What’s Missing at the Movies

I’ve seen a lot of movies lately that I tend to pick apart. It’s not that they’re terrible. (Well, some of them really are!) It’s that there seems to be something missing, something I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it’s just because I’m age advantaged. But maybe not. Perhaps the movies today are too violent, too ridiculous, too draggy and too, well, just too stupid to be entertaining.

When I was a youngster, I never saw a movie I didn’t like! Once a week, my teenage aunt and uncle schlepped me to our neighborhood movie theater. In my hand I clutched 15¢, a dime for the movie and a nickel to purchase jawbreakers at the candy store next door. We, along with a room full of wiggly, talkative kids and a few adults, settled into our lumpy seats awaiting the magic we knew would soon unfold. If the show didn’t start on time, which it usually didn’t, we clapped in unison until, on the darkened screen there finally appeared a talking picture show in glorious black and white.

Every person in the theater remained entranced for the next four hours. Why four hours? It took that long, and sometimes longer, to view two feature presentations, the newsreel, the short subject, the cartoon and, my favorite, the serial. Watching Buck Rogers conquer outer space each week only to have the segment end with him caught in a dangerous situation he couldn't possibly get out of (until the following week) was too exciting for words.

OK. I’ll admit those old movies weren’t any more believable than they are today, so I guess it really is me. Yet, I can’t help wonder if what may be missing is something quite simple--something like a nickel’s worth of jawbreakers.

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