• Kent Slocum

Movie Theater & Peanut Butter? No Thanks.

Updated: Aug 21, 2018

Why I Avoid Movie Theaters

For some people, this may be a shocking admission. How could I not like movie theaters? However, it is important to note that I did not say, "I don't like movie theaters." What I said was, "I avoid movie theaters." Confused? Well, it's complicated--much like my relationship with peanut butter.

Let me make it clear: I dearly love peanut butter. I used to eat it with everything--oatmeal, apples, ice cream, and yogurt. I spread it on toast, slathered it on pancakes, and dipped my celery sticks in it. But then I found out that peanuts are a potential source of aflatoxins, which are toxic compounds formed by a type of mold that grows underground. According to Kris Gunnars' article entitled "Is Peanut Butter Good or Bad for Your Health?", this mold has been associated with an increased risk of liver cancer, stunted growth, and mental retardation (Healthline, 2018).

But Kris sounded the death knell of my love of peanut butter when he pointed out that "the main problem with peanut butter is that it's so incredible hard to resist...So if you have a tendency to binge on peanut butter, it may be best to avoid it altogether." Sadly, I abandoned the creamy goodness of peanut butter in favor of other options such as sunflower seed butter.

It's not that I don't like peanut butter--because I certainly do! And it's not that I don't eat a little peanut butter now and then--because I certainly do! And it's not that I like sunflower seed butter better than peanut butter--because I certainly don't! However, I feel that the benefits of avoiding peanut butter outweigh the fleeting pleasure of eating it regularly.

In short, movie theaters are much like peanut butter. They are fine in small doses, but they are toxic mainly because they are incredibly hard to resist. I readily admit that the plush seats, the cool darkness, the surround sound system, the enormous screen, and the 3-D glasses make the experience exciting and unforgettable. However, I try to avoid movie theaters when possible, for the following three important reasons: economic, convenience, and conscience.

My first reason for avoiding movie theaters is purely economic. To start with, theaters never allow you to bring food or drink into the theater. For this reason, it becomes extremely tempting to purchase the over-priced popcorn, snacks, and beverages they are eagerly selling. By the time you add in the cost of food, the current price of a movie ticket is about the same as buying the DVD version, or half the cost of purchasing the Bluray version. This means that I have a logical choice: Would I rather watch the movie twice in theaters with popcorn, or watch it an unlimited number of times at home with any food I want? The choice seems clear, but that's not all. The DVD and Bluray versions include extra bonus features, foreign language tracks, subtitles, and commentaries. It's true that movie theaters have bigger screens and better sound systems that what I have at home. But it's possible to have a "good-enough" setup at home without breaking the bank.

My second reason for avoiding movie theaters is driven by convenience. In order to watch a film at the local theater, I must leave my house and walk, bike, bus, or drive all the way there (often late at night). Of course, I must arrive promptly in time for one of the predetermined showtimes, or I will miss the movie. Once at the theater, I often have noisy people sitting near me who distract me from the movie. If I need to go restroom or get a water refill, I miss part of the movie. At home, however, these downsides do not exist. I can watch a movie whenever it is most convenient, enjoying peace and quiet. At home, I can pause the movie without missing anything. Even better, I can watch a movie with my friends and family, because they are more willing to watch a film that is already playing at home than to accompany me to the theater and pay for a movie ticket.

Finally, my third and last reason for avoiding movie theaters is conscience-driven. We have all seen the movie posters displayed outside theaters, and we know that movie theaters show all types and genres of films--even ones that I disapprove of. I have realized that when I buy a ticket, I am not simply supporting that one specific film; I am supporting the entire theater and the hundreds of other movies they show. I certainly do not want to help fund violent films or overly-romantic comedies. By purchasing a movie to watch at home, I can more strategically show my support for a specific studio or a specific film without funding R-rated movies and unnecessary body humor.

Now, it is true that watching movies at home is not always the best solution. It is certainly not the most efficient way to show a movie, because a movie theater can seat many more people than my couch at home. Watching movies at home usually requires a physical disc, which eventually wears down and wears out. Using a movie-streaming service at home is also not very economical, as it requires me to pay for both an internet connection and a monthly subscription. However, this is just like my peanut butter situation: despite the deliciousness of movie theaters, the watching movies at home is a far healthier habit.