Fact: Some of my best experiences as a kid were in movie theaters. I remember the summer of 1988, when my Dad and I took a chance and watched a movie that stared an actor who just left a popular television show. The show was a comedy, and the actor had never carried, hell, been in an action film. The movie also was a risky watch, because it promised a different kind of action film: the hero was supposed to be more human and vulnerable than action heroes in the past. Well…that movie was “Die Hard”, and the lead was played by Bruce Willis (when he had hair!) I mentioned my “Die Hard” experience because it was just that. We (the audience) did not know what to expect when we watched this film with so many wildcard elements. We screamed when John McClane (Willis) had to pick glass out of his feet. We howled with laughter at his banter with inept cops and feds. We cheered (and cried) when McClane finally got to hug the policeman who’d been helping him throughout that night via walkie talkie. That “Die Hard” screening was a roller coaster ride of emotion. And it was incredible.
That wasn’t the only multiplex moment I’ve been around. “Rocky IV” in 1985 was a rock concert. “ET” in 1982 was the first time I saw adults cry with their kids. If you think I’ve been too nostalgic, just last year, when I saw “The Avengers”, grown men (including me) were high fiving and belly slapping while the movie was still playing.
The reason for writing the first two paragraphs are simple. Movie theaters can rock. I know that in the
last few years, flat-screen televisions at home have been the way to go. And they are awesome for
sports events (and video games). And, movies do look great on them. But, movies, films, and
documentaries that are made for the sliver screen just work better (for me)on the sliver screen.
The best , and most obvious reason I still love a weekend at the Talkies is the communal experience.
As I said, when I saw “The Avengers” last summer, I knew that my screening was going to be attended
by A. fellow long time geeks, B. younger people, and C. the average populace, who just wanted to
be a part of the event that was “The Avengers”. And an event it was. Cheers. Thunderous applause.
Loud laughter. And that killer line by Captain America to the Hulk that nearly had the audience
(including me) rip the roof off the theater. For two hours, a group of strangers were rooted by a
knockout movie. For two hours, we were as raucous (and respectful) as a World Cup crowd. And
that’s something that you can really get at home. (With the possible exception of a Super Bowl)
One other reason I like movie-going over watching the tube is…that big screen. There’s a majesty
to a movie screen. Things seem larger than life on a movie screen. Actors and actresses look like
titans on a movie screen. Nearly everything can look epic on a film screen. At home, if you buy
a really big television, you could get the same effect. You would also probably need a second job
to pay off that big T.V. “Lawrence Of Arabia” is a great looking movie on your flat-screen.
It’s breathtaking on the silver screen.
I’ve heard that some cable television providers may offer first run movies for their subscribers. That’s
cool. For other people. Me, I’m going to the multiplex to see “Man Of Steel”…on opening night.