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BaD 2017.15: at the movies.

On 02/20/2017 at 08:11 PM by Julian Titus

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I have always loved going to the movies. That was true as a kid, and remains so today. I know so many people prefer to wait for movies to come out on DVD or Netflix, because TVs are so big and vibrant now, and you don’t have to wait in line or deal with people, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I get where that sentiment comes from; certainly it’s cheaper to grab some microwave popcorn and rent from a Red Box or what have you, but I LOVE watching movies in a big crowd, especially opening night or weekend. This is odd for me, considering that I’m basically a hermit that can’t handle being around strangers, but I enjoy the communal aspect of experiencing a film for the first time with everyone else. Yeah, I have a kick ass TV with a good soundbar, but it’s not quite the same.

I suppose I’m lucky to live in Austin, TX for this. As much as I’ve come to hate this city in the past ten years (hipsters go away!), we are known for having great movie going audiences. It’s such a thing that Robert Rodriguez included a special feature for the Sin City DVD that had an audio track of the Austin audience from the movie’s premiere. By and large, people in Austin laugh when they should, don’t talk, and keep their phones put away.

This is a roundabout way of me saying that we went to see The Great Wall over the weekend. I freaking LOVED this movie. It’s a big, bold, colorful fantasy movie with great action and special effects. I was surprised to see it sitting at a 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it was an awesome experience for me.

Part of that, I know, is because of the way I experienced it. We saw it in IMAX 3D, and it was an amazing time at the movies. The 3D effects were used sparingly for maximum impact, and the IMAX screen brought the majesty of the Great Wall into focus. I totally want to add this one to my movie collection, but in this case, I know it just won’t be the same. I’m sure to have a similar situation with Doctor Strange; that was the coolest use of 3D I’ve ever seen in a movie, and I’m going to miss out on that at home.

Other than that, it was a quiet weekend. After 17 years I finally finished The Wheel of Time series, and was satisfied with the conclusion. I sat with Patrick and JD to record a special edition of Nerds Without Pants all about the Nintendo Switch. That is live on the site and on iTunes if you want to give it a listen. I’ll have something a little more thought out for tomorrow; I just finished editing the podcast.  



Cary Woodham

02/20/2017 at 09:05 PM

I like going to see movies in theaters, too.  If anything, just to get out of the house.  But it has to be a movie I REALLY want to see.  

When I was in college in Austin, I got to see the MST3K movie when it came out at Dobie Mall on campus.  That was a great example of seeing a movie in a crowd.  Totally different than watching it on TV.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

02/21/2017 at 09:39 PM

Ah, the Dobie. Sadly it is long gone, along with Einstein's Arcade and Le Fun. I avoid The Drag like the plague these days, but there were a few years where I loved going down there.

Cary Woodham

02/22/2017 at 06:44 PM

Wait, Dobie Mall, Einstein's Arcade, and Le Fun are all gone?  Noooo!

Super Step Contributing Writer

02/20/2017 at 10:05 PM

The audience and movie going experience made Lego Batman so much better than it could be at home. Our friend Jordan says why would she go to a movie when they have a giant 4k tv at home and i hate her a little bit each time she says that. I love movies. Luckily, my best friend does too.

I kinda want to see Great Wall because I loved Hero. The review I watched (Double Toasted, based in Austin and deserves way more love) said they went to a dark 3D SCREENING that muted the colors, so maybe I'll have better luck in 2D. THEY did say plot was lacking though and it didn't make sense that the enemy stopped attacking. Fell free to let me know if you disagree.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

02/21/2017 at 09:43 PM

I think they explained why that happens, but I can see someone missing it, or feeling that it wasn't a satisfying explanation. For me, I know what I'm looking for with movies like this. Are they characters cool? Is the action good? Do I leave feeling entertained? While I enjoy more cerebral movies I will never look down on a fun big budget movie. 

I can already tell I'll be spending a lot of time at the theater this year. My girlfriend wants to see A Cure for Wellness, we both want to see Get Out and Logan, and that's just the next couple of weeks. 


02/20/2017 at 10:53 PM

It's so difficult to get out to the movies when you have little kids. I'm not sure what the last thing we even saw in a theatre. Might have been The Force Awakens O_O

I finished The Wheel of Time last year! I was happy with the ending too. I mean, I had a few nitpicks but sheesh, ending something so massive after the original author passed away? I thought it turned out very well.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

02/21/2017 at 09:45 PM

I know this is terrible to say, but Robert Jordan's death was the best thing to happen to The Wheel of Time. He had gotten to this point where every book was just piling on characters and politics, and I found it very hard to follow at times. Brandon Sanderson kept things moving at a good clip while somehow resolving everything i would have wanted resolved. I was surprised at how many people died at the end, but Mat lived, which is all that matters. 


