Worth the Price of Admission

I like movies … I just don’t like how expensive it’s become to go to the movies. In terms of overall price vs income, it’s not that big a deal. It’s the principle involved.
Tickets at the local movie house are $9.50 – more if you buy online.  A bottle of water: $3.50. A simple date night costs $30 bucks. – I end up feeling gouged.
So when we do go, it’s purposeful – a big story, a stirring performance or a special event.
Breaking with Tradition  
Well, over the holidays we threw all that aside and went to two films within a week. It was an odd year – our eldest just graduated and didn’t come home for Christmas – first time ever. Our youngest had a planned surgery while home from college – so wasn’t up for company or much activity. So, off to the movies we went.
The first: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. We saw this movie by default on Christmas afternoon.  Usually we’re at home with family and/or friends – or with little kids playing with whatever Santa brought. Not this year … the babies are in college, the little guy had surgery … so we were ready for a change.
We planned to see Saving Mr. Banks, but it was sold out at the Riverside Theater in downtown Reno. Time for Plan B. We decided to see the only other movie starting around the same time: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
The short review: Walter Mitty was entertaining. Not Oscar worthy, but we laughed out loud a few times; rolled our eyes at others. Beautiful scenery, quirky secondary characters, silly plot twists. Not much blood, nobody died … all things highly- trained reviewers judge a “good” film by, so it’s getting panned.
Who cares???  The movie gets its title from a short story written by James Thurber in 1939 about a guy who daydreams as an escape. Ben Stiller kept those two elements. I don’t remember – or never knew – the rest of the plot. That made it easy to go with the flow and let myself be entertained.  Reviewers (some of whom probably haven’t read it either) criticize it for straying from the script. Yet to me, that sounds like it’s a good thing.
 Stiller’s version holds much more appeal ….Walter of 1939 was married to a “shrew” and he daydreamed to escape his unpleasant life. In the end, he still has a nasty wife and an unpleasant life.  Pretty depressing.
Ben Stiller gives Walter an improbably journey … and a little hope.  It’s a silly comedy. If going on purpose – hit a matinee or see it on Netflix. Thanks.
Movie 2: A few days later we had that date night with just the two of us and saw Saving Mr. Banks.  Critics like this film better – and we agree that it is both more substantial, more original and better acted.
The premise: How Walt Disney managed to secure the rights to Mary Poppins and make that iconic childhood classic movie. With a cast featuring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson how could it miss?
Full disclosure: As a child I had the soundtrack to Mary Poppins. I knew every song, every inflection each character made. So a movie about how Walt Disney finally won over the author so he could get the film rights to bring Mary Poppins to the big screen already had my interest.
Reviewers analyze the details. We rolled with the story. It’s a fascinating account of the story behind the story – and one I don’t think had been told about how children’s book author P.L. Travers created Mary Poppins.
We loved this film. It was funny, sad and thoughtful.  In the end, it chronicled real people through a real situation. Much of it was chronicled and tape recorded at the time, so parts certainly ring true. I’d pay full price again to see this one.
Have you seen either? What draws you to a film? 

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