the relative worth of the two venues quite differently.

Duderdude2
03-03-2005, 05:24 PM
Theaters all the way. Watching them at home simply can't duplicate the same feeling, despite having a nice TV and a kickass sound system.

And perhaps I'm in the minority, but I like not having control over the movie. At home, if we have to pause it for whatever reason, it dampens the impact of the film imo.

pinkfreud
03-03-2005, 05:25 PM
I seldom leave my home because of a chronic illness. I cannot walk far without assistance, and being in a seated position for several hours is painful for me. A movie has to be mighty big for me to want to go to a theater to see it.

The last movie I saw in a theater was The Polar Express, in 3-D IMAX, last November. 3-D IMAX offers an experience that I can't get at home. It was stunning.

Jayn_Newell
03-03-2005, 05:50 PM
I don't watch very many movies unless they're on The Movie Network. Most movies I'm just not that interested in watching, and I couldn't care less if I ever see them. I'm much more likely to see a movie on DVD than at the theatre, and I usually buy or borrow, not rent.

There's practical reasons for this though--growing up the theatre wasn't really nearby so we never went much. The nearest threatre is a 45 minute drive from my house--not overly far really considering the area, but it's also small so sometimes movies I wanted to see never got there at all, or were only there shortly. I don't think Troy was ever played there. So I never got into the habit of going to the movies, and if I did it was a real treat. Now I only go if it's something I really want to see, or it's someone else's idea. Neither happens very often. (And the last time I did go, I walked out rather dissappointed. I have better things to spend $8 on)

Selkie
03-03-2005, 05:50 PM
I love the experience of seeing movies in theaters, so much so that I used to frequently drive to the theater first, and what movie to watch was secondary to seeing a movie. I recently noticed that I'm watching a higher percentage of movies on DVD these days than ever before. Rising ticket prices ($7.50 for a matinee, $9/up otherwise), growing numbers of commercials delaying the start of the film (trailers I love, but one more Fanta ad and I'll lose it), those annoying anti-piracy dots, poor print quality, and realizing that fewer and fewer movies that justify the inconvenience, and DVD's starting to win the war. I do still try to catch the "big" films that might lose a lot on the small screen, and the occasional "gotta see it right away" movie, while they're at the theaters, but even those I don't sweat if I miss.

Uvula Donor
03-03-2005, 06:01 PM
I love seeing movies in the theater. I think ArchiveGuy nailed it when he said that movies were meant to be seen there. Even with a gorgeous wide-screen TV and a sweet surround-sound system, watching at home is not the same.

Even so, if a movie is a particular favorite, I'll rent it - or, more often, buy it - for home viewing because I also like the added features of a DVD, like the deleted scenes, commentary, etc. It's still better for me if I've already seen the movie in the theater, though.

Um...that said, though, I should note that between DVDs, Fox Movie Channel, and TCM, probably 80% of my home TV viewing is movies. I couldn't care less about network television any more.

iamthewalrus(:3=
03-03-2005, 06:21 PM
I used to love going to movies at the theater. I went to about 100-150 movies a year. But now I have a digital projector that throws an 8 foot image onto my wall and surround sound. I can make my own popcorn, invite some people over, mix a few drinks, and have the kitty curl up on my lap while I watch for about $10 total. I almost never make it to the theater any more. I've yet to see anything in the theater this year, although I'm sure I'll make it out to see Hitchhiker's Guide.

Stranger On A Train
03-03-2005, 06:36 PM
Here in Los Angeles (area) we're home to the world's best cinema (http://www.arclightcinemas.com/about.jsp;jsessionid=c4301148391109893049203). It is, quite frankly, a pleasure to see movies here. Unfortunately, our other local theater chains, like Pacific and UA, suck just as bad as they do everywhere else in the United States. We do have a concentration, though, of art houses (Landmark and Laemmle), which often show pics that are not only not available at most cinemas but often don't even make it onto DVD. I also tend to spend a fair amount of time at revival houses, seeing films that aren't on DVD.

