Classic Alternatives

Sarah Black

55 percent of 18-24 year olds consider themselves occasionally going to the movie theater, and an additional 20 percent attend frequently, according to the Theatrical Market Statistics in 2009. 


With the average viewer seeing 6.5 films a year and tickets averaging $7.50 in as recent as 2009 according to the National Association of Theater Owners, that’s roughly $50 out of your pocket every year to see about 13 hours of film. Want some popcorn too, maybe a drink? Cough up another $10, and you wind up spending $17.50 for a couple hours, double it if you’re paying for your date. 


Now I don’t know about other folks, but I was raised pretty cheap, and living in Orange County has only developed my tendency to pinch pennies. So for me, spending $20-$40 dollars in one night is like parting with two weeks’ worth of groceries, and for a movie I might not enjoy, it’s not worth it. 


And with movies like “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeaquel” coming out I can hardly say I’m impressed with the array of films lined up for us consumers. Some of the top grossed box office movies in 2009 included “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” and “2012,” neither of which the critics praised too highly. 


So why are we watching these films? Probably because they are new, have neat special effects, and have catchy trailers. 


Well I’m telling you to ditch those films. If you want to save money and still watch quality movies, I have the answer for you (and no, it isn’t downloading them illegally). 


They’re called “classics,” and you can find them at your video store. 


You might be thinking, “Outdated,” but you are wrong, and here’s why: “Young Frankenstein,” “The Godfather,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and so on. Classic films don’t have to be boring, they can be as funny or as scary as you can imagine. 


Take those fancy special effects for example. Sure, they can portray realistic depictions on what would happen if you were cut up with a chainsaw, but aside from being gross, it’s not that scary. 


If you want scary, try the original “Night of the Living Dead.” The psychological trauma will have you on the edge of your seat and your mouth drop at the end. Then try “The Exorcist,” and see how “Saw IV” compares. 


And while “Knocked Up” and “The Hangover” have introduced a new generational reality humor, “Some Like It Hot” and “Duck Soup” have always been funny. Gentlemen, watch “Blazing Saddles” with your girlfriend and if she doesn’t laugh at the campfire and beans scene, you have permission to break up on grounds that she has no sense of humor. 


For quality acting, try a previous generation’s Meryl Streep named Katharine Hepburn (no, not related to Audrey, but there’s another classic actress). “The African Queen” an
d “Bringing Up Baby” are just a few films she dazzled the screen with. 


And ladies, for a tear-jerker, try out “A Star is Born,” the original with Janet Gaynor.  This film is especially relevant today despite being made in 1937, since the main character struggles through much of the film between her career and her love life. 


The best part about all of these old films is that not only are they cheaper than going to the theater, they’re educational. “The Best Years of Our Lives” gives amazing acting performances in a depiction of veterans adjusting in the aftermath of World War II. “Citizen Kane,” is practically a biography of William Randolph Hearst, otherwise known as the indirect creation of TMZ and USA Today. 


So don’t limit yourself to choosing from watching “The Switch” or “Piranha 3D,” because you know how those movies will end. Get to your video store, click on Netflix, or even go to your local library for some great classic films. Your hard-earned cash will thank you.