One of the things I’ve learned I can live without over these past many months has been the movie theatre. Sad to say, the theaters have been considered a prime location to potentially spread virus. As a result, the movie theater business has been severely impacted. Where were drive-ins when you needed them, you may ask. Well, the closest is about 40 miles away last time I looked.
It seems to me the quality of the films coming out pre-COVID were just low and unappealing to me for various reasons. For instance, the last movie I saw at a theater just before COVID broke was the movie musical “Cats.” The plot meandered and became very weird. This in a musical that was a little “out there” to begin with. Some of the movie version cats were given superpowers that were just bizarre. Critics were not kind, as Cats received dubious honors such as being named 2020’s “Worst Picture,” “Worst Director,” “Worst Screenplay,” etc., etc.
At the same time as the shutdown of the theaters, the easy and safe accessibility of Netflix and Amazon Prime stepped up to fill that viewing void. Movies and television programming on demand in our living rooms, what more could we ask?
Have you noticed a pattern that Netflix and Amazon Prime original movies follow? They must offer big money to get one big-name star to act in the film - someone like a Sandra Bullock or a Bruce Willis. Then they fill the rest of the tiny cast with a group of no-name actors. The action usually takes place on a very small, basic set. I’ve seen this pattern over and over throughout the past year. That formula must be profitable for them.
Cats being the last movie I saw at a theater has left a bad taste in my mouth. But the taste I’ve really been craving is the movie theater popcorn. That has been the one real void in the whole movie-watching experience throughout the shutdowns. In my experience, nothing beats the movie theater popcorn being tossed out of the large poppers. Microwave popcorn just doesn’t come close. Not even Jiffy-Pop.
As recently as a few years ago, back when Miller’s Theater in Navasota was still running movies, there were many times that I would stop by there on my way home. I’d visit with proprietor David Marlow and pick up two buckets of popcorn for dinner. That was some good eating!
The movie theaters are once again ramping up. The studios have released movies that are sometimes exclusively shown in theaters, such as Jason Statham’s Wrath of Man. Out of the shutdown may come some good, e.g., a new crop of movies worth watching on the big screen. No, I wouldn’t completely write off the movie theaters just yet. Those big, comfy chairs and a bucket of freshly-popped popcorn still can make for a good date night.
Which reminds me, did I ever tell you about the time I fell over 40 feet and was completely uninjured. It was at the movie theater.
Johnny McNally is Grimes County’s Best Dressed Businessman advocating for Grimes County and writes a bi-weekly column for the Navasota Examiner.