Going to the movies was once a simple, inexpensive pleasure. Now a flick for two runs $25 in New York—and that’s before the popcorn. So we jumped on this deal when we spotted it yesterday: $4 for a ticket to any AMC, Loews, Cineplex Odeon, Magic Johnson, or Star theater. The catches are, you have to pay up front, you can only get one (I’m making my fiance buy his own)…

After emptying our wallets to see Avatar we got to thinking that there must be a cheaper way to see movies. Sure, going to movies early in the day and avoiding the concession stand will save you money. We know that. But, there are other tricks to seeing movies–even on opening night–on the cheap.

Buy Many At A Time.
Regal Entertainment Group offers Super Saver tickets for as low as $6.50 each. These tickets carry some restrictions, but you can get a ticket valid for all movies and show times, for just a dollar more per ticket. We recommend going in with friends: If you and four friends bought a pack of 50 tickets together, you could each see ten movies at about 40% off. If you don’t want to buy quite as many at a time, there are options for you, too.

Harness Social Media For Movie Rewards.
Fandango offers chances to win free movie tickets to its followers on Twitter. Those who participate in Movie Review Monday – in which Fandango followers tweet movie reviews with rhymes in them – are in the running for two free tickets…

The first time John Wells had his script about corporate layoffs ready to go, the timing was less than ideal.

He’d been inspired by a brother-in-law who lost his job in the dot-bomb, but the economy got back on its feet pretty swiftly, and there didn’t seem to be an appetite for his movie, The Company Men.

You can see where this is going, so I’ll spare you the transition.

The mancession movie, which stars Ben Affleck (yay), Tommy Lee Jones (double yay) and Chris Cooper as smug executives who lose their jobs, finally started shooting in 2009 and is being screened at Sundance right now…

Going to opera and the theater feeds the soul, but drains the purse. As a result, LearnVest brings you some budget-minded ways to enjoy the performing arts:

1. Join a Membership Group

In cities that support a major opera house, there is often the option to join a young subscriber club, often called a “BRAVO! Club.” For example, the Seattle Opera’s BRAVO! Club is available for people between the ages of 21 and 39. Membership costs $65 per year and provides discounted tickets (as much as half off!), special member events, and complimentary wine and coffee during intermission. To give you an idea of their usual prices, tickets for the upcoming show of Falstaff in the Dress Circle cost at least $140…

Shaft movie poster 200I tend to romanticize the 70s as an era. I am charmed by the idea of people “finding themselves” while making dramatic, life-changing decisions in pursuit of authenticity. And in our troubled times, there’s something especially cathartic about watching others caught in the vortex of events they can neither understand nor control, but nonetheless work heroically to resolve. As my wise Buddhist friend once said: “falling off the path is the path” — it’s when we’re faced with challenges that we have the opportunity to grow and to discover the boundlessness of our own mettle.

One great thing about the modern age, though — Netflix and YouTube make watching these old flicks easy and affordable.

Shaft (1971)
This prime example of “Blaxploitation” film tells the tale of John Shaft, a badass African-American private detective (the smokin’ hot Richard Roundtree) on assignment to retrieve the kidnapped daughter of a mobster…

pursuit-of-happyness-will-smith-movie-photo1Some days, the last thing I need is an “inspirational” tale of a blind, deaf quadriplegic who wrote his Ph.D. dissertation one letter at a time by wiggling his ears. But Sunday night, in a funk of worry about my finances, my future, the economy, and Iran, I ditched my work and instead made a dent in the sofa. I let myself get weepy over the story of Chris Gardner, a single father with ambition and fortitude who went broke and came out on top in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness.

Whether you tend towards sap or cynic (I do both), feel-good stories can help you beat the blues. I tracked down five classic YouTube clips, for a quick pick-me-up. Um, no—that’s just dust in my eye.

This version of Jason McElwain’s first basketball game has gotten more than 400,000 views. I only account for half of those.

tv-set-150You’ve slashed your entertainment budget to the bone. No more Friday night movies for you and you’re cutting off the digital cable. But you still need your Mad Men fix and you don’t want to miss the next Batman blockbuster. Thanks to the abundance of the Internet, you can scrap that entertainment budget altogether and go all-free-all-the-time. We’ve rounded up several sources that will keep your media habits intact without burning a hole in your wallet.

TV & Movies – Why it’s great: New shows, old shows, 144 movies and trailers. The hitch: The new shows expire and the movies are cut with ads. – Now home to more than just viral videos of six-year-olds talking about Darth Vader, YouTube has a movies and a television section from “old media.” – If you’re a fan of the good, the bad and the extra-cheesy this website is for you. Uninterrupted streaming video of all the rubber-suited monsters and spaghetti westerns you could want. – This site has a good selection of streaming movies, especially anime and foreign films of the Asian persuasion. However, like most of the Internet, this site is 90% porn by volume…

2009_observe_and_report_006-2In Ronnie Burkhardt’s world, in “Observe and Report,” the shopping mall is a bustling mecca of happy spenders toting bags filled with self-affirming purchases. It’s even more of an enjoyable destination for the suburbanites who flock to Paul Blart’s New Jersey workplace (until they are ordered to leave the mall, of course).

“Observe and Report,” the latest movie starring Seth “jumping the shark?” Rogen, has received mixed, at best, reviews all around.

I’m generally a fan of Seth Rogen, but I’m more intrigued by the quick succession of movies that take place at the mall – Rogen’s opening tonight and “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” which opened mid-January.

In a recession that has all but decimated retail sales, is Hollywood trying to save shopping? By reminding viewers of the mall’s inviting place to congregate, could studio execs in LaLa Land – located itself in the land of malls – be making a bid to spur the U.S. economy?…

Lynn Parramore looks back on the Great Depression to see the path ahead.


How do consumers save when they make less than ever before?

Sometimes, they take their business underground. Call it the Downturn Hustle. As folks tighten their belts on just about everything, certain bootleg activities are on the rise.

That’s nothing new. When Prohibition went into effect in 1920, bootleggers got busy providing alcohol to speakeasies and thirsty consumers. By 1929, the year of the Great Crash, a vast underground industry of black market booze had arisen, an illegal trade unlike any the US had ever seen. Gangsters got rich, grew violent and became celebrities as newspaper stories and movies covered their exploits…

movies-150It’s conventional wisdom that during the Depression, people went to the movies, gathering together to escape the harsh realities by the communal fireplace. For a bit of spare change, folks could forget their troubles for a couple of hours.

Like most Hollywood tales, it involves a healthy dose of artistic license. Yes, movie theaters offered a welcome diversion, and 1930 was a hugely profitable year for the movie industry. But over the next four years, admissions were down by a third, some 8,000 theaters were shuttered…