Friday This ‘n’ That – Timing is Everything

#firstworldproblems

I love going to the movies. Currently, Friday is my day off and I like to spend the day at the movies. During the summer, things are great as movies start between 10 and 11 in the morning. I can get in three features before meeting my wife for dinner.

Unfortunately it’s not summer so two of the three theaters I frequent, Regal Biltmore Grande and Epic Theatre of Hendersonville, don’t even start their shows until 1 in the afternoon. Ditto the three I don’t go to, Carmike, Beaucatcher, and Asheville Brewing. Only Carolina Cinemas has morning showings, some as early as 11.

This is the absolute nitpickiest of nitpicky complaints.

Regal Cinemas

Biltmore Grande has a rather annoying schedule. The vast majority of their films run on a 1, 4, 7, and 10 rotation (as many theaters do). While this does mean that you can simply show up at the theater prior to one of these times and be pretty sure you’re okay, it really leaves out those of us who like to string together a marathon or even a double feature.

Carolina Cinemas

Again, Carolina Cinemas comes to the rescue. Their movies are scheduled at all different times so, if you know how long a movie is, you can plan a string of movies. This past Friday, for example, I could have gone to Biltmore Grand to go see The Visit at 130 and Crimson Peak at 4. Alternately I could have gone to The Carolina to see Crimson Peak at 1150, Sicario at 205, and Bridge of Spies at 420.

Friday This ‘n’ That – Violence in the Cinema Edition

I went to see Sicario the other day and enjoyed myself but there was an incident at the theater.

I actually missed about ten minutes in the middle of the movie as a fist fight broke out. One patron decided the theater was his personal living room and starting using his cellphone, another patron objected verbally, and shortly after, sound effects behind me are echoing what was onscreen.  I got up but several closer people had already separated them so I got management.

The incident was resolved quickly. After the movie finished and people started leaving, management was on hand to give out return passes. My wife was concerned when I told her but for all the talk of cinema violence, I have gone to the movies constantly for over four decades and have seen just this one fight and one drunk and disorderly a few years back.

I am refraining from naming the theater(s) involved as I would not want them to get a reputation over an incident. Violence is obviously unacceptable (on either part of the equation) but also

TURN OFF YOUR PHONE at the movies – everyone else paid for a ticket too. Act like an adult – don’t kick the chair in front of you because you want to put your feet up. Don’t talk during the feature. This is not your living room. If you are incapable of simple human decency, for goodness sakes, stay home.

 

Lots of Special October Theater Screenings

Wow! I love special screenings and there are a remarkable number of them this month. Sadly, I won’t be able to attend most of them due to work and family obligations but YOU, you could go!.

Fathom Events, your source for special if overpriced movies, is showing the RiffTrax version of Miami Connection tonight at 7:30. For those not familiar with RiffTrax, it is very similar to Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) in execution (people onscreen mocking the events in the movie). Tomorrow night (10/7 at 7:30), Fathom presents the extended version of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The extended version of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies concludes the trilogy on 10/13, also at 7:30.

Dracula

Turner Classic Movies presents a Dracula double feature on October 25th and 28th at 2 and 7. The original Bela Lugosi version of Dracula will be shown followed by the Spanish version that was filmed at night on the same sets. Finally on October 29th at 7:30, Fathom and SpectiCast are bringing back John Carpenter’s Halloween.

Not movie related but Fathom Events is bringing a filmed live version of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet to theaters on 10/15. It is four hours long but I’m going to that with a couple of dear friends.

Back to the Future

Regal Cinemas is presenting the entire Back to the Future trilogy on the big screen one day only, 10/21/15 (naturally, for those who are familiar with the timeline). Strangely, it appears to currently be priced as a single matinee ticket. AMC and other theater chains are also participating so check your local listings. Unfortunately for me, this embarrassment of riches conflicts with a local showing of The Exorcist at Carolina Cinemas, 10/21 at 8.

My Fair Lady

Epic Cinemas is also getting into the trend of bringing back classic cinema to the big screen. On 10/18 at 2 and 10/21 at 7, they will be showing My Fair Lady.

I love that the theaters are doing all of this. My only complaint is that they usually do a terrible job of advertising and the screenings are often close to empty. This of course leads to a cancellation of future showings. Regal used to have a classic cinema series but abandoned it due to poor attendance.

