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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Super 8 Makes for a Super Date


My Friday night included free buttery popcorn, hand-holding with hubby, and Super 8. Have you seen it? Two thumbs up! The cost to see a movie at the theaters has really climbed lately, so keep reading and I'll share some tips on how to cut some of the expenses. But first I have to tell you about the fun flick!

J.J. Abrams' sci-fi live-action movie easily took the top spot at the box office last weekend in North America. The audience I shared the theater with absolutely loved it, cheering and laughing the whole way through. And even AFTER the movie ended...WARNING ALERT...don't leave the theater when the movie ends; there's a fun surprise to watch after the credits start rolling.

Now, I have to admit that I've been angry with J.J. Abrams, ever since he got me hooked on "Lost" and then disappointed with the lame ending after several years of loyal viewing. He's great at reeling you in, but he seemed to get lost himself, wavering through a disjointed storyline and leaving far too many questions unanswered at the end.

I saw his first big screen effort "Cloverfield" and felt that familiar twinge of disappointment (not to mention the dizzying nausea), so I really hesitated seeing Super 8. Thanks to Steven Spielberg to the rescue, Super 8 includes an emotional tug on your heart with characters you really care about and some magical "ET" flavor that leaves you more satisfied at the end. Just so you know, I don't always have to have a happy ending, just one that makes some kind of sense.

Super 8 successfully blends a boy's adventure with friendship, the classic underdog with cool alien CGI, and suspenseful horror with comedic quips. Oh yeah, and the ever popular zombies. Both adults and kids will enjoy this fun flick. People looking for action sequences, as well as tearful moments, will leave satisfied.

The movie features a group of misfit pre-teens with humorous banter that often flies under the radar because of everything else going on in the scene. Child actors Riley Griffiths (Charles), Joel Courtney (Joe) and Elle Fanning (Alice) steal the movie and are headed for a bright cinematic future.

One of my complaints with J. J. Abrams is his unwillingness to quickly reveal the creature that's causing so much destruction (Lost, Cloverfield), so I wondered if I'd even get to see anything good in this film. He does and it's worth the wait...but wait you must. Spoiler alert: It's a cool alien, but not the kind you're used to seeing on the big screen lately. Loved it.

Word to J.J. Abrams...stay close to Steven Spielberg and he'll help you create the truly magical movies people love to watch.

Ok, so on to the movie savings! First we'll start with the FREE popcorn! This one is easy! Simply text the word "popcorn" to 35350 and follow the prompts. Most theaters offer a free membership club where you earn points towards free popcorn, soda and movie tickets with every purchase. It's free to join and the loyalty points add up quickly. If you have to buy popcorn, buy BIG. Those gigantic buckets are the best price per kernal and often come with a free refill. Napkins are free, and with all that buttery goodness you're going to need some! Skip the sugary sodas and ask for a free cup of water.

How about a free movie? Yep! Most theaters offer a free movie day for family films during the summer! Check out your local theaters or go online at these sites:

* www.regmovies.com

* www.cinemark.com

* www.amctheatres.com

* www.brendentheatres.com

* www.ravemotionpictures.com

You've probably had a school-aged student try to sell you on of those Entertainment books as a fundraiser. There are some great coupons for movie tickets in those books! Gold C is another coupon book you may have seen or bought. You can also purchase the books online, and a local school can get some credit if you know their name and/or code.

Costo and Sams Club sell movie tickets at a discount! Most theaters offer bulk discounts, so don't be shy to ask.

Drive ins are less expensive and offer a fun way of movie-viewing. I have great memories of wearing pajamas to the drive-in and falling asleep in the car while my parents finished watching the film. To find one in your area, check out www.drive-ins.com Discount theaters that show older movies will also save you money if you don't mind missing out on the Opening Night frenzy.

Avoid buying tickets online, because there is often a purchase fee tacked on to the price. IMAX viewings usually have a surcharge up to $7 for watching the same movie you can see on a "regular" screen. 3D versions also have a surcharge up to $4, so if the movie is offered in a "regular" format, you'll save money. You'll also save money if you attend a matinee; some theaters charge extra Friday and Saturday nights.

Nothing like a Friday night at the movies and a big tub of buttery popcorn.  Enjoy!