What does a television critic do on weekends for entertainment?
If it is raining or unseasonably cold, I head to the movies.
Now more than ever, thanks to MoviePass.
It took me a while to sign up for the app because it just seemed too good to be true.
The idea you could spend $9.95 a month per person – which is less than you'd spend at lunch most places and equal to about one movie a month – to see an unlimited number of movies made no sense to me.
But it works.
I signed up, paid my $9.95, downloaded the app, waited for my MoviePass card to arrive in the mail and then was free to watch as many movies as I wished for free.
Well, not exactly for free. I did pay $9.95 a month.
But when you go to theater, check-in on your cell phone when you get within 100 yards of it, hand your card to the movie theater attendant, it feels like it is free.
A friend has already seen over 50 movies using MoviePass in about three months.
You can't see the same movie more than once, which isn't a deal-breaker. After all, once is enough for most of the movies I've seen. The biggest disappointment so far with MoviePass is how often I'll look at the lineup and can't find anything I want to see.
And I usually have a low bar for entertainment.
After all, I have to watch "The Bachelorette" this summer because a Buffalo guy is one of the 28 men kissing the woman seeking a husband.
But I digress.
I don't quite get how MoviePass makes money, but heck I never click on the advertisements on Facebook or Twitter, either.
It supposedly works and reportedly recently hit 5 million subscribers, up from 3 million.
I talked to a guy working at one local theater to see if it works for the theater and he essentially said it depends on how much $7 popcorn, $5 soft drinks and $3 candy people buy because the theater makes its money on concessions.
I always buy popcorn. That's the one thing that can't disappoint me.
Truth is MoviePass convinces you to see movies that you ordinarily might pass on.
I was enthusiastic about seeing "RBG," the documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and was thrilled that the verdict was unanimous – my girlfriend and I both loved it. I loved it so much that I'd even see it again even if I can't use MoviePass.
I was on the fence about seeing "Ocean's 8," the female version of the 17-year old series that starred George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac and Elliott Gould.
We were persuaded to see it because it was raining and the cast of the female version of the franchise is pretty impressive, led by Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway and Rihanna.
But I was bored in the first 30 minutes. Not bored like I am watching "The Bachelorette." However, I was bored enough to wish we had stayed home and watched something on Amazon or Netflix and made our own popcorn.
It wasn't just that I missed George Clooney. I did. It looked great but it just wasn't that interesting.
The most interesting thing came in the closing credits, which identified one of the writers as Olivia Milch, the daughter of Buffalo writing legend David Milch. After seeing that, I wished I liked the film more than I did. The film reportedly already has made $76 million worldwide at the box office, so the writers can laugh all the way to the bank.
On our brief walk to our car, my girlfriend and I noted that a few people to the left and the right of us inside the theater were frequently laughing. We couldn't figure out why.
But we weren't terribly unhappy.
After all, we got out of the rain for two hours.
And since we (sort of) didn't really pay to see the movie, we almost felt like bigger thieves than the characters on "Ocean's 8."
Story topics: MoviePass