My love affair with movies began in high school, when just about every weekend I went to the theater with friends to catch the latest release. I still strongly believe that films are best viewed on the big screen in the company of others;
downloading DVD rips streaming it on my laptop just doesn't cut it. I keep the stubs from all of the tickets, and over time have realized that even as my impressions of the film itself fade, my memories of the people that I saw it with, and what we did before, during, and after remain clear as ever. From my first rated-R movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (my mom bought tickets for my friend and me because we were under age), to the countless midnight screenings I've been to for all the big franchises (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix sequels, Transformers), cinema has had a huge influence over how I remember growing up.
But, unfortunately, moviegoing is an expensive habit. I've been lucky these last couple years to have been able to see most films for free in advance of theatrical release thanks to my status as a student-journalist. Now that I'm out in the real world, however, I'm starting to feel the burn of watching movies like a pleb. Ticket prices in Paris are comparable to those of any major US city, but perhaps slightly worse when you factor in the exchange rate.
The major theater chains here have an incredible unlimited pass, which lets you attend as many screenings as you want for 20€/month. (I did the math and it's worth it as long as you go just once a week). The catch? Subscription is for a minimum of one year. I briefly toyed with the idea of signing up now and selling my pass once I was getting ready to leave the country but then noticed that the application requires an identification photo, thereby strictly limiting the number of people I could potentially pawn it off on later. Bummer.
"I wish they had something like this at home," a fellow American expat/cinephile said to me after we watched Looper together.
But wait - they do! Sort of. The MoviePass service is currently in beta, and from what I've read online is running about $30-$40/month depending on where you live.
If monthly subscription doesn't seem like the right option for you, I suggest you also check out these tips from Not Worth Admission. I'm most intrigued by #7, buying in bulk, and will definitely look into it when I'm back stateside.*
*That is unless I can find someone who will publish my writing and let me watch things for free...