As a year for moviegoing, 2011 certainly had its irritations. Now that the calendar has given us a clean slate, it’s time to set our resolutions for making 2012 a better year on the big screen. Of course, we’d like to get Hollywood to make its own resolutions (like, say, stop plundering the ’80s for remake ideas that end up trashing the movies many of us loved as kids), but we cannot improve others, only ourselves. So, as moviegoers, let’s all resolve in 2012 to follow the 12 pledges on the list below. (And feel free to add others in the comments.)
• I will stop paying good money to watch 3D movies that were not filmed in 3D, but just hastily retrofitted in order to boost ticket prices. (I may make an exception for the ‘Titanic’ re-release, since James Cameron can probably be trusted not to do a half-assed job in this department.)
• I will shut off my phone during the movie. I won’t annoy other patrons with my clicking thumbs, my conversations, or the competing glow of my own screen. For two hours, I’ll shut off my link to the outside world and allow myself to get lost in the story — and allow others to do the same.
• I will leave small children at home. I won’t disturb others — or traumatize my own kids — by allowing ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ to be their babysitter.
• I will complain to the theater manager when the projection is too dim or too fuzzy, or when the sound isn’t right. I understand that theaters won’t have an incentive to maintain high standards of presentation, even on costly new digital projectors, unless customers complain en masse when we don’t get what we’re paying for.
• I will support local movie theaters that do maintain quality presentation standards, offer good snacking or dining options, and program the kind of movies and non-movie fare that I like.
• I will notice that there are more movies coming out this year besides ‘The Hunger Games,’ the final ‘Twilight,’ and the first ‘Hobbit.’ Yeah, I’ll probably go see all of these, but I will also look past the hype and keep an eye out for other potentially interesting movies.
• I won’t assume that everyone who hates a movie I like is a philistine, or that everyone who likes a movie I hate is an elitist snob. And I won’t flame people who disagree with me about a movie on the Internet.
• I will find a movie critic whose tastes generally match mine, or one whose tastes almost never match mine. Either way, reading that critic’s reviews will prove a more reliable barometer for whether I’ll love or hate a movie than the split-the-difference scores I find at movie poll sites like Rotten Tomatoes or Flixster. And I will encourage the outlet that employs that critic to keep him or her on staff and not replace them with someone generic or syndicated.
• I will not limit my movie diet to escapism. I will occasionally go see a movie that makes me think, shows me something unfamiliar, challenges my preconceptions instead of reassuring and comforting me, or at least requires that I read subtitles.
• Conversely, I won’t assume that, just because a movie generated buzz at Sundance or Toronto, it has artistic merit. For every ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene,’ there’s bound to be a ‘happythankyoumoreplease.’ Caveat emptor.
• I will occasionally watch a movie that was made before I was born, especially if I can see it in a theater. I will not dismiss a movie as quaint just because it’s old or in black-and-white.
• I will not pretend that watching a widescreen, visually sumptuous epic on an iPad or smartphone is any substitute for the immersive experience of watching it on the big screen.
[Photos: Getty Images (3D audience), Lionsgate ('The Hunger Games')]
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