Monday, November 21, 2011

Notes on Pop Culture: What Films Are You Jonesing to See? Would You Pay Theater Prices to See Them at Home?

I finally got to set foot inside an actual movie theater last weekend. My plan was to, at long last, catch The Ides of March, the film about the loss of innocence of a political operative (Ryan Gosling)who’s working for a flawed presidential candidate (George Clooney). However the universe and the movie theater people conspired against me and I was unable to see the movie, the one that's perfect for a presidential primary season, that night.

Last Friday was my chance to revel in the political film but when I showed up, money in hand, The Ides of March was only showing at 10 p.m., too late for my husband and I to be out when our 13-year-olds were watching their occasional recalcitrant younger brother. So we wound up seeing J. Edgar instead. (It was an interesting flick, though the film was wildly uneven, unfocused and was grappling for a raison d'être. Leonardo DiCaprio was outstanding however and I was intrigued enough to want to delve more into the events of J. Edgar Hoover’s initial rise in the FBI.)

I still want to see The Ides of March, but seeing as though it’s now playing at awkward times that don’t fit all that well into my schedule, I’m going to have to accept that I may just have to wait until it’s available on DVD/On Demand.

In the meantime, I was able to watch the excellent, infuriating and taut Margin Call – about the 2008 economic crisis -- on its opening weekend only because it was simultaneously released in movie theaters as well as through my cable provider’s On Demand system. Even though I paid a higher price than I would’ve for a movie released on DVD and regular On Demand, it worked out great because, once the kids were all in bed, I got to watch the film at my leisure, at a time that worked out for me.

The On Demand-while-still-in-the-theaters set-up is how I’m planning to see the critical darling Melancholia  – about a woman (Kirsten Dunst) who gets married just as the world is about it end – that’s currently playing in theaters. (The title just appeared on the list of new releases on Friday.)

Would I have liked to have see Melancholia and Margin Call in actual theaters with actual other grown-ups and not have to worry about letting the pile of unfolded laundry on the sofa taunt me with its unfoldedness? Of course I would have, plus I would dressed a lot nicer to go out to see the movies than I would to watch them in my living room. But for right now, for the kid-centric space my husband and I are in where we've got youth hockey and hoop games in the mornings and in the evenings, this is where we’re at.

I was very disappointed to see that independent-minded film The Descendants, which is amassing oodles of critical plaudits, hasn’t been made available On Demand-while-still-in-the-theaters like Melancholia. Instead, The Descendants is only playing in “selected” theaters. (Note: If you’re going to go the “selected” theaters route with your movie – meaning the film won’t be run at most movie theaters outside of a handful of big cities – you’ll boost the number of eyeballs watching if you simultaneously make it possible for people like me to watch your film On Demand. I’ll pay a theater price, I just can’t get to the theater, especially when you make it so difficult by limiting the number of showings.)

What films are you anxious to see in the theaters and would you be willing to pay theater prices for the chance to watch it On Demand at home?

No comments: