At The Movies: Before the Internet

The Internet has changed the way we think about movies. Now, in an instant, nearly anything we want to know about a movie is at our fingertips. Nearly anything we want to know about a movie shown in the past is just a few keystrokes away.

Before the Internet, to learn about a new movie coming out we had to
• See a movie trailer on TV
• Watch a number of trailers at the movies before the main attraction
• Read about the movie in the newspaper’s tiny blurb
• Read reviews of movies in various publications
• Watch Siskel & Ebert’s Sneak Preview (later called At The Movies) on TV
• Read the church bulletin movie rating (as we did as kids) and then had to make the case for our movie of choice citing that the church would ban Bambi if it were able!

Now, with the Internet, not only can we watch an unlimited number of movie trailers, we can watch complete movies on our computer screen. Or, we can stream it to our large screens. Today, anything we want to know about a flick is available. We can read reviews from a variety of sources. We can learn all about the cast of a given show and find out what other roles they have performed in their career.

Thanks to the Internet, we can search to see what movie theaters are in our area. (Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, there were about four movie theater options within a relatively short drive from our house. One theater was in walking distance. Back then, you paid for your movie ticket and got in to see one — maybe two shows– if a Saturday matinee.) You nearly always stood in line because there was only one movie being shown at the theater. Today, most theaters are multi-plex with 6, 10, 14, 24 or more smaller theaters under one roof! This way, many movies are shown at slightly adjusted intervals to keep the ebb & flow of people fairly steady.

Today, we can find the theater we want to go to, see how long the show is, how much the show costs, all of the times it is playing in a day and which show might be the matinee- the one available at a discounted price. We can get their Motion Picture Association of America rating: G, PG, PG-13, R (and when I was a kid, X) mostly used by parents to supervise what their kids watch. If the movie we want to see is showing at an inconvenient time for us, we can see the details of every other movie showing at this same theater. In many cases, you can play the movie trailer right there on the theater site.

Thanks to the Internet, many movie houses let you buy advance tickets so we don’t have to wait in line-ever! How terrific is this? Pretty awesome.