Cheap Thrills

Paul Gilmartin brings movies--no dinner--to Dallas.

We love free stuff: nail files, key chains, those squishy little stress balls. So what if they're completely useless and advertise companies for which we'll never be patrons? They're free. We'll happily wander the endless rows of kiosks at our local home shows and, when offered a squeegee promoting the McCrazy Bros. Window Cleaning Service, think, "OK, so maybe we don't have a car, but you never know when this here squeegee might come in handy." Then we help ourselves to three. Nothing of too much value is ever handed out though, so the thrill dies quickly, almost as quickly as the ink in our Allstate Insurance pen is spent. But now we've discovered the Loews Cineplex Entertainment and Lever 2000 Movies in Motion Outdoor Movie Tour hosted by Paul Gilmartin of TBS' Dinner & A Movie series.

Imagine, if you will, the ability to go see a movie in a nice air-conditioned theater without laying down a dime. Breathe deeply; it'll help the hyperventilation. For one sweet, sweet weekend, you'll be able to attend an assortment of films free of charge, giving you the chance to snub your nose at the Hollywood tycoons who have the audacity to charge $8.50 a show. However, though snubbing your nose at said tycoons might bring about some personal satisfaction, it should be noted that this gesture would be very hard for the tycoons to see from atop their massive piles of crisp, green cash.

The party's going down at the Taste of Dallas celebration when the Movies in Motion tour, a huge, 18-wheeler trailer that will roll into West End. It brings with it a 10,000-square-foot movie theater with 120 seats from which you can watch an assortment of movies, ranging from old, family classics to new blockbuster hits, including American Pie 2, Spy Kids 2, Tomb Raider and Bruce Almighty. Lever 2000 products, movie posters, CDs and popcorn will all be gratis, saving you at least another $7. There will also be other attractions such as a trivia challenge, a "red carpet" photo game, and the Windows XP technology playground, which promotes the Microsoft Windows Movie Maker 2 and Windows Media Player 9 Series.

We can barely wrap our minds around the concept of it all: A bunch of movies shown for free and they don't suck. It's so simple, yet very, very complex. Suddenly the idea of screaming infants and saliva-swapping, acne-encrusted adolescents going at it three rows behind of us isn't as rage-inducing now that we're not paying for the film. Therefore this will be the one time we realize that the freaks we surround ourselves with while watching a movie aren't imposing on our valuable investment of $16.73 because we didn't pay jack. It's worth getting all worked up least for us. The only times we can avoid the sky-high prices of a night at the Cineplex is when we're invited on dates. And we all know this happens once in never.

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