Monday, March 06, 2006

Oscar's After School Special Message: Just Say No to Video Rental

Was that the Academy Awards last night or an after school special about just saying no to video rental? First, the president of the Academy lectured us about how actors work their magic for the big screen, not our T.V.s at home. Then a montage of epic films--from Ben Hur to Braveheart--was meant to prove this point.

I understand that movie business people want audiences to go to theaters. But they're going about it the wrong way. We don't need a public service campaign. We want to go to the movies. Really, we do. The smell of popcorn, the fountain drinks, the people shushing us when we coach the characters on screen, being the only people in the theater laughing at the jokes. It's a lot of fun.

But who can afford it? The last time my husband and I went to a movie, we had to take out a second mortgage on our house. Tickets were about 10 bucks a piece. Popcorn was another trillion dollars. Drinks were sold by the sip.

As we conference called our loan shark, we watched the 13 year olds in line pay with $100 bills, which they probably earned by babysitting for children of suckers like us.

It wasn't even worth it. Midway through Million Dollar Baby, we realized we were watching a "thinking movie." We left the house excited to be on a date. We left the theater asking if there was a God. How can he allow such things happen to such nice people, we wondered.

Now we stick to kids movies. Nanny McPhee, Curious George, Sky're guaranteed a happy ending with these. Our kids love going to the movies, and if we smuggle in our own treats, we only have to spend one of their college savings accounts.

In addition to making movies cheaper, I would suggest more happy endings. I know movies primary job is to change the world, according to another montage last night. So change it by the end of the movie. Give us something to smile about on the way home.

Depressing people is easy. Watch.

Worldwide, 1.3 billion people live on less than a dollar a day. Tom Cruise earned $70 million for Mission Impossible II. (The buzz last night was that Reese Witherspoon now earns more than $20 million per movie, but top male actors in Hollywood make more.)

Making people happy--without lying to them--is harder. But I trust that the zillions of dollars we, the audience, have donated to studios will ease the pain of movie makers trying to do just that.

Finally, an audience participation option should be available at theaters. How many times have you wanted to yell at the main character, "You, jackass! She loves you. Can't you see that?"

But you don't because you would wake the dead. Everyone around you appears to be either asleep or still climbing out of the depression from seeing Million Dollar Baby.

My late grandmother, Mume, used to offer a running commentary during the movies we saw. "What's going to be in this trunk? A sweater. What's he going to do with it. Put it on. It doesn't fit him. He should have it stretched. And he should have stayed with his wife instead of running off with that tramp."

People would shush her. Big mistake. They were now villainous characters in her running commentary. All this could have been avoided if there were the audience participation option.

I agree with the Academy Award people that some movies are best seen on the big screen. My mother-in-law and I saw Pride and Prejudice at the theater and it was really a work of art.

So make it happen, Hollywood. According to last night's show, you've eradicated everything from racism to workplace inequality between men and women. Isn't it time you turn your attention to what's happening in your own backyard? Only teenagers can afford to see movies. Where is the justice?

I'm mad as hell and ready to do something about it. I'm going to rent Ben Hur.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good! My mouth dropped open when they said not to pirate because these people worked hard for their money. I'm not for pirating, but how much can they lose!? They've already gotten $70,000,000! I'm so happy that Elliott Curran's clone got best actor - always a favorite!!!! mom

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Ann (Roder) Fox said...

Well said, Midwest Mama. I skipped the Oscars last night in favor of a live performance of Grease by professional (albeit unknown) actors at a dinner theatre for $9.50 plus gas. Yes, that is right, dinner included. OK, yes it was a few bucks more for the Bailey's Irish Cream in my coffee AND a group-discount rate. Oh yeah, and the sound system could use an upgrade. . . .but I still vote yes for the video rental boycott and all $ to up-and-coming-but-not-yet millionaires.

Now the rates for babysitters is another matter---especially when hiring for more than an "all-American" two kids.

Thanks for your commitment to motherhood and the TRUTH!! Loved it. P.S., Have you considered becoming a script-writer?? I suggest you consider!

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

love it bridgie! i'm forced to the expensive theatre anyway because on a recent trip to blockbuster i discovered that VHS is obsolete and i have yet to own a DVD player:)
i saw philip seymore hoffman in person (an A list start sighting- i'm a huge fan too mrs. b)and he did look like he has worked hard for his money...but not the rest of em':)
see you tomorrow! libby

3:06 PM  

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