Movie Musings

At the Theater – Movie Musings

I really am trying to get back to blogging regularly. I’m hoping to start a couple of semi-regular features, one of which will be about (DUH!) movies. Can’t promise this will happen every week, but I’m hoping for at least twice a month, and more regularly if possible.

So where to start for my first Monday Movie Musings? (BTW, if you have a more clever title, I’m all ears.) Seems like the logical place to start would be: Why movies? And why at the theater?

If you’ve known me for any time at all, you know that I love movies, and you know that I go to the movie theater often. It is my “everyday” happy place. (My ultimate happy place is Walt Disney World, but that is much less practical from both a financial and distance perspective.) We go often enough that we have the “unlimited” monthly deal with our closest movie theater. Is it worth it? Well, over the course of a year, we typically at least break even, and we usually come out ahead.

“But why?” people ask me all the time. “Why go to the theater?” And I understand. They’re not always the cleanest (sticky shoes, anyone?), you can’t control the temperature (take a jacket, especially in the summer!), there are other people (and all that entails; talking, crinkling wrappers, kicking the back of your seat (hopefully) unintentionally), the snacks are expensive (honestly, we just don’t buy them very often), and you can’t pause the movie to use the bathroom (there are actually entire websites devoted to telling you the best times for a potty break!). With the quality of modern televisions and sound systems, plus streaming that can give you (allegedly) any movie at any moment on your own schedule, WHY would you voluntarily subject yourself to all of that?

Because being completely enveloped in an immersive environment devoted to nothing except transporting you to some other place and time for a couple of hours is magical. The literally “larger than life” images and sounds block out everything else. You can escape the world in a way that is nearly impossible at home. The flickering images can take you to real places that you may never have the opportunity to see, or to imaginary places that exist no where else except in that darkened room. That bone-deep rumble coming through the speakers and up through the floor thrills you in ways you aren’t usually even aware of. If you have the money and the space, you *might* be able to get close to that, but for the typical household of even a large television and a surround sound system, you’re still missing the way that the cinema fully envelopes and cocoons you into its imaginary world.

But also, it’s because we’re human. Group storytelling is part of our evolution. It’s been part of the human experience since cavemen gathered around the fire in the evenings to entertain each other with tales of their hunts, be they exciting, sad, or funny. There have been plays and pantomimes going back to ancient times. Performance venues have been among the first public construction projects in villages and towns for millennia. We crave that connection and that bonding experience. It gives us cultural touchstones and common experiences through which we can relate to others, both through the stories themselves and by discussing them later with people with whom we may have nothing else in common. And that is magic in itself.

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