Although there is no question about the fact that movie theaters have taken a big hit over the last few years, it is much too early to claim that they are down for the count. There is something about the cinema that has embedded itself in the cultural DNA of many countries, but especially the United States. It is a beloved pastime for so many people that I don’t think that going to the movie theater will ever become an entirely antiquated activity.
First of all, you just cannot beat the experience of seeing a movie in theaters. Even if a film is available on Netflix or Amazon Prime as soon as its released, nobody has (save for, of course, the absurdly rich) the same audio and video equipment that allows them to come anywhere close to rivaling the experience that a movie theater can provide. With that crushingly loud Dolby Digital surround sound, the enormous screens, the delicious movie theater popcorn, candy, and other concessions, the list of reasons for going to the movies every once in a while will still entice many of us out of the house.
Streaming services may have delivered quite a blow to the movie theater industry as a whole, but it will never completely take over. In addition to offering an unparalleled movie viewing experience, the cinema is still a cultural epicenter for many. Think of how many first dates, for instance, have taken place in movie theaters since they first were constructed. The power of the movie theater as an ideal location for early courtship is immense.
Think about it. It takes so much of the pressures of a first date out of the equation. You don’t have to come up with interesting topics of conversation (it is rude to talk in a movie theater), it puts the two of you in a dark room for a few hours (maybe you’ll feel more confident in making the first move toward physical contact), and it automatically gives you something to talk about after the movie ends. It is really quite perfect.
Even though nobody is going to be taking a trip to the movie theater anytime soon (at least until we find a way to get a handle on the current COVID-19 pandemic), I don’t think that streaming services will ever fully decimate the cinema. In fact, as soon as the quarantines are lifted, I wouldn’t be surprised if movie theaters saw a huge spike in sales from everyone being so eager to get out of the house.
When that day does finally come, though, you will need a reliable website for figuring out when movies are playing at theaters near you. Is it just me, or has it always been much harder to ascertain this information than it should be? I have often thought about how helpful it would be if I could find a dependable, well-designed, and easy to use website that let me figure out where and when I can go catch a flick. Plus, if this site also offered reviews, trailers, and the occasional entertainment news article, all the better.
You can imagine how grateful I was, then, when I finally stumbled upon the site, Show Times. Not to be confused with the network, Showtime, Show Times is dedicated to helping people find out the playing times of all the best movies in theaters near them. Plus, this site will help you stay in the loop of all the hottest upcoming movies, reviews, ratings, even when titles become available on DVD and Blu Ray. Plus, you can rely on Show Times to inform you on how a movie is performing at the box office.
In addition to all that, Show Times has trailers, credit information, and entertainment news to help you to stay abreast with the latest on your favorite actors, directors, new movies, release dates, and celebrities. Find you a site that can do it all, right? If you are looking for a one-stop-shop for everything and anything related to new and upcoming movies and celebrities, Show Times might just be the site for you.
To be frank, there is nothing immediately special about the way that Show Times is designed. It’s a pretty unassuming site, overall. It’s accessible enough, fairly easy to navigate, and decently organized. That being said, there is also nothing really to write home about. It doesn’t have much in the way of an aesthetic direction. It is, to put it plainly, very bland.
But it is not Show Time’s lack of direction of inspired design that I have a problem with. What I don’t like about the way this site is put together is the fact that it is cluttered. I am not a huge fan, personally, of a site that doesn’t provide space to let the information breathe a little bit. It seems like the people who built Show Times tried to fit as much content into a small amount of space as possible. This results in some confusion and an overarching effect of chaos.
At the top of the page, click through a carousel of new DVD and Blu Ray titles, which does not span the length of the page and cuts off at a very awkward place (plus, why would you put DVD releases at the very top of the site? … it’s not like people are really buying many DVDs these days anyway). Below that, you’ll find a very rapidly changing box of new and upcoming releases wedged between a few highlighted news stories and a list of trailers. There does not appear to be any rhyme or reason for the format of this site.
That being said, it is important to note that Show Times is far from the worst-designed website I have ever seen. They could have done much better, but, then again, they also could have done much, much worse.
Show Times offers information on new and upcoming movie releases. They also have trailers, news articles, showing times of movies currently in theaters, links to reviews sites, and plenty of sweepstakes and promotions. Show Times does a lot … to the point where each of their sections seems to suffer slightly, perhaps from the site trying to do maybe too many things. That being said, this site is a very dependable source of, as the name suggests, showtimes.
As far as the news section is concerned, this seems to be the thinnest component of the site. I really wish they would expand on this. Stories are not added nearly as frequently as they should be and the articles themselves are somewhat vague and not as in-depth as I’d like. Show Times seems to include about 2 or 3 stories each day, making it, in my opinion, more of an entertainment blog than a proper entertainment news section.
Desktop and Mobile Experience
The site is pretty similar whether you access it on your computer or your smartphone. I think that the desktop version is slightly better than the mobile version, seeing as the latter loses the site menu bar, simply unfolding each section of the site stacked one on top of the other. However, the site appears to be optimized for mobile, even if somewhat poorly executed.
There is, unfortunately, no Show Times app. I think that this site could greatly benefit from one, though. Sure, any site can benefit from the streamlining an app provides, but given the nature of much of the site’s content (movie showtimes and news), I think that this site could especially benefit from an app – movie times are often accessed on the go, right?
Pricing and Plans
The site is 100% free to use. It has no paywalls or content limitations. There are, however, ads (which are always at least a little bit annoying). I would prefer Show Times to offer a premium version of the site which could be ad-free. Perhaps this could come with some sort of promotional discounts to certain movie theaters as well. This could end up funding a sleek app too. There we go … problem solved!
Suggestions that I have for Show Times
As I have been saying all along, I would like to see Show Times get a redesign. I also want to see them take themselves more seriously as an entertainment news source. An app would go a long way, especially given the nature of the content. And I think that a premium version of the site could grant Show Times a much broader commercial appeal.