As I’m typing this post, I’m watching Entertainment Tonight weekend edition on cable, in what channel I don’t know. It’s because I’m here in the U.S. while watching this, California to be exact, somewhere in the middle they call the Central Coast area. I’ve been here since the latter part of March, right after a film studies conference I attended in New York City (I’ll blog about that in the future).
I appreciate showbiz shows like E.T. because it keeps me up-to-date with the movie news I always like hearing and watching. For instance, they’re heavily promoting Russell Crowe’s latest movie with Cate Blanchett, the great director Ridley Scott’s version of ROBIN HOOD due out in a few weeks. And as I flip channels, there’s a commercial of the TCM Classic Film Festival happening in Hollywood, Los Angeles right now, which I think began last April 22, the day my sister and I left Los Angeles to drive back here, after staying there for five days to spend her vacation from work. Heck, if that was in Manila, I would be there everyday to watch the movies. Imagine watching REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE or BREATHLESS on the big screen! Wow. Oh well, but that’s the point — I ain’t in Manila.
And that’s what I miss with being in Manila — our movie marathons. I would usually spend cinema time with my girlfriend or my mother, or the both of them, in our favorite cinema houses in malls nearby. It’s not that easy to do that here, but of course it depends on where you are. For instance, I am here in a huge apartment compound which is near a commercial area. But their commercial areas don’t necessarily have movie houses here. There are stand-alone movie houses here but they are usually located in the city’s main city-center area, or where “Main Street” usually is here in America, as I found out. Sure, I can walk over there, but it will take me about 30 minutes to walk there in a leisurely pace. Sure it’s easy to drive down there as it will take only 8-10 minutes. But since my sister uses her car for work and I don’t have a California license, I can’t drive it. And no, there are no subways, buses or taxis here that just pass by. Everything’s on schedule, and fare costs a lot. But of course, that’s my forex mind always converting rates.
Yes, so in short, it’s hard to go to the movies here. It’s so unlike where I live back in Manila where the cinemas are just five minutes away or a jeep-ride away for more mall cinema goodness.
It’s not the same in New York City, though. I like that area better because there are 24-hour buses and subways operating there, as it really is a city that never sleeps (well, at least some parts only). Unless you don’t mind traveling out in the cold, this is perfectly okay. And when I say cold, it’s really cold! I was there last March, about two weeks of the tail end of winter. While I didn’t really see heavy snowfall (just for one day, some flurries), once the wind blows, you better be warm and covered and heavily layered! So traveling from your house to the cinema house is really an adventure in winter wonderland, literally. Sometimes it’s not worth it, even for avowed cineastes.
But aside from the weather difference, it’s still the same. Movie houses there are not so accessible. Or maybe it feels that way because you have to take at least a minimum of one subway or bus ride to reach a cinema house, and then you have to walk a bit, maybe one block or a few more. But of course, this all depends on where you’re staying there, if you’re very near the cinema or not. Lucky if you live near. If not, tough luck going there.
Now I understand more the in-house movie services here, such as the Netflix thing where your cable-internet TV subscription or whatever the set-up has like a movie subscription where you can buy movies on demand. They say that a lot here, “on demand” movies. Or they could mail you DVDs and you watch it and you mail them back to the company when you’re done. It’s like a movie rental by mail. Amazing, isn’t it. Of course it only works in countries where the systems like the postal service work efficiently. Good luck running that in the Philippines.
So in a couple of days, I’ll be flying back to Manila, and maybe the first few things I’ll do is watch movies endlessly in SM Marikina or Gateway Cubao or Trinoma with my girlfriend. Even if it’s the two of us, it’s still relatively cheaper. Imagine watching one movie here in the U.S. for 10-14 dollars each. How much is that? With current exchange rates, more than 460 pesos. Hey, I could take the 140 peso-movie anytime. It’s the same, man. Plus I get to buy popcorn and melon shake. Solb!
I’m checking out the movies currently playing in the cinemas at home, and it’s cool that I will be able to catch some good titles when I arrive. Can’t wait for that.