 

Regal, Regal, Regal, and FREE Movie Tickets

Regal Cinemas

Normally, I’m not fond of big chains but this summer Regal has really won my business. Neither my local Epic nor my beloved Carolina opted to do summer kids movies. Let me tell you the Regal Biltmore Grande is absolutely packed on Tuesday and Wednesday morning for their $1 movie. They have obviously reached out to various groups as children arrive by the busload for the Regal Summer Movie Express.

Regal Summer Movie

 

Regal also gives points for concession purchases on their card (though only a ridiculous few) which is something my Epic does not. The big chain does have other advantages. My wife is able to exchange credit card points for Regal gift cards and Blue Cross Blue Shield also had a program that allowed me to redeem a Regal card through them.

Regal Crown Club

 

Combining Regal gift cards, the Regal Crown Club, and the numerous FREE movie ticket promotions has allowed me to spend very little on movies this summer.

There are currently FREE movie ticket offers at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target on various DVDs and Blu-Rays for current movies Terminator Genisys, Max, Magic Mike XXL, Minions, and upcoming movies Fantastic Four, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, Hitman: Agent 47, Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Pixels. Most of the stores have one or more endcaps devoted to those offers.

Hormel Pepperoni, Totino’s Pizza Rolls, and Orange Crush all have FREE movie ticket offers as well.

So Many Rewards Programs, So Few Rewards

I love rewards programs. Well okay, I love rewards programs that actually reward you. Companies love to change them claiming that they will serve you better when what they mean is “we just figured out that we are giving you too much”.

Coke Rewards

 

Best Buy completely neutered their program a few years ago. It’s still worth using IF you are going to buy at Best Buy anyway but it’s not worthwhile as a selling point. Coke Rewards was barely worthwhile to begin with and then they went and made you jump through a ton of social media hoops to get the ‘good’ stuff.

Cinemark

I have rewards program cards for three separate movie chains locally (Epic, Regal, and Carolina Cinemas). Cinemark, which we do not have, sent me a FREE popcorn for my birthday. None of our local ones even wished me a happy birthday. I sure hope Regal rolls out their revamped program soon, even though it does nerf some of the usual rewards. Fandango wished me a happy birthday and wanted me to pick out a movie to see but was happy to charge me full price to do so.

Disney Movie Rewards

Disney Movie Rewards I find to be very worthwhile. They give a tiny amount of FREE points out with their newsletter each month. They give you a nice bonus of FREE points on your anniversary date and for your birthday. Submitting movie ticket stubs is fairly easy on a smartphone (up to four per Disney movie). I get merchandise from them all the time. Most recently I got Funko Pop figures of Anger and Joy from Inside Out for my granddaughter (I didn’t have enough points left for Sadness).

Double Indemnity – Two Days, Two Times, Twice the Indemnity!

I am very much enjoying the FREE film noir course offered online by Canvas and TCM. I don’t have cable so I am missing out on TCM’s Summer of Darkness every Friday but I have access to many of the Noir films through Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix streaming (plus my beloved mother-in-law bought me a set for my birthday).

Double Indemnity

 

I will however shell out the bucks to catch the classic Double Indemnity on the big screen. TCM is bringing it back through Fathom Events on Sunday, July 19th and Monday, July 20th (their normal Wednesday shows had a conflict with another Fathom program). Showtimes are at 2 and 7 p.m. local time.

Double Indemnity

 

In my area this will be playing at Carolina Cinemas in Asheville and the Regal Hollywood 20 in Greenville.

Going to the Movies on the Cheap

As if it wasn’t obvious I LOVE LOVE LOVE going to the movies. I mostly gave that up while my kids were growing up as we were quite poor and the movies are certainly an extravagance. Now the kids have moved away and we are doing better financially so I can go to the movies whenever I wish/have time.

I still can’t get over when we were poor so I am always looking for ways to make the movies cheaper. Many areas offer FREE showings pretty consistently. A good place to look is often local libraries, independent theaters, and hipper bars/breweries. The Hendersonville Film Society shows theirs at a local retirement community.

