Springtime at the Movies, part two: Where to Watch?

Let’s all go to the lobby…follow the dancing popcorn!

Since I already had a movie-review post this week, I thought it might be a good time to join in on the weekly Movie Meme hosted at The Bumbles Blog. It goes up there on Mondays, but as y’all know, I almost never do these things on their appointed day, so here it is on Wednesday. This week’s question:

How do you watch movies? Do you wait in line for the big premier at the theater? Do you savor trips to the local video store perusing the titles up and down the aisle? Or maybe you only watch them from home as they arrive in your mailbox, inbox, or on T.V. And maybe who you watch them with dictates how you watch them?

I’m definitely a moviegoer, but I’m a selective one. I don’t feel a need to see everything that comes out, and it’s OK if I wait until it’s been out a week or two before I get to the theater. Sometimes I’ll go to the movies nearly every weekend for a couple of months, and then there will be a period where nothing interests me for weeks. I don’t mind going to the movies alone, but fortunately for me, my husband likes to go just as much as I do – and we’re usually interested in the same movies, which is also fortunate.

We’re a little bit snobby about movie theaters, though – we avoid the older ones that don’t have stadium seating. We usually go to afternoon showings, since they’re a little less expensive and crowded – but in the theater, you can’t tell what time of day it is anyway. We have a decent multiplex in town, and we go there to see movies with the kids and “ordinary” movies. Sometimes we want more of an experience, though – we may have been eagerly anticipating the movie, and it’s one that rates special big-screen viewing with few distractions. Our favorite moviegoer’s paradise is the ArcLight, a “black box” theater with state-of-the-art sound and projection where you can get reserved (and very comfortable) seating when you buy tickets in advance, online. Waiting in line is no fun, so it’s nice to be able to plan ahead a little and avoid it. It costs a little more, but the amenities – and lack of pre-feature commercials – are worth it. A new Muvico theater has opened a little closer to us, and we’re looking forward to trying it out to see how it compares to the ArcLight as a movie destination.

We like watching movies at home on DVD too, but we’re usually DVD buyers rather than renters. Most of the movies we buy are ones we saw in theaters, though; if we already know we liked them, we know they’re worth owning. But since DVDs on sale don’t cost much more than a trade paperback, sometimes we’ll take a chance on one we haven’t seen before. We sometimes have movie afternoons or evenings at home with the kids, but given my tendency to doze off on the couch, we have to start a “movie night” fairly early. We’re not really in the habit of renting; I used to do it a lot, but these days I find the video store just one more place I’d rather not go. Occasionally my husband will comment that some movie or another “might be worth renting,” though, so we’re seriously thinking about giving Netflix a shot.

We rarely watch movies on “regular” TV for one reason – commercials – and we don’t subscribe to any premium channels. Our digital cable does have a few movie channels that limit commercials in the package we get, though, and my husband checks their listings pretty regularly. If he spots something good coming up, he’ll set it up to record on the DVR, and we’ll watch it…eventually. I don’t have much interest in watching movies online, since the quality on our TV is so much better, but I’d be open to downloading them to a TV-connected box to watch them there. But truthfully, a theater is my favorite place to see movies – at home, I’m too easily distracted (and the couch is too comfortable).

How do you usually watch movies – and is that way your favorite way to see them?

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  1. I used to be a big time movie goer and I am slowly getting back into the habit. I am snobbish about my theaters too. I need stadium seating, it’s too hard for me to see other wise. I saw Wolverine and it was enjoyable, but I can’t say that I remember it that well now that all is said and done.

  2. Ahh, I miss going to the movies. It was one of my favorite single gal activities. Now that I’m married, we tend to stay in. We watch lots of old movies. I love suspense, like Gene Hackman in “The Conversation.”

  3. Nicole – As a short person, that’s why I prefer stadium seating too :-).

    I did a mini-review of Wolverine here yesterday, but it wasn’t very detailed because, like you, I don’t remember a lot about it three weeks later. Star Trek, on the other hand…

    Amy – My husband’s an old-movie buff too, and he’s gotten me interested in some of his favorite classics – which we do watch on DVD at home :-). It’s nice to get out to see the current stuff, though.

  4. I prefer theaters with stadium seating too. For us short people, it can be a necessity in a crowded theater (although I try to go when it’s not crowded as often I can). I’ve only seen one movie at the ArcLight. Someday I hope to go again. It’s a little bit a drive though as there isn’t one near me.

    I’d forgotten about the whole rent versus buy. Anjin and I buy a lot of DVD’s too. We’ve gotten more picky over the years, especially now that we use Netflix. Except TV shows. We tend to prefer to own those to renting them. Which is silly since they cost so much more than movies do Go figure.

  5. Wendy (Literary Feline) – I actually prefer buying TV show DVDs to movies, and I’d definitely rather own than rent those, since it lets me pace out my viewing better.

    We’re lucky that the ArcLight opened that second location in the San Fernando Valley, since it’s closer to us than Hollywood. Maybe they’ll expand to the east next time, which would put them nearer to where you are! Seeing movies there is definitely a treat.