Friday, March 13, 2009

A "Foolproof" Movie Rating System

Go to the Movie Theater or Rent a DVD or wait for it on TV?

After years of careful study, devising metrics, evaluating data, scrutinizing reviews and every other possible objective way of determining which movies we want to see my wife and I have come up with a fool proof rating system which we are offering to the public and to the motion picture industry free of charge.

There is beauty in its simplicity much like the uncluttered lines of a Frank Lloyd Wright design. For in function there is form. We do not do this for recognition nor for our justly earned kudos. Rather we do it to try to keep people from spending great sums of money in the futile quest for entertainment value without having to endure an endless stream of flatulence jokes, gratuitous violence, male nudity of any sort, insipid plots, computer animated combat (always easily discernable as contrived) musical scores creating false plot hyperbole or any of the other of the things which artificially drive the production costs of movies up, entertainment values down but increase the need for achieving “blockbuster status” so that tickets can be sold to an unsuspecting public which has better things to spend time and money on.

Anyway, enough of the methodological rationale. Here’s the gist of it. Again, be prepared for its simplicity.

There are $20 movies (worth buying 2 tickets to go see).
There are $5 movies (worth renting at the video store or online).
And, there are free movies (good only for viewing when they are broadcast on TV).

It’s just that easy. And guess what—there are very, very few $20 movies—especially since a $20 movie has a nasty tendency to become a $30 or even $40 movie really quick if you make a stop at the concession stand.

Think of it this way—I’m old enough that I graduated from high school back when movies cost 50 cents to go see (and that was at the fancy theater downtown). Now, I could take a date to the movie, go to the concession stand for 2 soft drinks and popcorn and spend a total of about $3. It took me about an hour and 45 minutes to earn the money from a part time job to pay for that. At today’s prices for tickets and concessions it takes about 4 hours of work at a part time job at $8 an hour to pay for a movie date.

It’s not that I don’t want to take my wife out. But for the price of a movie in the theater we can go to reasonably nice restaurant (better than Burger King but less than Ruth Cris) and still rent a movie.

So give it some thought. Maybe if theaters offered better prices or if studios could figure out that movie stars aren’t worth $10 million per movie per star or if someone would figure out that movies are entertainment and escapism and can also be another form of literature (for those of you in high school that’s a book that’s really, really good) then movies would be better, less expensive and more worth the price you pay.

Oh, and by the way, another way to make a $20 movie a $20 movie is to stop at the dollar store and buy your candy on the way—unless you like paying $4 at the theater for the same box of Good & Plenty or MilkDuds. Just wear cargo pants. And slip a bottle of soda into a large handbag so you’ve got something to drink that just cost you a buck rather than the $4.50 at the concession stand.

So, in today’s economy it’s really, really important to make your dollar stretch just as far as you can absolutely can. Give this a try. Then if you really, really have to go out you can take a walk or go out for what I call “Cheap Bastid Lunch”—but that’s a topic for another lesson in practical economics that I’ll write about soon.

1 comment:

  1. Love it Dad! And if you want to have a drinky drink at the movies, just slip your flask into your handbag!