Going to the movies has certainly changed.
I'm not just talking about the $9.50 ticket price to get in or the $7.50 popcorn-and-coke combo. Or even filmmakers' fascination with zombies and vampires and everything else dead.
Nope, I'm talking about the in-the-dark movie-going experience.
Went to see a movie the other day ("Zero Dark Thirty") and an evening in front of the TV set broke out.
Commercials, pure unadulterated commercials, preceded the previews.
Then, every television show that NBC or fx has ever produced was pitched to the captive audience of popcorn chompers in the dark. Public service announcements also crept in (OK, perhaps those are a bit admirable).
But remember the good, old days of primitive graphics and that dancing hotdog almost freudianly jumping into the bun in a blatant attempt to lure us to the snack bar before the first film began to unspool?
Remember the cheesy "let's all go to the lobby, let's all go to the lobby ..." ditty trying to tempt us to buy more popcorn and Jujubes or Milk Duds?
Well, that message has gone high-tech, baby.
Now, right after making a pitch for all of us to turn off our cell phones (hey, that means you, buster, in the row in front of me!), comes the pièce de résistance.
With high-def imagery and surround-sound clarity, the screen is literally popped full of giant flawless, buttery popcorn pieces, tantalizing several of our senses at once.
Seconds later, comes the crystal-clear clinking of equally crystal-clear cubes of ice, tumbling into shiny crystal-clear glasses, exploding onto the big screen. The splashfest of fizzing Coca-Cola invitingly follows.
Then the on-screen message shifts from our eyes, ears and nose to our wallet.
Hope you have your Coke and popcorn?, it reads.
I do now. I most certainly do now.
Damn marketing experts ...