Why I Love my Plasma:  Why I can't stand Movie Theaters.

March 16, 2003 - By Jake Ehrlich

One of the main reasons I purchased a plasma display was because I can't stand going to see movies in Theatres:

First of all, you have to be at the theatre at a certain time which for some reason always seems too late or too early. You want to make sure you don’t get there too late so you leave early and end up in a book store where you find some cool book that you have to have that ends up costing you $60.

You had to drive to the theater; find and pay $5 for parking but you got there early so by the time you get out it will cost $8. Then you have to stand in line for 10 minutes to pay $10 for a ticket; or $20 if you have your gal with you. Then you have to do a mad musical chairs dash to try and get good seats. Then you get what you think is a good seat and you realize it smells funny or there is something wet on it, so you move.

Then you find another seat you think is good and then you start thinking: "Maybe I am too close to the screen? Well now that I think about it, maybe I am too far over to the left." So you get up and move back several rows and then you realize you are too far back. Then the person sitting three seats away from you say's, "those seats are taken."

So you get up and realize you can't find two seats together, so you have to sit seven seats away from your gal. But you think to yourself that everything is going to be o.k. until a seven foot tall dude with huge dreadlocks sits in front of you. So you get up again and finally end up in the very back of the theatre.

You see another three seats that are empty and you say, “I wish my girlfriend was with me, that way we could sit together,” but a gal says "those are taken." So you go back another row and find a single seat. You have to walk by twelve people to get to the seat you see and then a guy who was facing away from you turns toward you and says. "Sorry, that seat is taken."

Finally you go back another row and find a seat. You think everything is going to be o.k. But then you are hungry, so you ask the person sitting next to you if they can hold your seat. They look at you like you just asked for their first born, and reluctantly say, "sure?!?"

Then you decide you want to be polite and ask your girlfriend if she wants anything. You can't seem to find her in a sea of darkness. As you finally give up because you can't see her, you hear her call your voice. You ask her if she wants anything and she say's, "sure I'll have a Coke and popcorn and a hot dog."

As you are walking to get the $7 bucket of popcorn you think "I hope my seat is still there when I get back. What if the guy I asked to save my seat has to go to the bathroom and somebody else grabs my seat?" Then you get in another line that takes 12 minutes for you to be able to pay $27 for 2 popcorns, 2 sodas, and a couple of hot dogs. Oh yeah! I think to myself since I am at the theatre and it is the only place I ever see Nonpareils. I might as well get some. Total price: $29. Nonpareils: priceless!!!

Oh, I forgot the part about how while I was waiting in the line the previews started playing but I couldn’t hear them well enough so I keep wondering if the movie has started. But that is o.k. because the woman standing in front of me is having an argument on her cell phone with her babysitter about what the temperature of the milk should be in her babies bottle. For some reason she thinks the baby sitter might not be able to hear her very well so she is screaming into the phone in what appears to be her attempt at an Oscar. It is a command performance!

So then I walk back to give my girlfriend her popcorn and soda and hotdog and I end up spilling soda on my cashmere sweater but I can’t tell if I was able to wipe it all off. I wonder if even though I think I wiped it all off, will it stain my sweater? I also think to myself "didn’t I once read that if you leave a nail in a glass of Coke overnight it will be gone in the morning?"

I can't find my girlfriend in the dark. I am standing where I last saw her, and her seat is empty. The previews are still playing, and a stranger says, "I think she had to go to the bathroom.” Then another female voice says, “Hi Jake.” It is my ex-girlfriend who is there with my best pal? Somebody says “Shhhh!!!” I say I am sorry I did not mean to interrupt the previews. Finally she comes back, and I go find my seat.

Luckily my seat is still there despite the fact I have to climb over twelve people to get back to it. As I walk by I am trying not to slip on popcorn butter all over the floor. I feel like I am ice skating on butter. Is that stuff butter or just oil? Didn’t I once read that the amount of fat in a bucket of movie theatre butter is twice as much as in a Big Mac? And isn’t there like the equivalent of a cube of butter in a Big Mac?

As I sit down I notice the three seats in front of me are still empty and the guy who is sitting directly behind me has his feet up on the back of my chair. The guy who saved my seat says "I saved your seat for you." He says it in a way that I feel like I should offer him a tip. I also notice that both the drink holder on my left and right side have drinks in them. I am thinking: “Where should I but my drink? Should I put it between my legs and get my crotch wet or should I put it on the floor?” But then I think if I put it on the floor and somebody walks by they might knock it over by accident.

