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At The Movies

October 1989

Some first run American films seem to get here about 3 months after their U.S. release — we just saw "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." (Although "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" [a 1988 film] was also just playing.) Usually there is at least one theater showing it in English. A nearby theater multiplex seems to first show them in English in their feature (biggest) theater, later showing a German version in another one — the latest James Bond film ("Lizenz zum Toten" — of course the title ["License to Kill"] is familiar to you) is now playing in theater 3.

The tickets cost about $5 if you are content to sit in rows 1-11; for another $.50 you can sit in the back half of the theater. I still haven’t figured out what the advantage is supposed to be — maybe most Germans are far-sighted. We’ve always had plenty of seats to choose from, although we’ve been going to the 5:30 show — there are two more after that and we’ve met people in restaurants who are going to the 11:30 show on weeknights!

The snack bar is a little different than we’re used to — in addition to canned soft drinks you can buy beer or Jack Daniels and cola. From time to time you hear someone popping the top of another brew in the theater!

That’s after they get through showing half an hour or so of commercials — I thought the scheduled movie times were a little long. If you ever wondered what happened to the old cigarette commercials you used to see on TV — they’re all here! (Cowboys are particularly big.) Also candy, drinks (soft and hard) and there’s one with Eddie Murphy where a fan knocks on his toilet stall for an autograph based on the information in a cinema magazine! And the public service condom ad. The latest one you won’t see on American TV either — an anxious teenager is dressed like he’s going to the prom. His proud mother slips a pack of condoms (10!) into his jacket pocket. When he arrives at the girl’s house, he nervously pulls his hands from his pockets, dropping the pack on the floor. She smiles at him and touches his hand... The next morning, the mother, seeing him fast asleep in his bed, goes to hang up his jacket, discovering there’s only one left in the pack!

The last commercial is for ice cream, after which the lights come up while the ticket taker moves down front to sell you some before the show starts. Shades of the drive-in!

© Copyright 2000 Jack Ludwick - All Rights Reserved

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