09 August 2010

Reader Poll: Which Movie Would You Pay $80 to See?

One of the great privileges of being a blogger is the ability to post about things that make you look really bad. Join me now on this thrilling trip to yesteryear-- or, last weekend... (making Wayne and Garth "doodly-doop, doodly-doop" noises and waving hands vigorously)...

An ancient father of seven and his saintly bride decide to take their children to see a movie-- a talkie, as it were. Because they have seven children, and the father is so very ancient, the couple fails to realize the cost of going to the movies. The couple is none other than Sharon and me.

I think the last first-run movie I saw was Tron. That Bruce Boxleitner, what an actor!

Frugal in our frivolity, we take the children to a matinee showing of Toy Story 3: The Final Insult. Pretty smart, eh?

I approached the ticket window and saw that the theater charged for children ages 2 through 11, and that everyone else is considered an adult. Not yet smelling a rat, I answered the world-weary, Clearasil-decked, expectant face of the teen agent with a cheery request for four adults, four children (free infant!).

"That will be $55.00"

Silence. Like the tomb.

"Are you kidding me?!" (Frantically craning neck to reexamine the prices...)

"No, old timer."

OK, he may have said "Sir", but I heard "Old Timer".

Creaking open my wallet, clearing the cobwebs out, I scrape out the required amount. But just to make sure, I ask, "That's in American money?"

After being assured that it was, I staggered inside. The children, as usual, were oblivious. I make a mental note that the next child to whine or complain about anything will be sold off for medical experiments.

Next stop: the concession counter. Please don't start with your whole trad-Catholic-homeschool-super-smart-we-bring-a-hefty-bag-full-of-snacks-and-hide-it-under-mom's-blouse-because-she's-mostly-pregnant-anyway-so-who-would-know lecture. I've heard it.

After getting a forty gallon trash tub filled with popcorn and three five-gallon buckets of caramel colored bilge, I get to feel a feeling I've never felt before: I just got a bargain at the movie candy counter! Only $25. Yes, ONLY $25. After the assault at the ticket window, I feel like I'm on Antiques Roadshow and the aging hippie appraiser tells me my Fat Albert lunchbox is worth $3,000, but only because I didn't clean out the original mold colony from my first neglected ham sandwich in first grade.

Though slightly relieved, and though I am not a whiz with math, it then dawns on me that I just spent $80 to see Toy Story 3: The Final Insult. And that I am pretty much a moron. Because I have to admit, I would not pay $80 to see Citizen Kane, with Roger Ebert if it were shown in Orson Welles' mausoleum.

How was the movie, you ask?



Anonymous said...

Thank you for literally making me laugh out loud! This is why I tell the children we will see the movie when it comes to redbox. Since your children know my children, I hope your children don't make a big deal about how much fun it was seeing a movie in the theater to my children. We're trying to avoid that kind of peer pressure by home schooling and all.

(Do I need the winking emoticon, or can you tell I'm joking?)

Love the blog, keep up the good work with those 7 children, and tell your wife hello for me.

Mrs. Patterson

Jn.Wm. said...

This is astounding. Entertaining and at the same time revelatory. Perfect ending, perfect expressions and reactions. Va bene.

Jeff Geerling said...

Heck, if you save $80/month for a year, you'd have enough to buy a very nice HDTV and sound system, install them, and watch countless movies (old and new) on Blu-Ray or DVD for many years to come :D

Colleen Hammond said...

I'm with Jeff...save the monthly tithe to the local theater and invest in a home "theater" system:

Netflix ($9/month) and ClearPlay ($7/month).

Still too much? Keep the ClearPlay and go to the local library and check out DVD's for free!

Thanks for the laugh. Just experienced that myself--only with four children (too old and TOO TALL to pass for 11-and-under!).

Patrick Kinsale said...

Reminds me of the slogan I used to see on delivery trucks in Los Angeles: "Enjoy life ... Eat Out More Often." They were delivering restaurant supplies.

Surely you thought the movie was better than that?

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, the outrageous price of taking the family to the movies:

Be careful here, Timman. You're making a strong case for contraception!


Meg said...

Just wait until those four children and free infant reach the magical age of 12 and over and you find yourself with 9 adults total.

Delena said...

When my husband and I got married, we started chatting about what growing up was like in our house. I was an only child. Knott's Berry Farm, Disneyland, big birthday parties, and movies were just part of my childhood. My husband explained that his family rarely ever took vacations or ate out at restaurants. I was horrified. How could that not be part of ANY child's life? He then explained that when you have 2 parents and 4 children, a little trip to Mickey D's can start adding up. Never thought about that before.

I can't even imagine going with 7.

Great story that made me laugh. Especially the "old timer" part. :-)

Fenian said...


That was the beauty of places like the now defunct Avalon theater on Kingshighway. They showed second run movies, but with the dollar admission, it was an affordable option for families.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of six kids. There was always relative sticker shock when taking the whole family to a movie. We only did the drive-in in Bville, come to think of it. People come over from MO to SkyView still. You might consider that.

Admission into national parks and other places that charged per person was rather painful as well. But we did it. And mom and dad saved for things like that. [Not all national parks are per person, of course.]

The Keller on LeMay is $4/head, I believe. It's a 2nd run. In Waterloo IL, matinees are $6 or less, even at first showing. We mostly wait for DVDs too, but it is nice to take the family out once in a while.

