Infront of the Big Screen

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These days, If I wanted to go watch the latest Hollywood flick, I would just call up my friends, buy some tickets, order some popcorn and go to the local movie theater. Preferably on a week night, as going to the movies on a Saturday night isn’t exactly considered a ‘night out’. However, after informally interviewing my mother about her childhood movie cinema experiences, I discovered that going to the movies in her day was a luxury, family affair and a big ‘night out’.

Unfortunately, my mother’s first cinematic experience didn’t involve drive ins, sneaky quickies behind the bush during intervals, and Sandy and Danny lookalikes. While living in Queensland, her parents took her and her older sister to the movies to see Oliver Twist.

oliver_twist

My mother explained how going to the movies was a special occasion for her family. The cinemas were bigger, the movies longer, due to an interval and a man playing an organ to kill time, and everyone would buy Jaffas to roll them down the aisles giggling. Going to the movies was an escape from the real world – no one could bother you while the movie was playing, it was dark, private and personal. This description made me realize how unpopular going to the movies has become over the decades and as we grow older. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE movies, and there’s nothing better than having a large popcorn and coke on your lap as you sink into those big red chairs – but the older I get, the more the appeal of going to the actual movie cinema fades. Is this because we are maturing? Or is it the result of the rise in technology and piracy? I can easily access over thousands of movies online at the touch of a button in the comfort of my own bed, for free. Why would I go to the movie cinema and pay that hefty $12.00 for a movie ticket, let alone food, when I can do that in my own home? As I mentioned before, a ‘night out’ in my books is, going to dinner and having a few drinks with the girls, or going clubbing. Whereas the movie experience for my mother when she was a child could be compared to going to the Opera. Okay, maybe not THAT big, but you get my gist.

As long as Hollywood keeps producing the goods, and by goods I mean starring Channing Tatum or Ryan Gosling topless, the local movie theaters will always have my vote. I believe a  cinematic experience is different for everyone, especially of different ages.

A recent online article by Colin McGuire on PopMatters really delves into the concept of going to the movies for its experience and discusses several interesting points:

  • Going to the movie theater is a communal experience (this could refer back to my previous post, about the movie cinema being a public yet private space).

“…the way crowds laugh together during a comedy, scream together during a moment of horror, cry together during a dramatic turn or think together during the confusing parts of a plot-heavy thriller.” – (McGuire, 2013)

  • Viewing sneak peaks of coming soon movies is more exciting when previewed on the big screen with surround sound, compared to a quick 30-second ad on cable television.

“…previews become far more interesting whenever they have the time to spread out and explain themselves for a few minutes before the main attraction…Action flicks seem more explosive. And blockbusters seem more unavoidable. Previews hold far more purpose than a simple grace period for late-comers who don’t want to miss the opening credits, and without them, a significant portion of the exclusivity that goes into seeing a movie in a theater would feel incomplete.” – (McGuire, 2013)

  • Replicating movie theater popcorn is almost impossible. The smell of movie popcorn adds to the cinema-going experience.
  • And finally, the posters that decorate the walls of the cinema, as well as the life sized cardboard cutouts of famous characters.

For more online articles about movie-going experiences, check out my references below.

References:

Bergamini, D., 2010, Why Going to the Movies doesn’t suck, The Deleted Scene, weblog post, August 29, 2010, accessed 17/08/2013, http://thedeletedscene.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/why-going-to-the-movies-doesnt-suck/

Goodwin, D., 2013, Going to the movies in Belgium, Things You Didn’t Know about Belgium, weblog post, Sunday, August 11, 2013, accessed 17/08/2013, http://belgiumshock.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/going-to-movies-in-belgium.html

McGuire, C., 2013, ‘In Defense Of…Going to the Movies’, PopMatters, accessed 17/08/2013, http://www.popmatters.com/pm/column/171128-in-defense-of-going-to-the-movies/

Tuttle, B., 2012, ‘Most People Rarely—Or Never—Go to the Movies Nowadays’, TIME, accessed 17/08/2013, http://business.time.com/2012/02/16/most-people-rarely-or-never-go-to-the-movies-nowadays/

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