THE MOVIE-GOING EXPERIENCE
An Editorial Message from Movietimes.com
Back in 1980, my dad bought a Betamax machine. I remember this monster living below the television on a cart that practically strained under its enormous weight, and I wasn’t sure exactly what its purpose was. Then my dad brought out these little boxes that you would put into the machine. You would press a button, and a movie would start playing. When the movie was over, you would press another button, and after a few minutes, if you pressed another button, the movie would start playing again! I was amazed. Yet, that’s the last time I can remember begin amazed by watching a movie at home.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about how the rise of DVD and streaming films with be the death of going to the movies (record box office be damned). While I can’t argue with the convenience and relative quiet of seeing a movie in the comfort of my own home, I don’t see a trip to the theater going the way of the dinosaur anytime soon. The reason is simple: going to the movies is an experience, and not just in a “shared experience with the audience” kind of way. Like a great song or a picture, going to a movie can leave you with memories that take you back to a specific time and place.
If you think back, you can probably remember at least one memorable trip to a movie theater. It could have been the movie you were seeing, it could have been the person you went with, it could have been connected to a major event in your life. I have a bunch, but the one that stands out to me happened in 1983. I was nine years old, my best friend was 7. We were both huge Star Wars fans, and couldn’t wait for Return Of The Jedi. We were also getting older, and felt we were incredibly mature. We wanted to go see this movie by ourselves, and whether it was because they trusted us, or because they didn’t want to see they movie themselves, our moms agreed. The movie was playing at a local mall, so my friend’s mom dropped us off there, gave us money, and told us to call her when the movie was over (may I remind you again that this was 1983). We purchased our tickets, then got in line…four hours before the movie started. We were the fourth and fifth people in line. At first, we talked to each other about, what else, Star Wars. As the line began to fill up, we started talking to people around us. We spent our entire time in line talking about nothing but Start Wars with people two or three times older than us. We analyzed the films, hypothesized what would happen in Return Of The Jedi, and pretty much just geeked out the whole time. As great as the movie was, it was the camaraderie and my new found sense of maturity that really made that day magical.
And that’s what makes a trip to the cinema great. Yes, you’re going to see a movie. It might be good, it might be bad, but there is always the chance that the trip itself could be something special. And forever, that movie will be attached to a memory, so that whenever you see the movie on TV or DVD or on your computer, you’ll be taken back in time, and the memories of that trip will become just as important as the movie might have been. So get out to the movie theater, because there are memories waiting to be had that you just can’t find in your living room.