' ' Cinema Romantico: Subtraction by Addition

Monday, November 07, 2005

Subtraction by Addition

Movie ads are out of control. Now, I’m not just talking about the ads that come right before the previews and after the film projector has started running. No, in an unfathomable twist they have become even worse than that.

On a recent excursion to the movie theater, I arrived – as I often do – about 10 minutes before the scheduled show-time. Those minutes in darkness before the lights come all the way down and the movie fires up are sacred to me. They’re holy. You know how people in the church sanctuary before the service often sit quietly, staring off into space, reflecting? That’s what I’m like in the theater. The sense of anticipation is always great, no matter how many dozens of times each year I do it. Often the best outlining I get done in my head for my scripts is done in those moments before the movie begins.

But when I entered the theater and took my seat I found movie ads already going. These weren’t the normal movie ads but ads before the ads. The pre-ad-ad’s. This is the utter definition of out of control. I hate the regular movie ads as much as the next guy but at least they weren’t infringing on my pre-movie reflection period. Now I don’t even get that?

Have humans really reached the point where they’re so incapable of conversing with one another, or being left alone with their own thoughts, that they’d rather have yet another onslaught of terrible ads and who-knows-what-else? Or is it just the movie theater’s desire to provide us this second onslaught for their wicked amusement?

And if this is going to continue, here’s an idea – a slide projector at the front of the church sanctuary that can run advertisements while people ruminate before the service. Maybe they could run them while the service is going, too. Why sing hymns during communion when we could all just sit and watch the latest sales at the local department stores?

It’s only a matter of time.

(In relation to movie ads, here's a question: Why did I get so irritated and call Robert DeNiro a "sell-out" when he did an ad for American Express but when Kate Winslet does an American Express ad I think it's one of the coolest commercials I've ever seen?)

1 comment:

Rory Larry said...

Movie theaters are a business, and a very low margin business. Thus high concession prices and ads ads ads. I hate them as much as you, but the alternative is no movie theaters and despite my nice tv and dvd player, I still want movie theaters so I will put up with it all for those 1.5 to 2 hours of cinematic ecstasy.