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October 03, 2012

Going To The Movies? No!


When I was a kid the best part of going to the movies was the candy.

When I was a teenager the best part of going to the movies were the girls.

When I was a young adult the best part of going to the movies was the R-rated movies.

Nowadays we watch our movies at home, where the "pause" button allows you to raid the refrig, take a nap, get a drink, or even check out something else on TV and then go back. Technology like that was unthinkable, even two decades ago.

When we were little kids my mother would ship us off to the Saturday matinee every week at the Linden Theater on Nostrand Avenue. I didn't realize it then, but it was a perfect way to get us out of her hair for the day. It was 15 cents to get in, and most kids would get a quarter, leaving a dime for candy. That was important, because the dime candy machine had chocolate candy, like Raisinets and Hershey's chocolate bars.

Our mother would give us only 20 cents, so we'd be relegated to the nickel machine, with stuff like Red Hots, Necco Wafers, Juicyfruits, and so on.

My favorite was potato sticks, which were fried little crunchy bits of matter, that doubtless contained no potatoes at all. Then again, Bit O Honey didn't have any honey in the bars, but did have a little peanut butter. By the way, the "cream filling" in Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes was whipped animal fat: sugar, white food coloring, and enough preservatives to keep it "fresh" for a lifetime.

We didn't really get "films" like the ones that feature serious actors in dramatic roles. What we did get was a steady stream of cartoons and then a recycled Abbot and Costello or Three Stooges movie, and some of the older horror movies like Earth And The Flying Saucers or Them.

There were no cute creatures like Big Bird -- all the men looked like lechers and perverts.

The place was a dump, there were always kids smoking -- hey, it was Brooklyn -- and yes, in those days movie theaters had smoking sections. At the Linden, smokers sat in the center of the theater, as if smoke was smart enough not to waft over the other sections.

(Restaurants allowed smoking as well, usually in half the dining room. I remember at Baron's Cove in Sag Harbor the tables in the smoking section faced those in the non-smoking section, so the smokers blew smoke directly at you. Therefore, those people trying not to die from second hand smoke would literally have been better off sitting in the smoking section.)

In the summer the Saturday morning scene shifted to Sag Harbor for us.

The theater was a dump, but had a candy counter. The candy was almost always stale, and every once in a while you'd get something that had been in the case for a decade or two.

The big thrill was when a water rat ran down the aisles, which happened fairly frequently. The boys would claim a water rat was running around, just so they could look up the skirts of the girls when they stood in horror on their seats. Hey, it was a life. That was as close as we got to sex.

Karen's idea of a cinematic masterpiece is a film about two middle-aged women who sit on a bench and talk about poetry for two hours while leaves fall. My idea of a good movie is a creature from hell with razor sharp teeth goes on a killing rampage in a female nudist colony until some macho guy with a bazooka and a motorcycle beats the living crap out of the thing and then bombs it right back to hell.

I don't ask for much, but if I don't get a couple of dead bodies and a several buxom babes in the first 10 minutes, I'm out of there.

The last really bad movie we sat all the way through was Cast Away where-in Tom Hanks was marooned on an island. For most of the movie nothing was said. He did, however, slurp the raw, sacred innards of a horseshoe crab, grow a really ugly black beard, and make a fire by rubbing two sticks together (hell, we all know that doesn't really work).

He is finally rescued, goes home, and finds out his wife has remarried.

"How could you fall in love with another man?" he asked her.

"Dude, you fell in love with a freaking soccer ball," she replied.

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