Guest Author - Jamise Grace Liddell
Would you buy a car without seeing it? Maybe a house? What would you buy without really knowing what you are getting? Hundreds of thousands of people do it everyday. They go to the theatre and purchase a ticket to watch a movie. And though they are led to believe via advertising and trailers that the film will be one thing, you never really know do you?
So how does that compare to a house or a car? In your lifetime you could probably buy a few of each with the money you spend on entertainment. In the midst of a recession, wise spending and getting your entertainment money's worth should matter always, but especially now!
After all, have you ever really added up the expense involved in going to the movies? Taking a date to the movies (don't forget the cost of gas for the car), $18.00 ($9.50 each admission fee) popcorn, soda, and sweets for two roughly another $18.00-$25.00 (and this expense usually come after you sprung additional dough for a decent dinner). And if you take the entire family, even at the discounted rate of ($7.00, that is still pretty high) to the films that begin before six, the snack bar prices remain the same.
And it's not just the $40.00 plus bucks even though in this economy that is a large chunk of change, it is the hours of your precious life. As we age, time becomes the invaluable commodity. I know it does for me. Wasted leisure time is not an option for me, whether I'm watching television, a film, or listening to an album, I find out how the pros weigh in first. I just don't want to waste my time and money.
You can not trust the movie trailers, which either show you clips that don't even appear in the film or they highlight the very best 10 minutes (and sometimes the only part of the film worth seeing) of a 189 minute film. And what recourse do you have? Nothing really. So it is best to do your research, read a film critic's review (preferably mine!) but find some reviewer that you more or less agree with and heed their assessment.
I've heard all types of things about critic's and it is true, your taste might be different than the critic you read, so read until you find one that you mostly agree with. Yes, there are a few critics who are really glorified public relations reps for the studios, but most of the critics that I know, from the Phoenix Film Critics Society (www.PFCS.com) are truly telling you their opinion about a film.
Film Critics , I would estimate, see five times more films than the average movie patron. So sometimes when we sound cynical it is because we are, but we also know a good film when we see one. We know great independent film when we see it, and it is not only my duty, but my pleasure to share the news.
And while being a film critic sounds like a fun job, it is tougher than you think. If you discount the unbelievable politics involved (that is another article entirely, actually that is a book) then take into account hours upon hours in dark theatres seeing films (which usually aren't all that great), in search of "the good films".
Working with single mothers and families is just one of the many reasons I became a film critic a decade ago. I wanted to encourage you to escape and see a great action/adventure, romantic, or even horror flick, but I also wanted to desperately warn you about very bad investments. Seeing a movie can be worse than the stock market because you really have no idea what the return on your investment will be. And there is nothing shoddier than a children's film that does not entertain the children, so instead of a few hours of reprieve in the cool, dark theatre, you are whispering threats to your children and their friends.
Worse yet, going to a "romantic, comedy" and not laughing once, being offended often and feeling anything but "loving" as you leave the theatre's. Now there is a way to start off the weekend.
LUX coffee bar and Pane Bianco on Central between Camelback and Indian School are two of my favorite places in Central Phoenix. You can find me sipping on a mango iced tea from LUX and eating a "market sandwich" from Pane Bianco, and talking film and entertainment with random community members. When times were good I did it for fun, but now I do it as a service to the people in this tough economy. Since no one is policing the junk that comes out of Hollywood, I'm doing my part on the other end of the spectrum.
Spending time and money on Hollywood films is much like selling on Ebay; they get your cash whether or not you get anything for your money. So before you step into that theatre read a critic review!