Carolina Cinemas

I know some people sneak food into the movies but I believe there’s a sort of social contract entered into when going to the movies. Yes, they charge an outrageous price for concessions but theaters make essentially no money on tickets. My beloved Carolina Cinemas puts on FREE movies every Tuesday (Film Society) and Thursday (horror) and some people still sneak in their own food and drink. This does not encourage the theater to continue to offer this and, quite frankly, is rather ungrateful of the patrons but enough of my soapbox.

FREE movie ticket offers abound. Currently, Wal-Mart has movies that have FREE tickets on them for Insurgent, Fifty Shades of Gray, and Spongebob Squarepants. Target has ones for Fifty Shades of Gray, Spongebob, Taken 3, and The Longest Ride. Vudu has an offer where you buy one of a particular set of movies from them in order to get a ticket to Insurgent. Upcoming offers include Jurassic World, Furious 7, Home, and Pitch Perfect 2.

Dealflicks

Dealflicks continues to add new theaters and offers a decent discount price, though not usually close to the percentages they advertise. Strangely my aforementioned Carolina Cinemas has stopped accepting Dealflicks and the other various movie money promotions.

Moviepass

Moviepass is for those hardcore moviegoers. They charge a monthly fee ($30-35) and you can go see a movie every day for FREE but only one you have not already seen. They currently have over 3,700 theaters signed up.

Moviepass is the opposite of how I usually go to the movies. While they allow you to go to a single movie daily, I like to group all the movies into one marathon showing and go all day. This allows me to buy just one drink for several movies. I always get the refillable large. I am not much of a popcorn eater though I always get it for my wife and daughter as they are saltaholics (I am more of a diabeetus consumer).

FREE March Movies at the Carolina

Carolina Cinemas

Every Tuesday at 8 p.m., the Asheville Film Society puts on a FREE movie at the Carolina in theater 6. Membership is not necessary to attend.

While membership is not necessary, it is only $10 for the year. Membership gives you a $1 off the price of your movie ticket Monday through Thursday (used to be every day sigh) and FREE refills on any size popcorn.

Thursday Horror Picture Show

Every Thursday night at 8, Ken Hanke & Justin Souther put on an absolutely FREE horror movie in movie theater 6.

Carolina vs. Carmike – Two theaters enter, one theater leaves!

Recently, Carmike Cinemas introduced their 2015 refillable popcorn bucket. It costs $20 and refills throughout the year are $4. This is a great deal for them as the bucket costs them probably a buck and popcorn costs essentially nothing so the $4 is pure profit.

Carmike Popcorn

 

Is this a good deal for moviegoers? Possibly but only if you go exclusively to Carmike and always need a popcorn fix. Let’s compare this to Carolina Cinemas. If you purchase an Asheville Film Society membership for $10 (half the bucket price at Carmike), you get FREE refills all year long on any size popcorn that you purchase at Carolina AND $1 off any movie ticket at Carolina all year long. Add to that, that at Carolina you get FREE refills on soda any size and your day at the movies is made.

Obviously this is another of my rants about why you should go to Carolina Cinemas but wait there’s more!

Carolina Cinemas

Every Tuesday at 8 p.m., the Asheville Film Society puts on a FREE movie at the Carolina in theater 6. Membership is not necessary to attend.

Thursday Horror Picture Show

 

Every Thursday night at 8, Ken Hanke & Justin Souther put on an absolutely FREE horror movie in movie theater 6.

FREE January Movies at The Carolina

Carolina Cinemas

 

Every Tuesday at 8 p.m., the Asheville Film Society puts on a FREE movie at the Carolina in theater 6. Membership is not necessary to attend.

1/6 Pack Up Your Troubles (1932, George Marshall) w/ Laurel & Hardy

1/13 Mauvais Sang (Bad Blood) (1986, Leos Carax)

1/20 The Ninth Configuration (1980, William Peter Blatty)

1/27 Half Shot at Sunrise (1930, Paul Sloane)

Thursday Horror Picture Show

 

Every Thursday night at 8, Ken Hanke & Justin Souther put on an absolutely FREE horror movie in movie theater 6.

1/8 Creature with the Atom Brain (1955, Edward L. Cahn)

1/15 Night Watch (2004, Timur Bekmambetov)

1/22 Day Watch (2006, Timur Bekmambetov)

1/29 The Mystery of Marie Roget (1942, Phil Rosen)