Thursday, August 11, 2005


Okay, so I’m an avid movie watcher. I enjoy spending the day at a movie theater as much as some people enjoy spending a day at an amusement park. They aren’t really that different, if you think about it. There are lines to get into both, they both exist to entertain, and they both require a small loan in order to take any family who can’t be smuggled in a large handbag.

But at a movie theater I don’t get whiplash from poorly designed roller coasters, I don’t have to wait in line for two hours for 13 seconds of permanent skeletal damage, and I don’t have to deal with dehydration from being in the sun for too long or hypothermia following the water ride. I just buy my ticket, grab some popcorn and settle in for a day of movie magic. Sometimes I lose feeling in my ass, but a day of good fun is worth a little ass-numbness.

To me movie-watching is an all day event. Very rarely do I go and see just one movie. And if I only see two I feel like I haven’t really applied myself. Three is the number I usually aim for. I think my personal best was 5 in one day, but I am still young. I have many good days left.

Lest you think that this is some kind of joke, please understand, movie hopping is serious business. It is not for the easily deterred. A true movie-hopper knows that there is a lot of work involved in sitting so long that you actually wake up the next day and are sore from your day of doing absolutely nothing. You can’t just go to the theater and expect to randomly find movies that are starting at exactly the right time. No, no, no. You must do your research. You may even want to involve a spreadsheet.

You have to figure out the running times of all the movies you want to see. Then you have to look at all the start times and coordinate how you can see the most amount of movies in the least amount of time. This is not easy. It could probably be a game show, really. Because it gets increasingly difficult as the movies stack up. Seeing two movies – piece of cake. Seeing three – a little more difficult. Seeing four – you may need a phd in some sort of mathematics. Is all I’m saying. And there is built in tension as well, “Movie A ends at 2:00, and Movie B starts at 2:15” “Ooooooo.” “Movie B ends at 4:05 and Movie C begins at 4:25.” “Ahhhhhhhh.” “Movie C ends at 6:30 and Movie D…..begins at 7:40!” “Oh! I’m sorry! You lost! What do we have for a parting gift?”

And then, after all that planning, you still have to navigate the treacherous waters of the theater.

I remember fondly the olden days when theaters practically invited me to stay for the entire day. But times they have changed. Theaters have gone on the defensive and implemented several obstacles that I must overcome.

First of all these theater have like 485 screens on them, which helps out when looking for my next movie, but it also usually involves more than one hallway. And a ticket-taker standing at the front of each hallway. You see how this can become a problem when I’ve planned to hop to a movie that is taking place in the other hallway? The hopping ends there. Because if I’m on my third movie the only ticket I have to offer is dated sometime last Tuesday. And unlike the before mentioned amusement park, movie theaters don’t like it when you hang around all day on the purchase of one ticket.


Then there is the most frustrating feature of all: the concession stand that resides outside of where the ticket-taker is taking tickets. This means that once you have handed your ticket to the taker you are unable to revisit the concessions ever again. This is no good when I am spending a whole day there. A girl needs food. A girl needs to spend $6 on nachos. Or the girl has not truly experienced the movies. This usually results in me stocking up on food as if a herd of my young is hungrily awaiting my arrival. “You’re going to have to grab the ticket out of my butt pocket, cause I’m too busy trying to balance this popcorn, nachos, sour patch kids, coke and slurpee. Oooh yeah, you’re going to have to take the Bon Bons out of the pocket before you can reach the ticket.”

My last complaint to movie theaters is that there are just too many. The movies are thrown about and I find it next to impossible to find 5 good movies at one theater. So my day is cut short. And my happiness diminished.

Now please don’t be a buzzkill like my mother and proclaim that movie-hopping isn’t really a sport, that it’s really stealing. It is not stealing. I do not hide anything in my pockets in an attempt to leave the premises with them (besides Bon Bons, and I pay for them). And no one is harmed by my actions (except my numb ass). AND I make it a point to spend a stupid amount of money on concessions while I’m camped out at the theater. And we all know that if there is any stealing going on it is happening when the theater charges you $20 for popcorn and a soda. Granted the popcorn tub is the size of large diving pool and the soda could fill that pool, but still. I’m pretty sure they are making a fine amount of money off me spending three meals inside their doors.

Thank god for free refills.


Patricia said...

omg you're my hero. i have absolutely zero ability to movie hop.
i always want to.
say i will.
and then. movie #1 ends and i hover around the door of movie #2, sweating and pacing and just disgusted with my damn self until i give up, exasperated, and leave the theatre.
once again, i'm in awe of your skills.

movie theatre surfer said...

Having been someone who has had the honor & pleasure of movie-hopping with dawn (we did three in one day/night more than a few times), let me just say that it IS a sport - it involves strategy, planning, manouvres, and talent.

As you can see not everyone is capable of movie hopping (is: Patricia hovering and sweating), and as dawn stated it is not stealing by any means. Most theatres don't care. The gremlins that "patrol" the theatre have more important things to do than keep mid to late 20's girls from entering a theatre with a vat 'o snacks. The real key to movie hopping/surfing is avoiding eye contact - look like you are late to your movies as you fumble with your keys and/or concession items. You'll look to busy to be guilty. It's the same theory as if you are being followed by a cop on the road - just crank the radio and start jamming out. Sing as loud as you can and start seat-dancing. They will be so amused/confused by you that even if they were thinking of pulling you over they forgot why, and those parking tickets in your glove box will still remain unnoticed.

But, I am disappointed dawn, that you have revealed the movie hopping secret...because the more people find out about it, the more controversy will be stirred. Then the theatres will find out and start to get suspicious, forcing them to be more aware and giving people like Patricia a real reason to hover and sweat. But the worst they can do is ask you to leave...

Anonymous said...

WHERE HAVE I GONE WRONG!?!! Just think how much movies COULD make if everyone who saw them actually paid. I'm a Patricia through and through.--mom

Dean said...

Maybe to help Mom feel better, you could ask for movies tickets at Christmas.

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