Confused Views: The 5 trivial stages of idiocy

Matt’s been to the cinema and suffered through close to 30 minutes of trailers and beer commercials. And he’s not going to take it any more...

Piranha 3D beer

You know what’s great about the Internet? Wait, I’ve done that introduction before. Ratburgers! Well, I don’t have anything else. What now? I guess I should just do it again.

When you write something nearly every week for an extended period of time, there are going to be times when you repeat yourself. I recently noticed that, in every column I’ve ever written, I’ve referenced something ‘disappearing into an abyss’. Every single time, I write that. It’s not even funny and I’ve been doing it for ages without noticing.

Fortunately, I was able to pick up on the repetition of my subjects prior to writing this week’s column. That’s allowed me to prepare this introduction that lets you know that I know I’m prattling on about the same old trivial codswallop. I am aware and I am sorry.

You know what annoys me about going to the cinema? The adverts. I’ve spent so long sitting in cinemas waiting for adverts to finish that it’s started to seriously emotionally bother me. I’m actually going through the five stages of grief (the Kubler-Ross model, if you want the official name. Which I looked up. On Wikipedia), but instead of dying at the end, I just stop whinging on about cinema adverts. Hopefully.

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Anyway, I’ve gone through the denial stage (“I must just be remembering it wrong. There’s no way I sat through 30 minutes of adverts”). Obviously, I’ve done anger, which seems an obvious reaction to paying around £10 to see a film and then having it begin 30 minutes after the advertised start time. I was angry for a long, long time, but anger is such a difficult emotion to sustain and it’s eventually dissipated away. Now, I’m onto bargaining. 

Cinema chains of the UK, can we please have advertising that is appropriate for the film you’re delaying us from seeing?

This is something that has been driving me increasingly crazy, to such a degree that I nearly flew into a violent, shouty rage while waiting to see The Expendables. The film being what it was, I expected to see advertisements for fire and breasts. What I didn’t expect to have to watch was a three minute long music video, which turned out to be an extended advert for a fruity, low alcohol beer. Most of the advert took place on the back of a scooter.

A scooter! On screen when I’m supposed to be watching The Expendables! Show me a fucking tank and I’ll consider drinking your beer. No one in that auditorium was interested in fruity beer or light-hearted scooter cruising. They sold no products based on that advertisement, wasted three minutes of about 20 people’s time and pumped out a giant green cloud of negative karma pollution into the atmosphere. Oh, the pointlessness. Oh, the horror.

Is it an unreasonable request? iTunes manages to match its recommendations to similar products, as does Amazon. These folks deal with millions of products, where your average multiplex shows around 10 films and advertises about 50 different additional products. (That’s a wild guess, and based on absolutely no research, as is customary for this column. You’re not here for facts. Even if you think you’re here for facts, please allow me to reassure you that you’re not.).

It doesn’t feel like I’m asking a lot. If you’re going to advertise so extensively during a screening that I’ve paid to attend, at least put a small amount of effort into choosing what to advertise.

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I’m hoping that this column might inspire at least this change. I thought complaining online worked. You know, like how all of those complaints about the lack of original films being released eventually stopped remakes from happening.

So, to bring us back onto the subject with a short story, I’m waiting to see Piranha 3D. I’m in what I like to refer to as ‘nudity and gore mode’, which I would like to assure you doesn’t involve any physical acts that may cause distress to others. This mode is heightened by the 3D. I’m in my seat, I’ve got my glasses on, I’ve got my popcorn in hand and a grin on my face. I’m ready to go.

Now is the last time in the world that I want to see an advert for a children’s adventure film, regardless of whether it’s from the director of the original Piranha and regardless of whether it’s in 3D. It’s a perfect mood killer and it’s souring the premium 3D cinema experience that apparently justifies the price.

Sometimes the placement of these advertisements is so baffling that it’s almost funny. For example, you know when I absolutely don’t need to see a trailer for The A-Team? When I’m in a cinema waiting for The A-Team to start. I can only assume it was there to remind me what I’d been waiting so long for. I think the response they were hoping for was, “Oh wait, this does look good. I’ll just wait for it to start rather than getting a refund because I’ve been here for 20 minutes and the film hasn’t even started yet.”

This is something that can generally be managed on DVDs. Why is it so hard for cinemas to advertise appropriate products and films for their screenings? If they absolutely have to advertise, even after charging upwards of £10 for a standard ticket, why can’t they apply a little common sense with the advertisements? And this is based on the idea that cinemas are responsible, which I assume they are. If they’re not, can whoever is stop and think about what they’re doing.

Perhaps if they did just advertise to the right people, they wouldn’t have to advertise everything on every film and we could start the film a little bit earlier. Just a thought.

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Well, that’s it from me on cinema whining, for now. Join me in a few months when I’ll be repeating the subject yet again by moving onto the depression stage. This will, no doubt, be an awful read, but should be followed fairly closely by an accepting silence. Fingers crossed.