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Coop out cop out options

Just when you thought it’s safe to go back to cinemas… what are the options for the cooped up to satisfy the addiction, movies that’s it!

When cooped up or having to distance out under restrictions of the Movement Control Order (MCO) and it varied-acronym sequels, what are the options for movies?

Cinemas were the mainstay – the old-norm option that outstrips all. Either to lepak, paktoh, or to enjoy the seduction of the senses that the big screen offers, it is now but a distant memory.

With the MCO that was introduced into our lives in March, cinemas were forced to shut down. For the longest time of five months, cinemas became dark halls of gloom and the titillating smell of popcorn just lingered on in memory.

But when cinemas were allowed to open again in July, it was no longer the same. The physical distancing requirement was not the put off (okay, admittedly it was a bit having to be a-p-a-r-t from one’s date) but the cop out was MOULDY seats and, I bet, the accompanying musty assault of the nostrils!

In May, images of mouldy cinema seats surfaced all over social media. It was the geli-est thing ever just having the thought of sitting on god-knows-what!

Cinemas are definitely an opt out for me. But then all the same, with the latest drastic move to shut down, cinemas no longer presented as option.

The Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors (MAFE) recently announced its decision to temporarily suspend all cinema operations nationwide. Based on its Press Release, “the closure is a cohesive decision undertaken by the industry in light of the recent conditional MCO implementation, which requires cinemas to remain closed, coupled with a lack of new movie releases in the short term which are essential to attract moviegoers back to the cinemas.”

Would then the newly-opened drive-in cinema – the product of entrepreneurial ingenuity of Malaysians for new income stream in trying times – be the other option?

But not a daring-do (or should it derring-do as the puritan would correct me!), I wouldn’t dip my toes in into something new. Reviews would be my go-to. And I must say what I have read does not make it an appealing option.

Some of what I’ve read online involved the cinema being too hot (even with the portable fans around) or the screen being too small (from where the car it parked) to it being too pricey. Priced between RM99 for ‘economy class’ and RM159 for ‘VIP class’, it is actually quite expensive and the journey to go all the way there especially now is a lil too troublesome for me.

But then it too is no longer an option as the Nescafe M-Junction drive-in cinema stopped operating in October just after three months.

With cinemas and the drive-in the cop out, and also with RMCO turning into CMCO that’s extended indefinitely, the one option that remains and will be available while being holed up is MoviesInMyRoom.

That would be Netflix (no, I’m not paid to mention this!). Just relating from an options-depleting movie addict, I have found Netflix to be the best option sans the sense-surround attractiveness of cinemas.

There have been days when I get lost in all the movies and TV series they have. At the moment, I enjoy watching serial killer documentaries, k-dramas and horror flicks.

What I really like about Netflix is the TOTAL CONTROL! Pee breaks. Snack dash. WhatsApp checks. Insta and FB surfing. All these can be easily controlled with PAUSE and just continue on.

I understand that Netflix has what I would equate as my own cinema hall. That's in a family, each of us can have our own individual 'folder' for our movies and dramas. There’s no need to scroll menus for that movie/drama you watched midway. It is just there in own 'cinema hall' and at a click, start the movie/drama from where I left off. It’s like not having the need to purchase another ticket to come back another time to the cinema if I've snoozed off! (That’s me, having the tendency doze off especially after a hectic day in the office).

Besides being in total control, Netflix has a cool feature that allows a movie party to groupie-watch movies or drama. With Netflix Party, one can plan a movie party and virtually be at the movies together with friends. A Discord or Zoom with movies to watch!

Yes, watching movies are no longer the same just as how our lives will be with the oft-bandied term new norm. But with how things have evolved, I have also learnt what is meant by and appreciate old is gold. I still look forward to being able to go back to the cinemas one day. Possibly not too long or when a blockbuster like Fantastic Beasts comes to a cinema near you.

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