I have always had a love affair with the movies. For as long as I can remember, I have found a kind of solice in a darkened theater. There, I can sit quietly, cocoon-like and separated from reality and all its accompanying angst—at least for a couple of hours. However, in the last ten years or so, we’ve benefited from the advances in high definition televisions and improved recording techniques, and, as a result, home theaters have threatened to replace movie theaters. Well, almost.
First there was the VCR. Not only could we watch movies recorded on VHS tape, we could also record TV shows on that very same device. Next came the DVD and then the Blu-ray disk and 1080i high resolution televisions to view them on. Along the way we were treated to stereo sound, surround sound, and dolby digital sound to enhance our listening pleasure. For a while, it was nearly impossible to keep up with the advances in home motion picture viewing technology—but we tried. I am currently on my second Blu-ray player and third amplifier, all in an effort to replicate the feel of the movies in the comfort of my own home. Heck, I even wired my surround speakers through the walls. A 55” Hi-Def TV completes the package.
Recently, I thought I’d watch one of my old VHS movie tapes. Bad decision. When shown on my high definition TV, the resulting image was nearly unwatchable. So much for that. But I digress. Yesterday, I drove 45 minutes to our local multi-screen movie theater to see Darkest Hour, a film based upon a brief period of Winston Churchill’s prime ministry during World War II. I waited in line to purchase my ticket and, when it was my turn at the window, was shown a seating diagram by the ticket seller. “I have you here, in the middle,” she said, pointing at an orange dot on the diagram, “will that be okay?” I replied in the affirmative, accepted my ticket, and headed inside.
The lines for the concessions weren’t too long, which was a surprise, but it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why. A medium popcorn and small soft drink set me back almost fifteen dollars. That wasn’t the worst of it; after I trekked to my seat, I discovered that the “layered butter” I requested was never applied to my popcorn. Too late. The film was about to start. Oh well, at least I was comfortable. My seat was nearly two feet wide – no joke – and upholstered in leather, with an illuminated switch that activated an electric-powered, reclining mechanism. Wow! I was in heaven (well, almost).
The movie itself was fantastic (I wholeheartedly recommend you see it), but the cost in terms of travel time, gas, refreshments, and ticket price make it something that will have to be an occasional treat at best. So, for me, my home theater is looking better and better. Now if I can only keep the five different remote control devices straight, maybe I can watch a movie. Oh, and that homemade popcorn (with just the right amount of butter) makes it almost perfect. But what is the best aspect of viewing a movie at home? You’ll never guess, so I’ll tell you. It’s the good old pause button. That’s right. Try getting them to do that in the theater. So, if you’ll excuse me, I have to see a man about a horse. I’ll be right back!