Originally created 03/13/98

Losing interest in cinema

Each day seems to bring another record for the success of the movie Titanic, the story of the doomed attraction of two opposites (in this case, a boat and an iceberg.)

Each day also seems to bring a hint (plea, suggestion, demand), from my wife that I take her to see it.

"It's too long," I say matter-of-factly.

She frowns.

"I'll rent it for you when it comes out on video," I'll answer pleasantly.

She rolls her eyes.

"You know how it ends," I point out honestly.

She shakes her head.

The last one is sort of an inside joke because my wife knows how most movies end, but loves to watch them anyway.

She is one of those people who continues to subscribe to a cable movie channel because she really likes to watch movies.

What was last summer's hit? Twister, with Helen Hunt?

I bet she's watched it 30 times.

I'll walk into the room. She'll be watching Twister. And I'll ask, "Has the tornado picked up the cow, yet?"

If she says no, I might sit and watch until it does.

Otherwise, I'll go do just about anything around the house, because somewhere between my mid-30s and today I've lost interest in movies.

It was not always so. From the mid-1970s to the early 1990s there was nothing I liked better than paying my money, slouching back in a plush seat and watching movie after movie. It was not unusual for me to watch three in a weekend.

I felt like I had to see them all. I also had to see them first.

During most of the 1980s, I would take long lunches on the Fridays that most new movies opened, so I could see them before everyone else.

But now, something's changed.

The thrill is gone and I truly don't know why.

Oh, I could say it was the proliferation of video rental, which is more convenient and cheaper. But I don't think that's it.

I could say it was the cost ... but, if you figure in inflation, going to the movies has probably gotten cheaper over the past two decades.

I could say it's because the actors are no longer the "stars" of our youth.

Jim Carrey, after all, brings down more money than Cary Grant ever did.

Jim Carrey?

But that's not it either.

I have seen just one movie in a theater since 1992. Last summer after much urging (see above), I took my wife to see Independence Day -- the aliens-almost-conquer-Earth spectacular.

It was OK. I think I only got up from my seat and wandered around the lobby twice.

My wife enjoyed it.

Of course, Independence Day makes the cable movie channel a lot and my wife will not hesitate to curl up in a chair in front of the TV set, make some popcorn and watch it again.

"You know how this ends," I'll say, as I begin to make my usual argument.

"So do you,"she'll answer, shooing me away.


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