Catching the blockbuster at home

  • Why Not?
  • Friday, 16 Apr 2010

With a family outing to the movies being not exactly cheap, and having to put up with the traffic snarls, investing in a media player has been the better option.

I MADE an investment for the future recently. As with all investments, I only came to a decision after giving it careful thought and much research.

I take the kids for regular weekend outings and sometimes, maybe twice a month, that includes catching a movie.

Going to the movies is not exactly cheap. The prices you pay for food, tickets and parking all add up to make the wholesome family outing a rather costly affair.

It’s a small price to pay for spending quality time with the family, you might say, but bear in mind that a large portion of that time is spent watching the movie in the cinema and not interacting with each other.

Okay, there is some interaction but it usually involves me escorting the daughter to the ladies room (obviously, I stand outside and do not go in, in case you’re wondering) – more often than not right in the middle of the most interesting part.

Much of the remaining time is spent navigating traffic jams en route to the cinema, which means no one in the car so much as breathes while I rant about going through the same crap on weekends that I have to on weekdays.

Then there’s eating at a noisy food court – so much for conversation with the wife and kids.

After we’ve had what passes for a “good” lunch – but is in fact the poor man’s, yet expensive, version of a tasty spread the makcik sells at her warong near my house – I line up at the ticket counter with what seems like the whole of the Klang Valley, if it’s a particularly hot movie.

If this is “quality time” with the family, I’d rather we stay at home. And this is exactly what my latest investment allows.

After work the other day, I hopped on the monorail and made my way to Low Yat Plaza and bought a media player for the HD TV at home.

Before you say, “this b*gger complains about ticket prices but he’s got an HD TV”, let me explain that I had won the thing in a lucky draw last year.

With the media player and the 4Mbps Internet connection I have at home (and paid for by the company), the effort and cost of “going to the movies” for me has been drastically reduced.

The period for the return on investment, financially speaking, is a short one. And I am no longer hostage to what’s playing at the cinemas, what with the mind-boggling choice of content available via the Internet.

Granted, there are movies that need to be experienced on the big screen. I make exceptions for such movies as all the time and effort expended is worth it.

An example would be Avatar, which was jaw-dropping awesome.

It was the first movie my seven-year-old daughter sat transfixed throughout. Usually, she would get restless after about half an hour.

Otherwise, I don’t see a point in going to the cinema for movies that you can enjoy just as well at home, if not more.

Think: I would not have to accompany my daughter to the toilet and miss parts of the story. Just hit pause and everybody can take a two-minute toilet break or raid the kitchen for something to eat or drink.

And the food – there’s no longer a need to settle for the usual fare of popcorn or hotdogs and Coke. There’s much more in the kitchen at home and you can even order home-delivered fast food.

Heck, we had home-cooked nasi lemak while watching Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs the other day. Okay, I exaggerate, but imagine the possibilities.

Best of all, you can watch a movie when you want to, and not be tied down to some schedule.

There are the downsides, though. If a movie sucks after half an hour of viewing, you tend to go “next” instead of sitting through it to the end.

However, the good thing about this is you don’t feel like kicking yourself for having spent good money and precious time at the cinema on such a loser of a movie.

There have been a few occasions that this has happened to me, and let me tell you the scars are still visible.

It might seem that I’ve got it all figured out but there are a few potential spanners that might get in the works.

3D movies are one – you need to go to the cinema to watch them and not all are going to be as good as Avatar.

Clash of the Titans was one. The story was bearable, but I paid good money for “ho-hum” 3D.

The emergence of 3D TVs could solve the problem but I would probably have to wait a while before I get the chance to win one in a lucky draw.

Buy one? That sort of investment is still beyond me.

> Raslan Sharif is set to give his children a right and proper education on movies.

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