The lights die as a shroud of silence envelops the theatre; little glowing 2×2-inch screens pop up among the crowd and there are a few embarrassed beepings as people frantically silence their cell phones. There’s the obnoxious rustling of paper bags and melodramatic chomping as the less eloquent of us hiss “shut up!” and “it’s starting!” Then in a climactic gulp of air, all the hearts in the room skip a beat – perfectly in sync – as the first scene starts to play.
I believe movie-going is a lifestyle, worth more than the customary “I don’t have the money to spare”. There’s something captivating about viewing a simulated story in a blackened space filled with strangers – something personal, something intimate. Every lung gasps in simultaneous awe as the T-rex devours the man in the bathroom stall; every eye sheds a reluctant tear as Jack Dawson bids Rose, “Never let go…” then proceeds to sink to the icy depths of the Atlantic. Smiles all around as Napoleon Dynamite clumps about the stage to Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat”, and enthusiastic cheering as Spiderman saves the day yet again: Everyone in the theatre is connected in a most instinctual sense. People you’ve never met before become you, as you become them.
Going to see movies is a valuable experience whether or not you enjoy it. No matter how agonizing it is to fork up the $8.75, no matter how much you sigh at the prospect of being dragged to another Saw, no matter how hard you must scratch your head in puzzlement at the end of a Shyamalan film: Go. Go see the latest Pixar flick, and tomorrow, go see whatever gore-fest that’s being served up. Bring a friend to a movie you know will be awful and get thrown out for laughing too loudly. Get caught sneaking into a Restricted. Open your mind to the undiscovered worlds within movies, and don’t be afraid to escape reality – don’t worry, everyone else is too.
Yes, I believe movie-going is a lifestyle – the best lifestyle, and one which I make my own.
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