The Solitaire Rose Guide to going to the movies

Our number one pasttime in America isn't baseball, no matter what George Will says. Of course, George Will can be outguessed by a chimp, so it's not that big a surprise that he's wrong on that. Baseball isn't a pastime, it's a cheap sleep aid provided to us by Fox Sports Net and ESPN, who are both trying to fill time in the summer when it's too hot to play sports and basketball season finally ends in mid-July. No, America's number one pastime is spending money, and move theaters have figured out that if they place themselves where we spend money, they can get it to spend money there.

It used to be that you had to actually go out of your way to go to a movie theater. They were separate buildings that had parking lots all their own, and tried to lure you in by saying that a movie would be entertaining, filled with big stars, massive spectacle and amazing stories. Now, we have theaters that are inside big shopping malls, give massive barrels of popcorn and big explosions. This is what we call progress.

Because of the switch to shopping malls, the prevalence of VCRs, the fact that you can have over 20 movies channels on your cable at once and that local news's job is to scare people over the age of 30 into staying home in fear that some black people may do something criminal, movies have changed. There are a number of different categories that appeal to 15 year olds, and it's best that we give you a guide to these movies so that you know how to spend your fleeting moments when you aren't having to be at some soul-numbing job with soul-numbing entertainment. No, no, don't thank me. I do this as a public service.

At least that is what I will be telling the judge at my next hearing.

First, you need to figure out what kind of theater you want to go to. Some people say that they first check out what movies are playing and find a theater that is playing them, but they are just lying to themselves. Certain movies play in certain places, and once you figure out what kind of place you want to see a movie in, it determines what kind of movie you will see.

First, there are the Big multiscreen theaters in malls. These are mostly staffed by teenagers who think that it was an outrage that the movie about girls in bikinis surfing didn't win "Best Picture", will give you a disdainful look if you go to a movie that has anyone who didn't get their start in an MTV music video, and want to get a job that will allow them to have facial piercings instead of this one. These theaters are loud, filled with people you want to spray riot foam on so that they get the hell out of your way and generally have decent projection and sound. They have enough screens that there is at least one movie showing there that should be playing at a pretentious "Art" theater, and are a good place to buy one ticket and see three or four movies. Go here if you want to waste a day, see big budget movies for 15 year olds and don't mind roving packs of teenagers who aren't old enough to drive explaining their vast knowledge of film because their teacher made them watch a movie from 1995.

Then, there are multiscreen theaters that used to be where people went 5 years ago. Now, they are bargain theaters and show the movies that were in the mall theater three months ago, and might have just come out on video. Go here if you are broke, want to see the people who will be on an upcoming episode of "Cops" or feel the need to use a bathroom that makes the ones in Detroit gas stations look "friendly and inviting".

Next up are old theaters that haven't been closed down yet. Many of them have been split into two tiny screens by running a wall down the middle of an old auditorium. They show the same movies as the mall theaters, but offer "ambiance", such as a plant or two in the lobby, people working at the theater who are old enough to have actual jobs help by adults and seats that were cleaned back when Burt Reynolds was considered a star of some sort. These are theaters you go to if they are either in your neighborhood or you want to see a movie alone.

Last are "Art" theaters. These are usually in a smug part of town that has a lot of artist galleries, coffee houses, tattoo shops with cute names and places that sell used clothing to people trying desperately to be hip. This is where the teenagers with facial piercings work. Most of the time, these theaters are showing things with subtitles, ugly actors or movies devoid of car chases, explosions and computer generated effects. However, this can be a good place to meet women who will sleep with you as an artistic statement, see a movie with extended sex scenes or see a guy who goes on and on about the "ennui of life" get dumped by his girlfriend when he spends too much time using the word "motif" in a sentence.

Now that you have chosen your theater, you need to choose the kind of movie you want to see. No matter what anyone tells you, there are only three kinds of movies: Movies for 15 year old boys, movie for 25 year old women and movies for people who hate movies for 15 year old boys and 25 year old women. Or sure, some will say "What about different genres, like horror, drama, suspense, comedy, science fiction and the like?" These are people that I fondly refer to as fucking morons. Three kinds of movies. That's it. That's all. I'll prove it to you.

Grab the paper today and look at the ads for movies. The untrained eye will see all kinds of movies, but if you really look at the ads, you'll see that they break down in a very simple way. The ads either try to make the movie seem so cool that you have to see it right now, that it will make you feel some sort of emotion or talk about how many other people say the movie is great.

