Sunday, September 21, 2008

Let's All Go to the Movies!

To those of you who read our last blog, we made it through the typhoon safe and sound. We never lost power and we didn’t even get a day off from school! The next time a typhoon visits, I am going to see what I can do about having it arrive during the week instead of the weekend.
We made up for last weekend’s quarantine by spending as much time as we could handle wandering around the city. Our morning was slightly interrupted by our third trip to the emergency room (the second was to take my stitch out). Chris apparently contracted pink eye from one of our darling students. However, about $10 and thirty minutes later, he was drugged up and we were on our way.
After getting the medical OK from my dad the eye doctor, we decided to join some friends to go to the movies. Now, I wouldn’t have thought that a movie theater would be blog-worthy, but Taiwan really knows how to do the whole movie experience. I thought that I would let you know about it so that America could get on the ball.
Your first question is an obvious one. Can you actually understand the movies? Thanks to Hollywood having an overwhelming monopoly on the entertainment of the entire planet, most of the movies that they play here are American. And, I guess that dubbing is more expensive than adding subtitles so they simply add a few characters at the bottom of the screen and Voila! The movie is ready to amuse Chinese speakers all over Asia. The score? America 1, Taiwan 1
So now that American and Taiwan are on an even playing field, let’s start comparing other aspects of the movie-viewing experience. When you buy your movie tickets in the States, you typically buy the ticket and go into the theater. If you decide to go to a movie on opening weekend, make sure to show up at least thirty minutes to an hour before show time to make sure to get good seats. Not so in Taiwan. Tickets are issued with assigned seats in the theater. I wasn’t sure if I would like this or not, but it turns out that I love it. There is no hunting for good seats, no searching for the rest of your group in a dark theater and best of all, no sitting watching ridiculous trivia for forty-five minutes to avoid watching the movie from the front row. Simply buy your tickets, choose your seats, go have dinner and show up to the theater at the time the movie starts. What a concept. Our score? American 1, Taiwan 2.
Taiwan clearly has the upper hand at the snack counter as well. No, I am not going to regale you with tales of strange and exotic Asian cuisine fed to movie-goers. Instead, I am going to tell you that your wildest dreams have come true. Here, you are actually allowed to bring your own food and drink into the theater. Yes, my friends, there is no need for over-sized purses or coats here. No shoving candy bars and sodas in awkward places or sneezing as you crack open your Coke. Just buy your desired nibblies and walk right in with them in plain sight. Buying your own snacks also has an effect at the theater itself. Since the movie-goer can purchase their snacks anywhere they please, the prices at the movie theater for refreshments are actually quite reasonable. Hurray capitalism! The final thing that I really would like to see in the States is the choice between regular popcorn and caramel corn. I didn’t see any of the pour on “butter” to add to your salted popcorn but I still think that Taiwan wins this match as well. America 1, Taiwan 3.
The thing that really convinced me that Taiwan was doing things right was when we walked in the theater to find our seats. As we shimmied down the row, I noticed that something was missing. What is this? I wondered. My feet are not sticking to the floor! I will admit that there is something strangely comforting about the sticky smacking noise that your feet make as you peel them from the mystery substance coating the floor. I will also admit that I really, really didn’t miss it. The Taiwanese don’t use a lot of carpet but the idea they had to carpet their movie theater floors, I definitely support.
Final Score: America 1, Taiwan 4. Will someone please call AmStar?


Alice Robbins said...

It is amazing how similar our movie experiences are! The only bummer here is that all family and kids movies are dubbed because kids can't read good enough. So most of the movies that I have wanted to see I can't unless I want to get a HUGE lesson in Polish. . .it is not all that fun, believe me! Sounds like you are doing great!

Abbey said...

That sounds great! Especially the assigned seat thing. That is brilliant! Also, the snack thing does make sense. I definitely am that mom with the huge purse filled with drinks, snacks, and candy. So if it were cheaper, I'd proably at least buy drinks there... Maybe! :)