Friday Five - Reasons I don't go to the cinema

Published November 19, 2010

I’ve done Top Ten lists before, but thought I would bring back the idea in a shorter form - half, in fact. This is not for every Friday, but if I feel like I might have a list to share, this would be the place to do it.

I haven’t been to the cinema for years. I know the last time I approached one with the intent of going in, it was around the time of a Harry Potter movie, and the cinema said they reserved the right to use night vision goggles and essentially spy on you. I was appalled at the idea, decided to spend my evening elsewhere, and never returned.

The cinema has always confused me, because it is a social thing to do, except for the fact that you sit in the dark and you don’t talk. The most social thing you do is fight over the arm rest. Odd.

Anyway, the cinema is no longer a desirous place for me, if it ever was, and here’s why.

  1. It’s pretty expensive. For two of us to go, it would be a little short of £20, give or take the odd popcorn purchase. For that, we could watch at least three films in the comfort of our own home, without having to go into the dreaded outside, and choosing from a much wider selection.
  2. You can’t sit under a duvet. Is there anything better than getting comfortable on a sofa with a duvet or a blanket, a glass of wine, and a bowl of popcorn or Doritos? I’m not sure there is.
  3. The quality is lousy. They try to make up for it by raising the volume, which means you’re being systematically deafened whilst watching a scratchy giant screen. With or without the invention of HD, the smaller screen makes the quality far better, and you don’t have to crane your neck to make sure you’re seeing everything either.
  4. They spy on you! Did I mention that they spy on you? You go to the cinema, you are instantly treated like a criminal. If you have a phone, you are the enemy. I’d rather stay home and have access to IMDB and not be under surveillance by someone with military standard kit.
  5. Other people are there. Everyone watches films differently. I get distracted really easily. I had to start an entire Film Watch project to make me pay attention to what’s happening. Some people like to talk through films. Others like to text on their phones. Some eat loudly, some sigh at those eating loudly. You’ll even find the odd person asleep! At least if you are at home, you only have to worry about the people that matter, the ones you are watching with. Everyone else and their little foibles are not your problem.

This list is actually a lot more grumpy than I thought it would be. I do sort of understand why people want to watch things on a big screen, but there are so many drawbacks, I’m not sure I could bring myself to give it a go again.

Update: Janna linked to this image in the Sidepodcast comments. It’s from Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode of 5live with regards to a Cinema Code of Conduct.

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