This post might turn out to bite me in the future. I am going to tell you how to go and see movies for cheap or free all the while I am supporting a son who is a filmmaker. So here’s how I’m rationalizing it: go and see movies for cheap or free NOW and save all your money to see my son’s movies when they hit the big screen! I promise I’ll keep you posted on that.
To the topic at hand: I love a good movie. It’s such a wonderful way to tell a story and when it’s done well, you’re in awe of the people who have played it out before you. A good movie is one you’ll come back to again and again – just like a favourite book.
But a night out at the movie theatre can cost a fortune, especially if you decide to pay a zillion dollars for popcorn. (An aside: I rarely buy concession stuff, I usually sneak a chocolate bar or trail mix into the theatre. The one time I do buy concession is when I go to a deluxe theatre where I can get froyo, which I justify as healthy junk food. Argue if you want.) Thankfully, there are cheap ways to see films, especially if you’re patient which, if you’re a thrift shopper, should come naturally to you! Here’s my Top 5 Suggestions:
1. Check it out at the library. Our library has videos, DVDs and Blurays and carries movies and popular TV series. We reserve a ton of movies because they’re often on hold and then just watch them as they come in. The nice thing is, they’re free and you get them for 3 weeks. I recently took out Anna Karenina – the version with Keira Knightly and Jude Law.
2. Netflix or iTunes. We have a Netflix account and I like this especially for documentaries. The thing is, we have Canadian Netflix, which is getting better but does not have the variety that the American version has. If you watch a lot of movies, a monthly subscription to a service like this is the way to go. One of my favourite docs is “Craigslist Joe” – if you want to feel good about the world we live in, watch this.
3. Second-run theatres. These are theatres that offer movies that have already been out for a while. Truly the world needs more of these but our experience is that they are closing. The Ridge was a Vancouver icon that was famous for its showing the Rocky Horror Picture Show every October with movie goers showing up in costume. The Ridge closed in 2013. The Dolphin in Burnaby used to offer $2 movies but closed within the last year as well. I guess it’s just too hard to make a go of this financially. If you have one in your neighbourhood, frequent it!
4. Film festivals. Along with the major festivals like the Vancouver Film Festival or the Toronto Film Festival – local theatres often have their own short-run film festival. In my neighbourhood, the Cineplex theatre in Mission offers Reel on the River, which shows festival films at a discount price if you purchase tix for all 6 films. Their season starts January 19th. They show on Monday nights over the course of 2 months. The Cottonwood Theatre in Chilliwack offers the Chilliwack International Film Series, with their season starting in February. What I like about this option is that it has a festival feel and you get to see films that rarely make it to the big screen, especially in the ‘burbs. Am hoping to go and see Whiplash in a couple of weeks in Mission.
5. Drive-in. I have a drive-in theatre in my area and have never been. Can you believe it? The Twilight Theatre in Langley (Aldergrove) will reopen in February and often shows 3 films in one evening. You can see as many shows as you like, all for the price of admission. I just have to do this this year.
What’s your favourite movie? And what’s your favourite cheap way to see one?