I’ve been trying to think about a recent movie I saw in the theater, but like the stooge Curly says, “I’m tryin’ ta think but nuthin’s happenin’!” I see maybe 1 or 2 movies a year these days. The theater experience has become an ordeal to be endured. Not that today’s generation ought to have a different experience, mind you. Heroic training for the invasion of the berserkoids does have its place, now more than ever. But for me, the psychic tabernacle is now best accessed in the comfort of one’s own home unit. It takes a compelling movie event to drag me away from the draft cider pipeline for a seat that feels like yesterday’s newspapers.

If you pay for a matinee, it’s a kick to the shins. If you pay full price, it’s a knee to the groin. If you buy a small drink and a handful of gummi bears from the candy stand, it’s a kick in the ribs. The theater is full of tourists from the local planetary system, and they lost their earthling behavior manuals on the way through the hyperspace bypass. Some of them keep getting messages from Galactic Central, even after the movie starts. And the screaming bratbots don’t seem to have a turn-off switch. I just got a knee to the groin, and now I have to watch 20 minutes of commercials? I haven’t even gotten to the previews and I’ve already received my complimentary brick to the skull. This movie better make Star Wars look like amateur night!

That is why I don’t go to movies much anymore. Its no surprise the only thing keeping the movie theater racket in business is the fact that they’re the only game in town. The tourist parental units need someplace, even a no win scenario, to drop the mobile kid unit brigade while they recharge the ion drive. The jack-bots have got us by the thrusters!

As near as I can make out, the only signs of intelligent life appear to be the “draft movie house” human cultural R and D. The movie is usually something that’s just passed out of the theater gauntlet, so you aren’t getting the immediate gratification of knowing what’s “now”, but who cares? The “current entertainment at the top of the catwalk” phenomenon never delivers half the hype it spouts out. You get to sit in a nice, comfortable layout without being crammed into the airline seats like sardines to the wallet-ectomy. There’s food that at least was handled by a human being for more than the 60 seconds it took to wake the protein chains from hypersleep. You can order something to drink, with a selection somewhat approaching bar standards of party-vertical. And the ticket price is a mere spitball to the cheek – an indignity, to be sure, but it’s a blow I can take. The money I save gets invested in the water flavored with beer, or the highly economical bottle for the price of a six-pack.

But at least it’s not a brick to the skull! Crumbs, its almost like America’s version of the pub, with a movie as the social draw, instead of local gossip.

Unfortunately, I have to go all the way over to the next province if I want to enjoy a tall cool one, a burger, and a not-so-current movie that’s priced about right. The freaky demographics must still look “un-mutual” in Pottersville*. Something that looks like a fad only the young, hip replicants enjoy. They must think the current model of family unit programs don’t have enough memory on their identity discs to run trans-warp drive experiments. Time to upgrade, slumlords! I’ve got the bonus points; I’m ready for my extra life! Pac man fever. It’s drivin’ me wild.

* No, not Harry, Henry! A reference to “It’s a Wonderful Life.”