Since I don't have a TV currently, I don't really have much of a choice, but even if I did, I'd rather see a film in a theater with the big screen and a few people. I dunno, it's just part of the experience. On the other hand, I find a lot of moviegoers really annoying for reasons that are too obvious to reiterate, so I tend to pick days and times when the films sparsely attended. The last time I went to a regular showing at a normal time of day ("The Incredibles") I spent a good part of the film with a kid kicking the back of my chair and the parent growling under his breath because I chastised his kid for doing so. Grrr...

Stranger

bclouse
03-03-2005, 07:12 PM
Here in Los Angeles (area) we're home to the world's best cinema (http://www.arclightcinemas.com/about.jsp;jsessionid=c4301148391109893049203). It is, quite frankly, a pleasure to see movies here. Unfortunately, our other local theater chains, like Pacific and UA, suck just as bad as they do everywhere else in the United States. We do have a concentration, though, of art houses (Landmark and Laemmle), which often show pics that are not only not available at most cinemas but often don't even make it onto DVD. I also tend to spend a fair amount of time at revival houses, seeing films that aren't on DVD.

I live in L.A. also (well, Glendale) and if I go to the movies, it's usually at the Arclight. I don't go often but a friend who does thinks the quality of service has gone down. I can't verify but I have noticed that the ushers don't show you to your seat anymore.

I do like the newer Pacific theaters. Especially the one at the Grove and the Paseo in your neck of the woods. Pasadena has a bunch of great art theaters.

Zebra
03-03-2005, 11:39 PM
I'm very lucky in that a perk of my job is that I don't have to pay to go to the movies.

So yeah, I see a lot of movies in the theatre.

But then again I love watching movies on DVD. I can't watch Eternal Sunshine in the theatre right now. I can't watch Bambi in a theatre right now. So I watch them at home.


It's nice at home being able to watch something over and over. To stop and back up and watch frame by frame like Vader cutting off Luke's hand or one of the huge complex dance numbers in Oliver! and be able to watch one particular 'background' person.

But in The Silence of the Lambs there is a series of great close ups on Lecter's face as you learn about what the title means. In a theatre, when his face is 30 feet tall and he is staring down at you, well, it just a completly different expierence from when his face fills up your tv screen. It doesn't have to be a huge action film for it to be better in a theatre.

GuanoLad
03-04-2005, 12:15 AM
Theatres suck. Crowded, noisy, expensive, overrated, with no control over comfort, viewing times, or practically anything else.

So what do they offer? Screensize I don't care too much about, surround sound is irrelevant to me, and that just leaves release dates. Considering two of the movies I was looking forward to last year didn't get released here in Australia until three weeks after the US DVD release (Sky Captain, and Hellboy) then even that factor isn't that significant anymore.

End result - home theatre all the way.

The so-called theatre experience that the fans seem to love so much? I have no idea what it is they are talking about, because it sure hasn't made its presence felt for me.

KGS
03-04-2005, 12:52 AM
I used to go to theaters all the time but it's just too bloody expensive right now. Plus, I'm a smoker and two hours is a wee bit too long to go without my fix. :) (Nicorette helps, but I don't always have it with me.) Only three times have I seen a movie where I didn't get the urge to smoke or chew gum at all -- the three Harry Potter films. I have no idea why. (Someone suggested I could quit smoking by watching Harry Potter 24/7, but it only seems to work the first time...)

DVDs are cheaper (when you rent 'em) and you can watch at your own leisure. Rarely do I watch a whole DVD from beginning to end -- I'll stop halfway through, do something else for a couple hours, then watch the conclusion. Plus they've got all those extra features like commentaries and documentaries that theater movies lack.

rjung
03-04-2005, 02:01 AM
I live in L.A. also (well, Glendale) and if I go to the movies, it's usually at the Arclight. I don't go often but a friend who does thinks the quality of service has gone down. I can't verify but I have noticed that the ushers don't show you to your seat anymore.
Try the Director's Room at the Bridge in West L.A., just north of the airport. I saw The Incredibles there, and the big cushy leather seats and the usher service really added to the fun. :)

Washoe
03-04-2005, 02:14 AM
Theaters are just too damned expensive now, even if I smuggle in my own candy. Besides, my wife is deaf and Im partially deaf. I like captions, and she needs them. When we finally get that 50" Sony Wega plasma TV (and that day will come, mind youit will come), I seriously doubt well ever set foot in another theater again.

