I love films, but generally speaking I hate the “cinema experience”. Every time I go I seem to add another reason to my list of why I should never go again.

1 : The price.

This is the big one. Today, I went to the cinema with a couple of friends to see the awesomely tacky Piranha (3d) . My ticket was over ELEVEN POUNDS. OK, I had to buy the high quality, tres cool, Ray Charles style cataract glasses for a pound but the ticket alone was still over a tenner. If the cinema is worrying about attendance, the first thing it needs to look at is the cost of these tickets. For a tenner, I can buy 2 or 3 classic DVDs, treat my son to a couple of books, or have a couple of hours at the driving range. That’s only when I go on my own too – if my wife, my son and I all go together to the cinema, buy a bucket of the deliciously stale week-old popcorn and a bag of over-priced sweets, we are rapidly reaching the 50 pound mark. 40 pounds for 120 minutes entertainment is ridiculous. That kind of money would pay for a full day’s family excursion somewhere, or a full day on the golf course.

2 : The people.

The general public suck. I know this. For some reason though in a cinema everyone turns the inconsiderate suck dial up to 11. My pet hate – mobile phones. Using your mobile phone in a cinema is to me as socially acceptable as lighting your farts at a funeral. Please Mr I-cant-spend-2-minutes-without-texting, turn the damn thing off. I don’t care if it’s silent – do you realise how much light pollution those things create in a darkened cinema? Not to mention the grating click-click-click as your fat fingers pound your phone’s keypad. It is my opinion that if someone uses a phone in a cinema for anything other than a life-or-death situation, the other cinema-goers should be allowed to take turns in defecating on their face.

3 : The anti-piracy warnings.

OK we get it – piracy is bad. I personally never download movies – but if there was ever a case for justifiable piracy, it is ironically to cut out the frickin’ anti-piracy adverts. I paid for this ticket – why are you telling me not to pirate films? Tell the pirates, not me! If someone is recording the film, do you really think they will record the piracy warnings? More importantly, do you think it will make them stop? Picture the scene. A would-be-pirate sneaks a camcorder into the cinema and as the lights dim he sets up to get the perfect recording. His eagerness to record is interrupted by… DUN DUN DUUUUUN! A piracy warning! Now, instead of recording the film, he slinks quietly out of the cinema, and goes home to self-flagellate in a puddle of his own self-loathing tears. Nope. He instead finishes his recording, goes home, cuts out the warnings and all his cheapskate friends get to press play and jump straight into the film. So the only reason these anti-piracy warnings exist, is to piss off and delay the people who actually pay for their ticket.

A recent phenomenon is even worse. Now, after we see the piracy warning, we see another clip. This time a patronising starlet peers out of the camera and says “thank you” for paying for your cinema ticket, and tells you “you are the reason we are able to continue making movies”. Well I guess thats right, but the ludicrous price of the ticket is probably also being surcharged to help pay your wages for this shitty 30 second clip. You’re welcome movieland, now HOW ABOUT YOU LET ME WATCH THIS GODDAMN MOVIE ALREADY.

4 : The food.

I have been told that cinemas don’t make much out of showing films and instead get the majority of their money on concessions. This still doesn’t shake my belief that when I fork over 11 pounds for a ticket that there is some fat naked guy laughing and rolling around in a big pile of cash in one of the back rooms, spitting with contempt on pictures of the everyday public, but I guess that’s my own personal demon. So I can sort of understand that the food is going to be a bit pricier than normal. If you are going to charge me a fiver for a bucket of popcorn though, how about you at least make sure it’s fresh, and not full of scabs and hair. I am sure that carbon dating of the popcorn I had today would reveal it to be from the Triassic period. Ancient civilisations believed to have been lost in time didn’t mysteriously vanish at all – they are just hanging out at the bottom of the popcorn bins at the local cineplex. And what is this? A delightful bag of Fruit Pastilles! Not just any Fruit Pastilles you understand – these are perfect, handpicked truffles of the Fruit Pastille tree grown only in the most remote regions of inpenetrable South America! Many men perished so that my tongue may experience the delight of this mystical fruit! Oh hang on – they actually look like the same pastilles I can buy across the road for 99p. So why am I having to remortgage my house again?

Made-up fact of the day – Did you know that pound-for-pound, cinema pick and mix is the most expensive substance on earth? That’s despite being encrusted with the faecal matter of a thousand grubby schoolkids.

5 : The seats.

My god – is my ass such an unusual shape? Am I the only one who can’t sit on these spongy pile-inducers any longer than about 40 minutes before I have to resort to the grilling technique – left cheek 10 minutes, then right cheek 10 minutes? Beelzebub himself uses these exact same seats in the waiting room for Hell. At least his popcorn is fresh though.

Am I alone in this hatred of the modern movie experience? Have these issues always been there but I was too young and naive to notice? I know for a fact I wouldn’t begrudge the extortionate prices if I felt I was getting some kind of decent service and cinema staff actually cared about its customers. How about the staff tell noisemongers to shut up and stop ruining other people’s experience? How about asking people to turn off their phones? How about cleaning out the popcorn buckets at least once a day?

Until cinemas wise-up and look at their business model a little closer, my visits will be few and far between. I would rather wait a few months, buy the DVD for less than a single cinema ticket would cost, and watch it on my home cinema setup, with comfortable seating, tasty affordable food and good company. Am I a miserable old man? Possibly. If you have a differing view of the modern cinema experience, please share it.

EDIT: After a few twitter responses and the comments below, I have come to the conclusion that it is just my local branch of a particular huge cinema chain that is so terrible. Other people seem to have a fine old time at their locals and indie cinemas. I don’t know if I can say the name of the cinema in question, needless to say it rhymes with Bodeon.

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