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And Jesus, do we really need to see "Apprentice" promos before a movie? Don't they know Trump is totally last season?

(From Too Much Coffee Man. Click on the thumbnail for full sized constructive feedback.)

Dear God does this strip speak the truth. It's worse now than it ever was, and it makes me progressively more frightened for the future. See, way back when you would go to the movies and the following things would happen. First, the curtain would open up on the screen. Then, two or three previews of coming attractions would be shown. Then, there might be an advertisement for the refreshment stand or an injunction to use the exits at the far side of the room if the building caught fire. And then you would see the movie.

Then, the number of previews increased.

Then, the commercial for the refreshment stand grew more elaborate.

Then, commercials began to run, before the previews. Commercials for Coke, for Hollywood.com, for jeans. At first, they were distinctive commercials made for the movie screen. Then, they were the same crap we watch on television.

Then, they started showing a short film about the Jimmy Fund. I have no argument with this one.

Then, they began running slides before even showing the commercials, for when you first arrived at the theater. They had rebuses any developmentally disabled four year old could guess (when they actually have four or more letters on the screen, it's not a rebus any more, it's the work of a confused calligrapher who thinks a picture of a light socket is part of the English Language.) They had "trivia" that proved conclusively that the word derives from "trivial." And they had local commercials. The Portsmouth movie house we go to typically had slides advertising the York County hospital, just over the border. Generally, it advertised it with a giant picture of a baby, which makes me think I can drive to York County and pick up a small child for all my small child needs.

And now? Now?

The Twenty.

That's right, the slideshow encouraged people to ignore the ads and engage in conversation before the damn movie. We can't have that. So now we have twenty minutes of faux "behind the scenes" coverage of your 'favorite' shows from NBC and TNT, plus full out commericals. It's horrible, and it's offensive.

That's right, offensive. If I pay someone eight bucks to see a movie, I don't want to see commercials for FUCKING TNT. I have TNT and I never, ever watch it! And now they've driven me to block it from my Tivo list, so that I never even see it! Tivo can't even record shows off of TNT as suggestions any more! THIS IS WHAT THEY HAVE WROUGHT!

We have gotten some fun out of it, though. Part of my ritual for buying a ticket now includes my desperately asking the ticket taker if we get to see The Twenty before the movie. It's become clear the staff of the movie theater hates it as much as we do.

Probably more, actually. Most theaters have taken to playing it in the lobby. I'd think that would be grounds for an unsafe work environment lawsuit.


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While living overseas for two years, we learned to hate the movie theater, almost to the point of prefering the bootleg DVD to sitting through the movie. Sure the bootlegs might have a person or two standing up in front of the screen once or twice, but it least they cut out the commercials. Oh and remember the intermission during Gandhi. In Cyprus, every film had an intermission for smoking, drinking and, that's right, showing more previews, ads, whatever. Our only consolation: they were in Greek.

-Bob Stevenson

Lore remains a tiny God.

Well, actually, I have no idea what Lore's height is.

I believe he's actually rather tall.

"Tall God."

It sounds like it should be Film Noir.

Actually, I kinda' enjoy 'The Twenty' when I arrive early because it gets people to shut up and sit their kids down earlier, and it's something to look at other than the old slideshow of stupid trivia and ads for "Bettie May's Real Estate" that looked like they were produced in some basement timewarp caught in a perpetual state of early 80's. Sure, most of what "The Twenty" sucks, but it wasn't as bad as those slideshow ads!

I would prefer 20 minutes of movie previews, and I'm not sure why they don't do that instead.

Because at some point, you're going to run out of movies to preview, and it's a proven(1) fact that TV advertisers never actually shut up, so it's easy to get them to fill space.

(1) May not be traditional definition of "proof".

Also, tickets at most movie theaters here in San Francisco now cost ten dollars.

TEN DAMN DOLLARS. And we get ads. More ads all the time.

The Loews pre-show lineup now also includes little testimonials honoring the 100th anniversary of the Loews theater chain. It ends up depressing me because I start thinking about what movie theaters were like 100 years ago, and what they've become. I grew up near one of the few surviving original Loews movie palaces, a massive, flamboyant, gleefully tasteless confection of red carpet and gold paint, with electric stars in the ceiling and a pipe organ that rose from the stage and decor designed to evoke a Moorish garden. Lots of nude plaster statuary on the walls.

Now I see movies at the Loews Metreon, where they pipe the pop music Sony can't sell anywhere else into little multiplex screening compartments. Then they show us twenty minutes of TV ads. And Coke does a little film.

On the plus side, theater seats with built-in cupholders are a major technological advancement.

At Sky Captain this weekend, I was treated to a trailer for a TV movie on Lifetime, as part of the ad block. Gag.

And, of course, the ad block ALWAYS leads off with an asinine "Pirating is bad, m'kay?" piece.

For the longest time, our local theater always followed this with two ads for Bod for Men (ads that exclusively showed naked male torsos, making me suspect it's really Bod for Gay Men) and an ad for the corresponding female product. Then a Sprite ad, or the Fanta girls.

The slideshows don't really bother me, they rank with the billboard ads you'd often find at the bottom of drive-in screens in the old days. Fairly inoffensive and not part of the time you're paying for (the show-times listed on the ticket indicate when the commercials start, not the movie...so in theory you're paying to see the adblock).

Oooh, almost forgot. The slideshow around here still has ads in it for Family Channel's "Last Resort" reality show, ads that are about two years old. :)

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