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Doogan's Views at The Digital Bits
page added: 6/27/06

Doogan's Views Presents...
The Digital Bits "How To" Series: Chapter 11
How To Watch a Summer Movie
(and Not Get Lost In The Shuffle)

Doogan's Views - Main Page

We here at The Bits have always felt that Home Theater is a grand thing. But in no way does it sit in for the thrill of the first run experience. Some films are just meant to be seen in an audience projected high and wide. So, as a sort of "community outreach," we recommend that you go out and see some films in the air conditioned comfort of your local googolplex. We give you this easy to follow guide to help you on your journey.


School is out, days are longer and the summer is finally here. While most people are planning vacations to the beach, or God forbid, the annual family reunion somewhere in the Mid-West, YOU should be hunkered down with the Summer Preview edition of some entertainment rag trying to schedule your upcoming weekend. Your plans for the summer should be simpler than stuffing hot dogs down your throat of cramming the car full of kids. No. It should be thus: to see every single movie listed, no matter what the critics say. Why? Is Uncle Doogan a sellout, trying to drum up money for the Hollywood Machine? No kids. No. I just want you to remember what most people either haven't figured out or forgot a long time ago thanks to DVD: no one really cares if a summer movie is bad or good. Critics pan movies all the time that somehow end up raking in bazillions; but why? The answer is very simple: no matter how intelligent or how corn-fed, mainstream audiences simply wanna see well-made bad movies. But just seeing a summer movie isn't the hard part. There are plenty to choose from. But seeing 'em isn't the goal, no it's all in the WAY you see it that matters. For this chapter of The Digital Bits "How To" series we explore the intricate designs of actually seeing a Summer Blockbuster. From picking the movie to heading home, we'll advise you on all the finer points.

So Many Choices and So Little Time, or Picking Your Summer Movie Experience

Picking a movie is hardly a chore: just pick the biggest movie of the week. First rule - you must see it opening weekend. If you aren't first, there is no way you can tell everyone just how bad or good the flick is. It's all a matter of bragging rights. If two films open side by side, that just extends the hours or days of your work activity - I mean, c'mon, it's your duty, man.

For this week's excursion, might we suggest the soaring fancy of the is-he-or-isn't-he-gay Superman Returns? For some, the tightly held secret revelations (cough-Superboy-cough) within the film already make the film a suck-fest. For others it's a bold extension of the already classic first two entries into Warner's franchise. Your job: Pick a theater and we'll do the rest.

What Time Is It?

Summer Movies are like none other. Here's the reason why -- they make money all day long. Kids aren't in school, and a pimple faced usher is always the cheaper baby-sitter any day. Most summer movies open Thursday night at midnight (Superman Returns will bow Tuesday at Midnight), and we suggest you find this showing. That will give you at least 12 hours jump time to everyone else who has no idea theaters do advance showings. Look in the paper Thursday morning, find your theater and either go online and get your ticket, call one of the ticket services, or fug it: go there to buy a ticket during lunch. Theaters will sell you a ticket for any showing of that day, and this will at least alleviate any stress from the "will I get there on time" syndrome. If you can't find a theater that is doing an advance preview, go at 7:30 PM on opening night - use the above advance ticket purchase plan. That way you can spend the rest of the night discussing with friends whether Parker Posey was "wasted" in her role, "too over the top" or both.

A Movie Watching State of Mind

Because summer movies aren't like other movies, you have to get into the right state of mind. For example: Disney/Pixar's Cars, which came out a few weeks ago - has a plot that is totally the same as Doc Hollywood, whether it's good or not. The plot is this: big city fella gets lost in the backwoods only to find himself and true love. Seen it already; so what is the point? That, my friend is the wrong state of mind. Summer movies are like a finely crafted joke - the minute you sit down and try to explain it - it's just not fun anymore. Let go of reality and watch for the: A) cheesy dialogue. B) Incredible stunts and C) too cool special effects. You'll have plenty of time to think in the next wave of films. But we're saving all that for Chapter 17: Show Me The Oscar, Or How To Watch the Fall Movie Season.

