As my twiggish arms slammed against the large glass doors, the strong smell of popcorn wafted under my nose, and bright lights overwhelmed all angles my view. All of the different titles were accompanied by a small photograph of characters with bright faces, the characters who would soon dance, sing, cry, and laugh across a monstrous theatre screen.
Growing up, going to the movies was something that my father and I did almost weekly. Initially, I was only in it for the blue raspberry slushie and large tub of popcorn (which conveniently came with a free refill), but my attitude changed as I grew older. Catching the occasional movie has continually been an activity held close to my heart, and even more so in recent years as it is becoming more and more infrequent.
Services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and iTunes, allow for much easier access to movies online, as subscribers are able to stream nearly whatever they want whenever they feel a desire to. Although cuddling up in bed with a pair of earbuds is undoubtedly relaxing and comfortable, there’s something indescribable about going to see a movie at a theatre that makes it mean so much more. I’m going to try to decipher why and how this is an originality that is not meant to fizzle out.
The Theater Difference
In the presence of a group, emotions are heightened, not to mention contagious. With the faint noise of laughter heard from someone in the back rows of the theater, other viewers are met with the unspoken permission to laugh as well. Whether surrounded by a group of friends or complete strangers, experiencing a movie in a group setting is interactive and far more engaging. While it may only be an hour or two, time spent under these high ceilings is an experience no less. The emotions vary with each movie, but those in the theater connect with one another whether they choose to admit it or not.
During Superbad, we laugh together, but during The Blind Side, we do quite the opposite. On either end of the emotional spectrum, movie content is embraced by each viewer as they endure the harshities and experience joy with the characters in the film, as well as with those on either side of them. Plus, having a group to discuss with once the movie is over is beneficial for filling gaps you may have missed.
Time to Tune in
The environment of a movie theatre sets viewers up to pay attention. The procedure has a purpose, and movie watchers are almost trained to stay in their seats for the duration of the film. The only thing that can really disrupt a movie showing is a long-held pee, one which you only relieve because you really just can’t hold it any longer. Because the sounds are amplified and the visual is unlike anything else, you’re more likely to pay attention to the enormous screen as opposed to the other things around you, which are likely invisible because of darkness. A theater screen beats the view on your tiny laptop any day. It’s just not the same and you won’t experience the same cinematic effect on something so small. Everything looks better when it’s blown up to a level this large.
Additionally, the implementation of a no cellphone policy makes for an environment that can no longer be found in many other places. Forcing movie watchers to stow their phones for a couple hours, at least, creates less distractions. Homes are filled with people and things that drag your attention. In the middle of an emotionally heightening scene, a tap on your spacebar can provide a few minutes to recuperate. Periodic pauses during a film take away the cinematic value, for movies are created to be watched in their entirety – not in bits and pieces. Even taking a couple minutes to switch your laundry from the washer to the dryer can shift your entire mental state, whether you’re able to realize this or not. In cancelling out the possibility of distraction, going to the movies acts as a cleanse. Even if only for a couple hours, you’re able to escape your own life and adopt a new one. Whether you choose to be a superhero or a cancer-curing doctor, the ability to identify with movie characters is a fun way to make yourself feel like you’re actually a part of the cast.
In a more romantic setting, going to the theater makes for a monumentally less awkward first date. It’s intimate to experience a movie with someone, but it’s not too serious. And that trademark mid-movie “move” of raising your arm over her shoulder – you won’t find anything like it anywhere else.
Stick to Authenticity
Regardless of the on-demand options at your disposal, fully immersing yourself into a cinematic experience in a comfy reclining chair in a theater is undeniably thrilling. Yes, the candy’s too expensive and the pattern on the carpet probably hasn’t been changed within the last 30 years, but I love a good movie anyway.
The movie theatre business is shrinking, due to the streaming outlets mentioned earlier as well as rising ticket prices. People are going to the movies less and less, simply because they feel they can easily transfer this experience into their homes. Although you can manually pop popcorn in your own microwave, I know it doesn’t taste nearly as good unless it’s from a movie theater. Simple movie theater protocol is something you just don’t do in any other place, and its uniqueness is a large component of its charm. Movies are one of the most expressive ways to virtually experience art, and the most wholesome way to embrace it is to open ourselves to the art of filmmaking and the culture that comes with it: watching it in a theater.
Going to the movies has always been something for me to look forward to, no matter who with or however old I was at the time. Learning about movie culture that’s reflective of our lives and this history we’re a part of is best prepared within the walls of the cinema itself. No matter how revolutionary Netflix may become during my lifetime, I’ll never stop going to the movies – even if it means I have to pay for my own large popcorn and blue raspberry slushie.
Will you continue to go to the movies? Tell us why or why not.
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