I watched very little of the Oscars. The program has less and less relevance for me as time goes by. Typically the movies that I enjoy and feel are worthwhile don’t get the recognition they deserve, while movies that I can’t stand are adopted as the critic’s darlings. Why should I watch people gushing over something I haven’t even seen?

But even in the relatively short periods I was paying attention last night, the old Academy seemed to be staying on message pretty well, that message being “go see movies in theaters, because the DVD experience isn’t really watching a movie”.

To which I would like to reply with a suitably pungent response, not even fit for the entries of this blog.

Frankly, such a significant portion of total revenue comes from DVD sales and overseas audiences that a movie can come and go here in the States with miserable box office, and still eventually earn a profit.

But more importantly, if you really want me to come back to the theater, I have some ideas on how to woo me back:

Lower the damn prices. Or at least provide a price break on matinees, or something.The cost of seeing a movie has become a significant investment in and of itself. Particularly if you’re taking the whole family.

Adopt some realistic cost structure for concessions. As expensive as the actual tickets are, the cost of even a modest popcorn and soda are absolute highway robbery at most franchise theaters.

I hit my limit a few years ago, when I took my preschool son to see The Tigger Movie. It was just the two of us, attending a matinee, and we got a small popcorn and something to drink. It cost me twenty-seven dollars to take my son out to a movie. Frankly, the experience I had was not worth twenty-seven dollars.

For another thing, the theater sound system is typically turned up so loud I get a headache. My son actually has to bring hearing protectors to watch a movie, or sit with his fingers in his ears. I realize that most of the population is going deaf before they’re forty, (thank you headphones and ultra-bass car speakers) but some of us still have, and would like to KEEP, our hearing.

But even if the theaters and studios came to an agreement on a price structure, even if they turned down the damn sound, it still wouldn’t address the biggest complaints I have with going out to a movie: The other people in the audience.

My favorite hates include, but are not limited to, the young couple that brings their four-year-old to the R-rated monster movie, and then yell at it for getting scared; the people that take cell phone calls during the movie; the people that put their feet on the back of my seat; the people that let their kid kick the back of my seat throughout the entire movie; and generally the people that TALK and OPEN CANDY and ARGUE and GIGGLE throughout the entire show.

My wife and I now have a ginormous television. It has theater sound. I can get pretty much any movie I want via Netflix, and now I have access to Video On Demand. I can stop the movie to go to the bathroom. I can turn the subtitles on. I can watch it again the next day. The cost of the infrastructure (the television) was substantial, but the incremental cost of each viewing is trivial. And if I want to eat crap while I’m watching the movie, at least I can purchase it at non-loanshark rates.

So, MPAA, you can plead all you want. You’re going to see a lot less of me in the theater for the foreseeable future.