Stranger On A Train
03-04-2005, 03:30 AM
The so-called theatre experience that the fans seem to love so much? I have no idea what it is they are talking about, because it sure hasn't made its presence felt for me.
On some films, it doesn't really matter, and not just cheap films...I can watch "Rear Window" either way. But some films it definitely makes a difference. The scene from "Lawrence In Arabia", where T.E. Lawrence is riding out of the desert with his fallen comrade, staring from a blank, sunburnt landscape, then a tiny black dot which emerges, over about three minutes, into Lawrence, just can't be grokked on TV. Ditto with "2001: A Space Odyssey"; in the confines of a TV screen it is every bit as boring and pointless as many people complain. But throw it up on a 20ft screen and the visual aspects of the film (which is really all there is to it) dominate. Plus, the darkened, quiet theater (if you can get people to turn off their cell phones and shut the hell up) eliminates the distractions that are typically about in a home, making a more complete experience.

Some are just nostalgic, too: "Raiders of the Lost Ark" plays fine on TV, but I remember it being the second or third film (and played on a 70mm projector) that I was really wowed by (especially since, as an 8 year old, I really thought it was going to suck going into it), and reliving the experience demands the cinema experience. It's one of the few movies at which I'll buy popcorn, just for the effect.

YMMV, of course, and if all you've been exposed to are shoebox-sized multiplexes with jammed-in seats and lousy projection, it isn't going to make much of an impression on you. And if you have issues like Washoe with not being able to get the total experience then it's probably a better experience at home. Home theater is certainly more convenient, without a doubt, although I personally detest it when people switch off "for a bit" in mid-film, ruining the whole flow...it becomes too much of a TV experience. Theaters have gotten way too expensive. There are reasons for the additional costs, but the bottom line is that a night out at the movies for an average family is going to run upward of $50 (more if you have to hire a baby sitter for the young 'uns), and it's hard to justify unless you are a film geek.

But nothing beats watching a movie like "Raiders" or "Die Hard" on a big projector screen, with an audience around to provide reaction.

Stranger

Scoundrel Swanswater
03-04-2005, 06:49 AM
I hardly ever go to the movies anymore.
Most of the reasons have already been mentioned : seriously overpriced, terrible chairs, not being able to take a break when you want to, being forced to take a break when you don't want to.
As for sound quality : most theaters play the movies just too damn loud.
Don't get me wrong : I like it loud, but not so much that I can feel my chest vibrate whenever there is an explosion and my ears start to hurt when somebody starts screaming.
I have got an excellent home-theater system, which in my opinion sounds a lot better than the muddy sound you get in a theater.
Also the picture quality in a lot of cinema's is just dreadful.
I watched the first LOTR in the cinema and the picture was just... hazy.
I later learned that they use cheaper light-bulbs or turn on some sort of energy-saving mode so they can save some money.

Since going to the cinema costs as much as a new DVD (if you include the drive, the parking, the candy and drinks) the choice is pretty straight-forward to me.
When the new Imax theater opens in Amsterdam, I will probably go more often.
I have never seen a movie in IMAX-format (except the made-for-Imax documentaries).

Trunk
03-04-2005, 07:23 AM
Most action movies, I prefer on the big screen. I have a large screen TV and surround sound, but the experience still isn't the same.

Comedies I can usually get the same experience at home than I can at the theater.
This is not an uncommon sentiment, but I happen to disagree completely.

Seeing a good comedy, with 300-900 other people, all laughing at the right parts is one of the greatest movie experiences there is. It's like going to a good comedy club for $8. It's therapeutic.

Personally, I don't find the theaters too expensive. I don't find them uncomfortable. I have 3-4 theaters within a drive of my house that comfortable, well-run, and patronized by people who aren't disruptive.

Never ever ever at home have I really gotten that feeling that I get with certain movies. . .the feeling of being completely lost in the film, caught up in it, not recognizing the passage of time. The kind of movie that casts a spell on you, and *shocks* you when the the words "The End" show up. The last movie that happened with was "Before Sunset".

That might only happen with a small percentage of films, but it's simpy never captured in the home.