Arriving At The Theater

The most important aspect of arriving at the theater is parking the car. So you're rolling your eyes as you mumble to yourself, "What the heck would I care about where I park?" Silly person. The summer movie season is ripe, and that means many will harvest. What does all of this mean? It means don't look for a parking spot. Here's the secret - park near the side. Most people are in such a rush trying to make sure they get a ticket that they park up front. This way they can get to the front of the building quicker. What do you care, you already bought your ticket. We're more proactive - we take care of the little things in advance. Parking on the side will give you a quicker exit, both out of the theater (see: Leaving The Theater) and the parking lot. If you followed all the rules up to this point, everything will fall into place.

Standing On Line

No advice here. You have a ticket, and that's all that matters. Talk amongst yourselves. Here's a topic: Would Nicolas Cage have made a good Superman?

Stuffing Your Face and Enhancing The Movie Going Experience

There are two schools on this: to eat and drink, or to not eat and drink. Of course if you read Chapter 5: Movies As Dates or How To Impress Your Date at the Movie House, you know that eating is an important issue when you're with someone. Then again, a summer movie is no place for an actual "date" - so eating and drinking is a choice that only you can make. If you like popcorn, get it. My only concern for you is the candy. Some candies irk others in the theater. For example: Twizzlers, the greatest food ever invented, are in a protective wrapping so stiff that its rustling annoys those around you. They're just too friggin' loud. Same goes with that freaky Sour Patch Kids. What can you do? Here's a tip: bring a plastic sandwich bag with you. If you pour the contents of any candy into this bag, then you won't have to fit your hands into the teeny-tiny box or make obnoxious crinkle sounds with the plastic wrap. Easy to carry in and when you're done, just throw it away. Simple solutions, from the minds of The Digital Bits. Oh, and don't be a prick. Throw your garbage away. Don't chuck it on the floor.

Where and How To Sit

Oh, boy -- I can't tell you how many times I have hated the movie because of where I was sitting. To truly enjoy the sound in a theater, its best you sit smack dab in the center. The problem with this is; you don't have 500 seats there, so it's a survival game. It's kinda hard to suggest anything above getting there early enough to sit in the middle. If you can't sit in the choice seats then at least sit in the center row of the aisle you can find. This keeps you out of the way of those goofy people who can't hold their cola. Also, the "buffer seat" is a myth. Two guys sitting next to each other is not "gay." Leaving a seat between you is waaaaaaay more "gay."

Lights Dim, Crowd Hushes, and the Trailers Start

You already paid for the movie so there is no surprise there; you should by now already know what you're getting. What you don't know is: which trailers will play. Trailers are easily the most important aspect of the summer movie season. With that in mind, you should respect those around you. It's cool to talk before the movie starts. You can talk about home, work or even the surprise ending of the film. The thing you can't do is talk during the trailer. You can respond with whoops, hollers or the occasional "that's gonna suck" or anything else in respect to the trailer experience. But if I'm sitting behind you and you're still in mid-conversation about your Aunt Edith, you'll get a Whopper in the back of you head. Plain and simple, capiche?

Watching the Movie

We're coming to the end of our lesson, and you did well grasshopper. As the movie starts, you will eventually click into auto-pilot and enjoy the experience as a whole. Just keep in mind, that no movie is truly bad, something good comes out of all bad movies. Our very our Adam Jahnke makes lots of money being the official mouthpiece for Lloyd Kaufman the overlord of a world of bad movies at Troma, an empire built on bad movies. We all love bad movies, and that's the great thing about summer movies - they're the best of the worst.

Leaving The Theater

So, the end sequence just occurred, Superman flies off towards a new three-picture contract bound adventure. As the credits roll, everyone gets up and heads out of the theater. Fools! They're missing the second-best part of the summer movie experience - the credits. Read 'em, they're fun and sometimes the credits can go on forever. Oh, and sometimes the filmmakers give you a little surprise in the end. Remember the "Skeletor Back From The Dead" scene at the end of He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe movie with Dolph Lundren? No? Well, there is one. There are no surprises to see after Superman Returns, so don't worry - but just in case, it's another bragging right.

The End

If you followed all of our little rules and you have kept all of this in mind, then your summer movie watching experiences will prove to be fruitful. Summer movies are all a matter or presentation; bad movies can turn good with the right state of mind. Yes, a summer movie like Batman and Robin did indeed suck. But the important thing here is, at least you watched Batman and Robin and now you have the right to tell everyone how much it sucked. That's the greatest power a film fan has. And you got there first, which is even better.

That's it for this go round. Be here when I actually review something.

Keep spinnin' those discs and eatin' them Twizzlers!

Happy Summer Movie Season,

Todd Doogan

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