Earlier this month, Entertainment Weekly published and article entitled “How to Fix the Movies”

I would link to this article, but it’s not available on their website yet.

In the article, they list 10 things that could or should be done to fix the movie theater experience. Here’s a quick rundown.

  1. For Every jumbo-size, CGI-filled, action-adventure extravaganza a studio greenlights, it should commit to one modestly budgeted drama or comedy.
  2. Don’t remake good movies, remake bad ones.
  3. Stop killing us with your popcorn. (Indicating that movie food items have horrible nutritional content.)
  4. Treat 3-D like the good silverware: only bring it out for special occasions.
  5. Embrace the on-demand button. (Not every movie needs to be released in theaters.)
  6. Admit you’re jealous of TV–and start hiring its best writers.
  7. Before a film gets a green light, someone involved with the project–the director, the star, the boom-mic operator–has to believe it will be a good movie.
  8. Can the commercials. (The one’s before and during previews.)
  9. No more than four screenwriters per script (Unless the fifth is Aaron Sorkin).
  10. Create separate screenings for schmucks. (Similar to “Mommy screenings” with screaming kids)

The article then has a two page spread indicating that they should “Make Better Movie Theaters,” and lists some awesome theaters around the country including my personal Texas favorite Alamo Drafthouse.

This article makes some great points and gives some sound solutions, but what I tend to struggle with is the question of whether or not we will even need movie theaters anymore? Or maybe a better question is will we need so many movie theaters anymore?

The reason I ask stems from my recent switch from being a cable TV subscriber who frequently went to the movies to a Netflix subscriber who watches over-the-air TV and streams shows through the internet.

Basically, I have a really nice home theater where I can buy reasonably priced snacks from the local grocery store, and watch a movie in the comfort of my own home with the people I invite. The only thing that keeps me going to the theater is a desire to see certain movies the day the come out, see something on the big-screen, or go on a date (and because I need to follow movies for this website).

It’s not like when I was a teenager and going to the movies on the weekend was just what we did by force of habit to hang out with our friends and get out of mom and dad’s house for an evening.

Which leads me to another point, movie theaters are ruined by teenagers. Yes, I understand how much of an “old man” I sound like by saying that, but it’s the truth. Kids these days have very little respect for the world around them. It started with my generation of teenagers in the 90’s, but back then you would act up and if an adult scolded you, you’d straighten up or leave. Now kids just cuss out authority figures with reckless abandon. My friends and I would’ve never talked back to a police officer, but I’ve seen it numerous times from today’s youth. It’s ridiculous. And they even let “students” get in at a lower price encouraging these hoodlums!

Case and point: My wife and I tried to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 at the local AMC a few months back. We choose a 9:00 PM showing on a Saturday so that we could go to dinner and miss any crowds for other movies that had openned that week. Little did we know that a group of 25 teenagers would ruin our evening.

These kids were all in high school, but obviously not able to drive yet, and they were causing such a scene. They occupied the last two rows of the theater and talked, yelled, and made a huge amount of noise all through the pre-preview commercials. An usher came in and made a blanket announcement to them that if they weren’t there to see a movie about a boy wizard, then they could leave, or he’d kick people out who made noise. He left. They made more noise.

The previews started, and they continued. Other movie patrons (adults) yelled at them to be quiet, but these kids tried to start a fight with some adults. The usher returned with a security guard and escorted some of the kids out, but within 5 minutes, their friends went and let them in through the exit, and they were back talking and cutting up. I thought for sure they would be quiet once the movie started.

Nope, I was wrong. Continued talking through the beginning of the movie, continued kicking out, continued sneaking back in. This happened for 45 minutes before my wife and I decided to get our money back and leave. And we weren’t the first people to leave the movie, I’m actually a pretty patient person. My wife wanted to leave after 15 minutes.

So our evening was ruined by some kids being idiots and we still haven’t had a chance to see Harry Potter. Now I don’t mind kids being idiots. I was an idiot many times as a kid and kids will be kids, but how can people be so inconsiderate? More importantly, why would you pay $10 to not watch a movie? You can cut-up and be an idiot in the lobby.

What we realized after this experience is that we never notice dumb teenagers at the movies because we usually go to Alamo Drafthouse, which is 18 and up because they serve alcohol. We also go to an Edwards Cinema that has a $3 parking garage, which interestingly enough keeps the riff-raff out as well. The last time I went to the other Edwards Theater that had free parking, someone side-swiped my car in the parking lot while I was watching V For Vendetta. (Anger.)

So long story short, the movie theaters are at a crossroads. Your Multi-Theater Megaplexes that you built to handle the release of Titanic caused you to raise prices. (For adults, while still keeping student prices lower.) When their were no more Titanic-type movies, people stopped coming, you had to raise prices again to compensate. Then your Giganto-plex attracted nothing but hoodlum teenagers who don’t have jobs and who’s parents just want to drop them off somewhere for the night causing upstanding employed citizens to go home to rent a movie. You had to raise prices again. Now, your Ultimate-Omni-Plexes are looking like post-apocalyptic anarchies where no one feels safe on a Saturday night, and you wonder what happened.

Why not lower the price to adults and increase the price for teenagers? Then you’ll start to see people with actual purchasing power come back to your theater. Why not hire better security and cleaning crews? No one wants to spend money to walk on sticky floors and sit on seats that smell like urine. Heck, why not hire better employees in general? What happened to the stereotypical old man usher with the flashlight? He’d be way better than some pimple-faced teenager who is probably stealing from the register. Why not follow the lead of some of these nicer theaters, like Alamo Drafthouse, and actually offer people a movie theater experience of some sort.

Don’t get me wrong, I love movie theaters. I just hate what they’ve become.

I guess I now see why my dad almost never went to the movies when I was growing up. He knew better.