It's All in the Trailer: A Guide to Saving Your Money on Movies

12/15/2010 07:42 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I recently returned from a glorious trip to Los Angeles. The weather was stunningly perfect, the people I spent time with were lovely, and it was a nice recharge of my inner batteries (as well as the ideal escape from record rainfall in Portland). During a stroll through the Grove, I paused to check out the price of a movie ticket in the city that churns out films via massive assembly lines on a daily basis. A regular adult ticket was $12.75. The "bargain matinee" price was $10.75. My friend Jennie and I lamented that a movie that was most likely made just down the street should cost less than that. It's not like the distributor had far to go with the finished product, we mused. It's the same thing for the inflated prices at the airport; all that stuff has to go through the airport at some point, so why does it cost $5 for a bagel in Concourse B?

But I digress. The point is, with movie prices being what they are, and the fact that they charge the equivalent of what a family could live on for a week for popcorn and candy, you can't just decide on a whim to catch a flick anymore. You need to do some serious research before you head to the theatre these days. Don't be the schmoe standing at the box office, asking the extremely disdainful teenager behind the glass what The King's Speech is about. Everything you ever need know about a movie is right there in the trailer. You just have to listen carefully.

That's right: I said "listen." For a movie's tone is set from even before you see its main character. It's all in the music chosen to accompany the montage of scenes cobbled together to convince you return to the theater and plunk down even more of your hard-earned cash. Herewith is a list of songs that, if used in a movie trailer, are the aural equivalent of a "Hell no, you shouldn't go." If you hear them, consider it a tremendous red flag and proceed with caution.

It's All In The Trailer: A Guide To Saving Your Money On Movies

So there you have it. The next time you catch the previews for an upcoming release, be sure to keep your ears open and your wallet shut. Happy Watching!