Scoundrel Swanswater
03-04-2005, 07:47 AM
OK, let's break it down.
Here in the Netherlands a visit to the cinema for 2 people would set you back :
2 x 9 Euro for the entrance
3 Euro for parking (at least)
8 Euro for snacks and beverages

So totalling that would be 29 Euros!!
Most movies sell on DVD for between 19.99 and 24.99.

And by the way : I can get lost in a movie much better, when I am by myself and don't have people walking around and talking through the movie.
Of course a comedy is much more fun to watch with a crowd, but any movies that require 100% attention I rather watch at home.

Stranger On A Train
03-04-2005, 01:11 PM
I have got an excellent home-theater system, which in my opinion sounds a lot better than the muddy sound you get in a theater.
Also the picture quality in a lot of cinema's is just dreadful.
I watched the first LOTR in the cinema and the picture was just... hazy.
I later learned that they use cheaper light-bulbs or turn on some sort of energy-saving mode so they can save some money.
Slight correction here: turning down the power supply doesn't save them any money (http://www.drafthouse.com/shared_web/dimbulb.html) and using an underrated bulb (say, a 3000W where a 4,200W bulb is spec'd) gives a murky picture that is almost unviewable. Roger Ebert is on a constant tirade about this, and while I think he's often off-base and annoying, I salute him for taking issue with this. Cranking up the midrange to compensate for a cheap DBSS and no bass is also a common tactic, leading to unintelligible dialog. The sad fact is, with that kind of anti-quality in many theaters, you can actually get a better experience at home with a good system, limitations of the small screen aside.

But a good cinema, with trained projectionists, proper sound and illumination, and quality seating? No comparison. 'Tis more expensive in groups, though.

Stranger

mack
03-04-2005, 03:26 PM
Every time I see a movie in a theater I go "man, I should do this more often". I only go two or three times a year tops, though. Everything has so much more impact than at home. I have a projector and surround at home (where I watch movies with my wife and twin two year-old girls so you can imagine the distraction), and it's obviously a hell of a lot better than TV, but when I'm in a good theater I'm in this comfortable cocoon of light and sound where it's all about the movie. It's worth the ten bucks just to have that. Having said that, I can't say enough about how great DVDs are, by and large.

mrunlucky
03-04-2005, 05:25 PM
Sometimes a film is so overwhelming in production values, whether in cinematography, art direction, scale, effects, that the experience is lost on a TV. Sometimes it's an action film like The Matrix, or a highly visual film like The Machinist, or a film with huge scale like the LOTR trilogy, or a film with amazing effects like Sky Captain that make it worth the effort to see in a theatre.

Other times a movie is so run-of-the-mill, that it doesn't matter if you see it in a theatre because art direction and cinematography are secondary conditions. Like any comedy I've ever seen.

One of the best theatre-going experiences I've ever had was the rerelease of 2001 into a local art house. The experience is incomparable to watching it on a TV. I can't imagine ever watching it again unless I can see it in a theatre once more.

Obviously it's a person bias -- if you like the large screen, loud volume, dark room, the effect of the light hitting the screen -- versus sitting at home in front of a little (or big) box. And sometimes the general quality or inaccessability (old, foreign, etc.) make it more viable on your TV. I try to do the one thing when I can and the other thing when it's the only choice available.

Charlie Tan
03-04-2005, 06:57 PM
I used to be fortunate enough so for about ten years, I got to go to the press previews of movies. That meant not paying of course. But it also meant that the theatre was quiet, with maybe 10 people in there, all sitting there for their love of movies, not to hang out.

These past couple of years have been a tremendous change in my viewing habits. I don't mind paying to see a movie, but the discomfort is taking away the pleasure: too crowded, too hot, too many noisy teenagers who simply cannot shut the fuck up. I'm a big guy too and at about 6'4" there very little leg room. If the theatre is crowded, that means I can't stretch out my legs to the side and that in turn means my arthritis will make the theatre visit hurt.

Another factor was getting 8mb DSL.

So I'm planning for and saving money to build a real home cinema, complete with a real screen, projector and enhancing the already considerable sound system. An 8x6 screen in my living room will make up for missed viewing in the theatre. I'll keep my tv set though, as watching the news at ten won't be fun on a really big screen. Playing games on GC or PC will be a whole new experience, though. Can't wait to get a kick ass CPU with RAM to match and re playing HL2.

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