Disney / Wikipedia
I was toying around with calling this article "The Ultimate Lifehack For Experiencing EVERY Summer Movie - For Free!", and honestly I don't think that's TOO far off or clickbait-y. It's definitely exaggerating the premise for comic effect, but I do think it's a pretty solid lifehack (maybe even "the ultimate"), but generally I thought being straightforward with y'all would be the better move. Let me explain...
As a guy who's usually pretty busy between work and taking care of my 2 year old, I don't get out to the movies as much as I used to. As much as I'd like to be in the theater nearly every week to see the latest blockbuster or must-see indie drama or movie where Tom Cruise nearly murders himself for our entertainment, it's just not that feasible - I work a lot, babysitters can be pricey in New York City, and usually the time it would take to go to a movie would be better spent with my kid, doing some chores, or getting some work done. But luckily, I've found an alternate solution that is dirt cheap, doesn't take much time, and allows me to experience all of the movies I want as soon as they come out: reading the Wikipedia summaries!
Okay - I know that sounds....incredibly lame, but stick with me. They're readily available, very quick, and give you a good overview of the story beats and characters, almost as if you had seen the movie with your own two eyes!
Also, yeah, it's pretty lame of me - but I have reasons.
MOVIES ARE EXPENSIVE
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Going to the movies is a PRICEY AFFAIR these days - the cost of movie tickets in New York City is like $12 / ticket, then there's popcorn (I usually sneak in my own candy, shhhh), AND we have to get a babysitter to watch our daughter for 3-4 hours. That's a lot of organization and money just to see some mildly fine movie in a crowded theater that's always way too cold, when we COULD have just stayed home and watched one of the billion things sitting in our Netflix queue that we haven't gotten to because we started watching The Sopranos again (SO good the 5th time!).
Wikipedia, though? FREE. Insanely free - and tells me everything I need to know about the movie, without any of the complications that can arise from me trying to download the movie illegally or something. Which...I still don't really know how to do without risking getting a bunch of viruses or tipping off my ISP what I'm up to. Not that I want to do that or anything. Definitely no one explain to me how that actually works in the comments.
Especially for a movie where I'm just curious about the mystery or the twists that might occur, do me and my wife really need to spend $30 between tickets and snacks and another $30-40 for a babysitter? Going to the movies to find out what happens in that Liam Neeson train movie just isn't worth $60 and several hours of my time. But Wikipedia? Wikipedia is priced juuust right.
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The internet moves fast - and especially during a packed summer like this, it seems like a new, buzzworthy blockbuster is dropping EVERY SINGLE WEEK. I'm seeing reactions and tweets and memes galore, and I want to understand what the hell everyone else is talking about. With TV shows, I kinda have to give up - there's no way I can read 10 recaps of Westworld episodes without getting completely lost and/or confused, but it's a lot easier with movies (FYI I read about the spoilers for the Westworld finale and understood maybe 10% of it).
See, here's how Wikipedia plot summaries work - before the movie is formally released, they only are allowed to have a short snippet of the plot / premise, no more than what you'd glean from watching trailers. But the MOMENT the movie hits wide release, Wikipedia allows a fuller summary to be published, detailing the full plot of the movie (without a ton of detail, mind you), including arcs, twists, and everything in-between. I can find out everything I need to know about A Quiet Place in about 4 paragraphs! It's great!
And it's not like I still don't experience the suspense and thrills and twists of the movies themselves. When THE THING happens to the daughter in the MIDDLE PARAGRAPH of the Hereditary summary, I gasped aloud! Sure, it might be A LITTLE DIFFERENT to have actually witnessed it for real, but I still thought it was a solid and unexpected twist.
...I will remind you at this point that I recognize this sounds extremely lame. I already am aware, so don't yell at me.
"DON'T I MISS THE ACTUAL EXPERIENCE OF SEEING MOVIES? SEEING MOVIES KICKS ASS, IDIOT."
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To everyone I tell my genius strategy to, I always get the same response - "But don't you miss ACTUALLY SEEING MOVIES?" And they're right to ask (calling me a "dipshit" afterwards feels like a low blow, however) - there is still something magical and special about seeing new movies on a huge screen with a big excited audience reacting throughout. But...there's also a lot of drawbacks. The money, obviously. Sitting in shitty fold-up chairs that smell weird. Being way too cold. Not being "allowed" to check your phone (yes, I know technically you CAN check your phone, but people who check their phones during movies are assholes, we all know that. Still, I REALLY want to check my phone. It buzzed twice! What if those were IMPORTANT BUZZES???). And...realizing halfway through the movie that you don't really care all that much what happens (or can very easily predict what's going to happen), you're not that invested, and you just want the credits to roll so you can get out of here, pick up some Chinese food on the way home, and eat in your underwear while watching an old episode of The Sopranos.
Granted, this is not every movie - or even MOST movies. But it's a lot of movies, where the discomforts and lack of interest overpower the overall movie-going experience. And in those cases, I realize I woulda been fine just reading a Wikipedia summary, finding out the twists, going "huh okay", and then going about my day, having saved like $50 and a bunch of time.
I still do see SOME movies in theaters - I'm a huge nerdo, so I'm there for every Marvel movie, but mostly I just want to read about movie plots so I can save my time and energy for more important things.....like writing articles about reading Wikipedia instead of seeing movies?
...or maybe my life is just kinda sad. Maybe it's that.