The Decline of the Movie Theater Experience

By decline, I don’t only mean the reclining theater chairs. Which is kinda cool, I guess…after you finished laughing at them.

Friday after Thanksgiving is special for my fiance and I. That is the time we watched our first movie together–in spite of the over 8,000 miles between us. So it only made sense to watch Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them then (as I’m a big Potterhead and I watched all Harry Potter movies in the theaters).  It’s going to be my first movie theater experience in America! Big servings of popcorn and candies and sodas, here I come!

Yep, I was excited for our movie date for three things:

–I’m going to watch it with my best friend in his own turf (we went to the theaters a couple of times in the Philippines).

–The movie itself.

–and the FOOD!!!

Hey, we also have our popcorn and candies and sodas in the Philippines. But holy pork, American servings are way too big (not that I am complaining). Seeing as we are both big piggies who felt we were entitled to cheat that day after two weeks of dieting, it made us both so giddy to mix our Reese’s Pieces with Buttery Popcorn. Plus, there’s our MEDIUM sodas which would probably be labeled JUMBO in the Philippines.

Still, that was not the highlight of the experience. The main event was–of course–the reclining chairs.

When we bought our tickets and had to choose our seats in their monitor, we were mildly wondering why there were so few of those seats in the cinema. I shrugged and brushed it to the back of my mind, thinking they probably have smaller cinemas here because they have several of them, specifically 11 (in the Philippines, cinemas are only 4 to 6 in a movie house, but they have more seatings).

After eating a big lunch and doing an errand, we were finally getting inside the cinema. The first thing that Timmy said as we saw the inside of it was, “Oh wow, the seats are so small!”. I, however, thought “Oh wow, these seats look so big and comfortable!” Yes, the cultural difference is so evident. I clearly belong the more minute race.

Finally comfortable in our seats, Timmy made the sensible move to empty his bladder first before the movie starts. So I was left there, comfortably lounging and mentally admiring their seats, until I saw the couple on my left do something I haven’t seen in any Philippine theater before.

They put up the footrests of the seats, and actually start to recline as if they were in their own fucking houses. Of course, I was jealous! Why wouldn’t you want to showcase your inner laziness in public? I gingerly tried to figure out how to lift up the footrests to no avail. Hell, this was an utterly new phenomenon to me! And I was too timid to ask my fellow Asians how they were able to do it. I didn’t want to appear dumber than I already am. I made a mental note to fret to Timmy why he didn’t prepare me better for this–but then again, he prepared me well enough for the important stuff (i.e. Food) so I decided not to be harsh.

Turns out, it was also his first time inside a movie theater with reclining chairs. He was so surprised when he got back from peeing and, sniggering, whispered to me how it was so unnecessary. We both started giggling about it, making politically incorrect jokes as we go along. But since this is not “work”, let me tell you a few points we have “discussed”:

–Reclining chairs is a lazy/sedentary culture thing.

–Reclining chairs is a sign of giving up on pretending to be respectable members of society. 

–They should create reclining chairs for morbidly obese people, too.

–It isn’t worth paying more for reclining chairs in a less-than-two-hour movie. Give me the cheaper tickets with standard seats anytime, please.

–Reclining chairs take up more room than necessary, thus less people are accommodated in one cinema (Which is ironic because more people watching the movie might mean more profit for the theater, but then they probably charge higher for having these reclining chairs. So they’re probably winning because people tend to like to try “new” things. And I should probably stop over-analyzing those poor, innocent butt stoppers).

Now before you think we hated the whole experience, you could never be more wrong. We were actually comfortable sitting on these wondrous chairs all throughout the movie. Everyone in that theater was, too, since nobody missed the opportunity of propping their feet up and reclining their bodies like a boss. The Asian guy beside me even fell asleep.

Seriously, I rather like those chairs. It’s just fun making fun of them. But then if I have to pay more to get the reclining chair experience, I’d rather have the standard seats anytime. Cheapness wins at the end of the day if you’re in the bee household…unless, we’re talking about food.

He said to take a picture of him looking cool with his 3D glasses on. And so I took a pic of him being a bee.


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