02/21/2017 at 10:09 PM

Books 1-6 are just really great fantasty but things started to bog down with #7 and onward. Book 10 is the low point, I think. It's just so slow. But I thought Knife of Dreams was a move in the right direction. But yeah, Brandon Sanderson did a fantastic job. Man, that Last Battle chapter in the final book...holy cow. I do wish there had been a bigger confrontation with Padin Fain at the end. It was cool the way he went down but it seemed a little anticlimactic because it was so quick.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

02/21/2017 at 10:23 PM

By that point I had honestly forgotten that Padan Fain was still around. But I totally agree. I think my biggest gripe with the last book was introducing a totally new faction in the Sharans. I looked them up, and I guess they are mentioned in passing a few times, but when they showed up I was like "you cannot do this at the zero hour".


02/21/2017 at 01:06 AM

I've totally forgotten about TV these days. My only avenue for noninteractive flat screen content is the theater. I used to go on Friday's when I used to get off work at around 10pm and it was really cool to see a film with a full house. I distinctly remember seeing the same movie on consecutive nights with different crowds and hearing each group react totally differently. I see a lot of matinee shows now because of my late schedule and that usually means an empty theater. I still like it, but it's better with a crowd. 

Julian Titus Senior Editor

02/21/2017 at 09:46 PM

I agree. There is something cool about having the house almost completely to yourself (I have yet to be the only person), but I like having a crowd. 

Catherine Hauser Staff Alumnus

02/21/2017 at 09:15 AM

I really miss the discount theaters that would show the "not-so-brand-new" movies at a much cheaper price. We used to go so often as kids because it was cheap and easy entertainment. Sneaking in our own candy, of course, that we bought at the local corner store.

We usually stick to $5 Tuesdays at our local theater. Have to sit in the theaters with the recliner seats, too. There is nothing like that for comfort for a two hour movie! And we still sneak in our own snacks, though you can eat full meals at theaters now. I'm just cheap I guess...I'm not paying $5 for a small pop!

Julian Titus Senior Editor

02/21/2017 at 09:47 PM

My first girlfriend would sneak stuff into the movies, and I being a habitual rule follower would freak the hell out everytime she'd open a bottle of Coke and there was that telltale sound. I felt like the ushers would swoop in from the booth and kick us out. 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

02/21/2017 at 10:24 AM

I want to see Logan in the worst way.  Unfortunately, my mom broke her wrist, my dad is having knee surgery, and I don't drive outside our neighborhood, where the movie theater is.  I'm hoping it will work out, cause I really want to see it.  

Julian Titus Senior Editor

02/21/2017 at 09:49 PM

Yeah, that one is high on my list. Even though the X-Men movies made me hate Wolverine, I will probably cry when this movie is over. Jackman and Stewart have played these characters for 17 years!

Matt Snee Staff Writer

02/21/2017 at 10:00 PM

I really can't stand Singer's Xmen movies.  I was a huge fan when I was a kid, and I read a lot of xcomics, but since Singer has had his hands on them, I almost hate the franchise.  

Julian Titus Senior Editor

02/21/2017 at 10:24 PM

Interesting. My favorite X-Men movies are Days of Future Past and X-Men United, which are both his. But my constant complaint about all the movies is how they lack the sense of teamwork and family that the X-Men represent. That, and the fact that Wolverine is the main character in 7 out of 9 movies. 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

02/22/2017 at 02:28 AM

my favorite one was First Class. That's the only one that, to me, really feels like the Xmen.  

Nick DiMola Director

02/22/2017 at 12:40 AM

I used to be a movie person back in High School. I guess it was a thing to do with my friends, so we'd catch pretty much anything that came out. It was $5 for a movie back then, so it always felt reasonable. These days, it's crazy how much it costs to see a movie. Tickets are $13+ for a matinee showing here and for a family of 5, that's an insane price for, what, 2 hours of entertainment?

That aside, I'm just not super into TV/Movies these days. I watch the Marvel movies and the Marvel Netflix shows, as well as South Park and that's it. Whenever there's a movie on at home, I find myself consistently losing interest and fishing for my phone to do pretty much anything else. There's always the rare movie here or there that will catch my interest and hold it, but generally those are few and far between.

I will say though, when there is a good crowd at the theater it can make all the difference. Opening night for Snakes on a Plane is one of my fondest movie-going experiences ever. Me, Chessa, and a group of our friends all went to see it after a huge build up period. The show was sold out and it was at midnight. At the time, I was in college, so of course, we all snuck in copious amounts of liquor (as did basically every else in the theater). Between the ridiculousness of the movie and colored commentary from the crowd, I was laughing so hard it hurt for the entire duration of the movie. If every movie-going experience was like that, I'd have a hard time saying no to go to the theater, regardless of the price.


02/22/2017 at 01:21 PM

Comfortable movie-going experiences are hit-and-miss where I live. No wonderful chain like the Alamo Drafthouse or New Beverly. You do have to risk sitting next to people who still think they're in their living room and that I paid for their commentary. At least the two local cineplexes are nice in terms of seating, screening room size and overall cleanliness.

You may have nudged me to check out The Great Wall. I've seen most of Zhang Yimou's work on home video but Hero was a fantastic viewing experience in a theater (even if a lot of the political content went over my head). Logan will also be a priority for me. 

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