Then I try to get comfortable in the seat, but I can’t put my elbow on either armrest because they are both completely occupied. I don’t feel like playing fighting elbows. Then I start thinking to myself, “Man this chair is uncomfortable. It feels like the cushions are completely dead.  Previews are still playing. This must be the tenth preview. It is for “Dances With Wolves” on DVD? In between the previews they are showing commercials? Then a preview comes on for some really dumb movie and the audience is hissing and booing.

Finally the movie starts. I am annoyed because the guy sitting on the other side of me has a bag of peanut M&Ms that he keeps crinkling as he bottle feeds them to himself. Then I hear somebody who constantly keeps talking behind me. I finally turn around to ask him to be quiet, and I realize a Chinese cat is interpreting the movie to his grandmother (in Chinese) who has a hearing aid that must be broken. Then all of a sudden someone’s cell phone starts ringing, but it does not stop. It must be in somebody who went to the bathrooms purse?  Then I start smelling this strange, kind of skunky odor. A guy sitting a few seats away from me is smoking a joint with his friend and the smoke keeps coming my way.  I try to blow the smoke away from me but for some reason the harder I blow the more it gravitates toward me...It is a kinda Cheech and Chong moment.

Finally I focus on the movie which may as well be playing on a 20 inch TV because it is so far away. I am sitting too close to a speaker also that seems to have a ripped tweeter.

The movie ends up sucking because it is so predictable. I think to myself, "I could have written this." Then all of a sudden the movie gets interesting because Julia Roberts shows up on the screen and I am thinking, "Man she is pretty hot." Then I get kind of bummed because I realize she is way hotter than my gal. I am listening intently and Julia says a punch-line—but I missed it.

I am thinking to myself, "If I was at home with my Tivo I could have done an instant replay." Oh well!?!? Then I realize I drank the entire $6 larger than Big Gulp Coke, and I think, "Didn’t I ask for a medium root beer?"

About an hour has gone by and I have to go to the bathroom. So off I go. Climb over 12 people again and I can’t help but notice the three seats in front of me are still empty. I think, “didn’t that guy say they were taken. I guess he just didn’t want anybody to sit next to him?” I walk down the stairs and try to not fall. I get to the lobby and there is a line for the men’s room, but I really have to go. I am reading graffiti on the wall. It says “for a good time call Roxanne @ 555-1234” I think to myself, who would write that? What is the point? I wonder who’s phone number that really is? 

I successfully navigate my way back to my seat and I notice one of the guys who was smoking the joint next to me is asleep and snoring? Then all of a sudden the film breaks, and the lights come on. Finally twenty minutes later the movie starts up again.

The way too highly predictable movie ends and I am waiting in my seat for everybody to exit. I finally hook-up with my girlfriend in the lobby and she tells me she has to use the bathroom but it has a really long line. I wait 20 minutes for her as I notice that it is raining outside and I realize we don’t have an umbrella. But I don’t mind because I am being entertained by another lady shouting on her cell phone but this time it is about something that has to do with how she lost her wallet in the theatre. I quickly check to make sure mine is still in my pocket. It is. But I think after all the money I spent it may as well me missing.

As I wait in the theatre lobby watching the rain fall on the sidewalk, I think to myself if I just had a Plasma and a Tivo and a Good progressive scan player? And wouldn’t that second season of The Sapronos DVD that I rented be much more interesting than this movie was?"

I originally wanted a plasma so I could have a display in my bedroom that was almost as good as going to the movies. A month ago I bought a plasma (Pioneer 433CMX 43 inch) and it actually has a picture that is better than any moving picture I have ever seen in my life. The sound is also second to none. I got a Marantz 4300 amp, with 6 Cambridge Sound works satellite speakers, with a separate powered sub, and a Denon DVD player with the Farujda DCDi chip. I also got ALL Monster cables for connections. The entire setup set me back about 5300 bananas. When I went to stores people tried to sell me all kinds of stuff that I believe in retrospect was overkill.

I am happy as can be with my bedroom theatre (my bed is my favorite place to watch movies) that has a much better picture than any Theatre I have ever been in. Including IMAX. I say this because it just struck me that TV and Moving Pictures really are a form of virtual reality, and the 433CMX often seem like an open window that I could climb through and hang out with the characters in the movie. It is completely immersive.

I have been averaging about 2-3 movies per year in the movie theater prior to getting the plasma. So I go to Blockbuster and buy previewed movies that are not popular any more. Blockbuster has a buy two get one free deal so a $10 DVD ends up costing $6.66 and a $15 DVD ends up costing $10, but you don’t have to bring them back.

Anyway if you are thinking about getting a plasma I can’t recommend it enough. I was apprehensive at first, but now I am very happy with my investment.