Any movie that says it was #1 at anything is aimed at 15-year-old boys because they want to see what everyone else says is cool. I don't care if the actual person is a 36 year old woman, if she says "Oh, so that Adam Sandler movie is #1 at the box office, it must be good," she's a 15 year old boy. These are the movies with computer special effect, explosions, kung-fu, people insulting each other, scenes of people dancing to rap music and hot chicks who have very little to do other than be hot, unless they are the ones who are doing the kung-fu, insulting someone, dancing to rap music or a computer special effect. You know, like Angelina Jolie. The great thing about these movies is that you don't have to worry about seeing it, the movie will do all the work for you.

The plot will be painfully simple, usually involving someone having to do something before a deadline and you will be shown what happens if they don't meet that deadline. The actors will be pleasing to the eye, and the best that modern genetic manipulation can create. The end of the movie will be clear, with no ambiguity at all. These movies are much like a ride at an amusement park, you know what's going to happen, you know you won't be surprised and you have been on it so many times that the only fun is watching the fat guy in front of you trying not to throw up.

Movies aimed at 25 year old women either have ads with 80's pop music in them or women hugging each other (and not in a getting ready to kiss way, which would make it a movie for 15 year old boys). There are usually only one or two of these movies out at a time and they have two plots. One, a group of women get involved in something and learn about each other or two, a man and a woman hate each other and eventually fall in love.

The first of these two plots is one that puts anyone with a penis that gets near women to sleep, so I have yet to make it through one of these, but they are a great way to tell if you are gay. Let's be frank, if you are a guy and have made it all the way through "Fried Green Tomatoes" or anything from "Oprah's Book Club", you had best be loading up on Madonna albums and chest waxing because you will be making out with a guy before your next hot meal.

The second plot is so unrealistic that it explains why most marriages end not just in divorce, but long lawsuits that make our lawyers the best fed and clothed on the planet. Also, if it were true, Ann Coulter would be fucking Michael Moore as I write this, and that just isn't happening, unless he's passed out on his own self-righteousness and she's got a strapon, is half crazed from hunger and did three hits of really good acid.

Now these movies are commonly called "chick flicks". I feel that this is a sexist and possibly inaccurate term. A better term would be "Spineless men, gay men and chick flick."

The last kind of movie is one that doesn't fit into either of those two categories. They usually list a bunch of critic's opinions, have starts who aren't as young as they used to be, and have plots that take more than 10 words to describe. There are usually very few of these movies out as well, sometimes they might have subtitles,

These are pretty much only movies to go to if you are trying to impress someone or have seen all of the movies in whichever of the first two categories you fit into. They can be adaptations of books that no one read, are based enough on a true story that someone can sell a book telling the story or will be the subject of a book talking about how the movie was made. Suffice it to say that if you like the movie, it will try to get you to read something at some point. These movies also involved a character learning something or changing in some way. Which means they are just as unrealistic as the movies in Category One, while being a preachy as the movies in Category Two.

You'll notice that I don't talk about kids movies or "family movies" which are kids movies without animation or people being hit in the crotch. That is because people only see these movies if they have to, and I don't have to. Besides, if you ignore them long enough, they will be playing on the local UHF station on a Saturday afternoon so that you can watch it while recovering from your drinking Friday night or getting ready for your drinking Saturday night.

Once you have chosen your theater and your movie, you are then obliged to deal with the fact that the theater wants to take more money out of you. First by the snack bar, which is where they make all of their profit. Trust me, it costs about 12 cents for the tub of popcorn that would feed a starving family in a non-oil producing country for a week, and soda costs even less. We suggest that you bypass the snack bar, and instead fill your pockets with snacks before leaving home. It's not like the sell ham sammiches and pie at the snack bar, and haven't had enough popcorn in this lifetime? The second way they try to squeeze money out of you is to show you a shitload of ads for cars, TV shows and the Army. The best way to avoid this is to pretend you are on the set of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and make fun of the ads, or play a Gameboy until they are over, whichever pisses off the people around you more.

Movie previews are a different story. When they show, you should remain silent until they are completely over, then let everyone in the theater know if you will be seeing it in the theater, on video, on cable or on Channel 9 on a Friday night when you are broke.

Once the movie starts, shut the hell up or you'll get beaten with a broken armrest. If someone else is talking, you should beat him or her with a broken armrest. If they want to talk during the movie, they can wait until it's on video and annoy the people they live with who have no choice in the matter.

We here at Solitaire Rose Productions hope you have found this guide to movie going useful, and appreciate both the time you took in reading it, and the fact that you want to make movie-going a better experience for you and the people around you. Now shut up, turn your cell phone off and hand me your popcorn before I break my foot off in your ass.

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