Cathy D said...

Are you familiar with the Keller on Lemay Ferry? ONLY cash is accepted, and it shows movies that have been out a while. I took the tribe to see the new Karate Kid movie. $3/each for a matinee. Plus snacks that are cheaper and free coffee.

Athelstane said...

If you're ancient, Timman, so am I. So I say you're not ancient. In your prime, I would say.

As for Toy Story 3 - it's become clear that Pixar not only laps the field of all other animation studios in delivering compelling movies, but probably most other films as well. Well crafted, intelligently written, accessible to both adults and children, Pixar's films have yet to produce a dud.

But would I spend $80 to take the family to see one? No. I think I'd Netflix (or other rental) it first. You'd think here would be some kind of group discount for large families (not).

X said...

You're not pretty much a moron, you are a moron. If you had only gone to the Skyview Drive-In in Belleville you would have gotten the entire family in for $18. Plus you can bring in all the soda, popcorn and candy you like. If you had waited until it was at Keller Plaza you would have only paid $24. This is what happens when people who are not from big families have big families.

PS: Citizen Kane is the most overdone, overated and overacted movie in history.

thetimman said...

cdg, not seeing a first-run movie a "strong case" for contraception? Surely it hasn't come to that? Esau at least got a mess of pottage.


You complete me.

Jane Chantal said...

Another thumbs-up here for the good ol' Keller 8 on Lemay Ferry. It's across the parking lot from Sam's Club, in a horseshoe-shaped strip mall that is located up and back a ways from the main road. Very tough to find unless you know what you're looking for. But, Googling "keller 8" or "keller cine" will get you lots of maps.

Latinmassgirl said...

It is a good thing you didn't go to the 3D version as we noticed they charge an extra $2.00 a ticket! We saw Toy Story 3 with the kids, but of course they each brought their own candy in their pockets or purses, (and there is no guilt here, just frugalness) We take our children to the movies one or two times a year and feel their enjoyment is worth it. We don't go out-to-eat, however, as the cost would be outrageous - 200 dollars at least.

We also saw a free movie on four different occasions this summer at Gravois Bluff's, 'The Great Escape". They were older or previous run of course, but new to my children.

Anonymous said...

Aw, don't listen to them, timman!
You can take your kids to the drive in or use netflix, but I think that taking your kids to the movies (like, a REAL MOVIE THEATER) is COOL DAD-NESS, and something your kids will always remember.
The only film we saw together as a family was "The Passion"...

Sharon said...

Just so you all don't think we're as out of touch as my husband made us sound, I did check out the Keller listings. Cathy D's suggestion of Karate Kid was the only thing listed that sounded interesting; however, I didn't think my 5 girls would be interested at all! I thought it would be worth the extra (few dollars, I thought) to see something that I thought would be a "good movie" to all of us. I just had no idea that prices had gone up quite so much, nor that I'd have to pay $6.50 for a 2-year-old to see the movie!

And LatinMassGirl, where do you plan to take your family when you go out to eat?! We've found lots of nice pizza places (like Dewey's or Racanelli's) and restaurants (like Bandana's) where we can feed the family for far less than it cost us to go to this movie! I've never spent $200 on a single dinner out with our brood. Maybe we need to share notes! :-)

HSMom said...

Entertainment in general is nigh cost-prohibitive for most large families, and even not-large, one-income families these days. Admission prices for a family at a baseball game (or any pro sporting event), amusement parks, etc., actually make the $80 you spent at the movies seem *almost* reasonable, considering you got ALL of you in and fed some snacks!

That's why as a midwest transplant I miss living close to the Oregon beaches so much. They're a GREAT full day of family fun for the price of the picnic you take with you.

BTW, I did like Toy Story 3. ;)

thetimman said...


A pathetic attempt at post hoc justification.

Cathy D said...

Believe or not, it was my daughter who wanted to see the Karate Kid!
She thinks Will Smith's kid is cute.
Now they all love Jackie Chan, too.

The Skyview! We haven't been there this year! An excellent suggestion!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
just wondering said...

i remember my dad taking all 7 of us to see mary poppins at the south twin drive in theatre when i was a kid. i think it is the only movie he ever took us to. i will never forget it. i definitely agree with the anon that spoke of cool dad-ness. youre a little taller in the saddle now timman with the kiddos for buying the high priced spread.way 2 go.

Beth said...

My father-in-law was 35 when my husband was born, so by the time my husband was in college, they were able to go to movies together and take advantage of the discounts for both students AND seniors - that begins at 55. So there's that to look "forward" to, I suppose?

Anonymous said...


If you take your children to the movies during the week, AMC theaters offer a weekday getaway where movie tickets are only $4.75. My fiancee and I can never go to the movies because they are so expensive but this is really great. Although, I have to admit that Toy Story 3 was well worth the $20 that we sepnt to see it.

Andy K.

Anonymous said...

Qdoba has kids eat free on many federal holiday w/e like Labor Day and Memorial Day (not Flag Day, unfortunately).

Pasta House on Sunday nights has the same.

IHOP is the same every day during the month of August from 4p-10p (or some similar hours).

Pizza places like Dewey's or Onesto (family style servings of pasta in addition to pizza) are also good choices.

The 'kids eat free" of course means 1 free kid entree per 1 adult entree, but if the 2 or 3 oldest are old enough to want an adult entree, then it's all good.