“In my view, the only way to see a film remains the way the filmmaker intended: inside a large movie theater with great sound and pristine picture.”-Ridley Scott
I apologize. I don’t mean to start with such a pretentious quote. I apologize for starting with a quote at all, like this is a fucking research paper or something, but if I’ve learned anything in my years it’s that when you start a piece or writing with a nice, italicized quote it makes it look like something that was written by someone who knows what they are talking about. (Which this of course, is not.)
I don’t know if I totally agree with this quote in 2020. Nowadays, people own 65-inch smart TVs hooked up to sound bars with access to their 19 different subscription services. Many people find that a perfectly fine way to view a film. However, I do believe the best way, the most immersive way, and my favorite way to see a film is in a theater.
I want to point out that I am aware that several times in this blog that I am going to sound completely silly, slightly pretentious, and overdramatic about the importance of movie theaters. But I fucking love going to the movie theater.
Let me first explore the anti-movie theater argument that exists in 2020. Many people I know do not share the same enjoyment of, and, praise for the movie going experience that I have. As home entertainment options continue to grow, more and more people find the idea of going to a movie theater trivial or unnecessary. I like to call these people, The Wrong People. That argument mainly focuses on smaller, more contained films though, which don’t have the same, “need to see it on a big screen” appeal as some of the bigger more expensive blockbusters do. In fact, there have even been ideas for home-movie streaming services that would allow people to watch movies at home as soon as they are theatrically released. I hate that. Get off your couch you lazy fucks, there’s an obesity epidemic in this country. I’m aware I’m probably on the losing side here. I understand that as technological advancements continue to shift the way we consume content, the act of—driving to a building, paying $15+ for a ticket, needing to be granted access into a room by that $15 ticket either being scanned or ripped by a shitty 16 year old or a grumpy 83 year old (those are literally the only two options) then sitting in a large dark room with a bunch of strangers, and staring at big screen for 90-180+ minutes—is going to become more and more obsolete and outdated.
The first reason I still believe movie theaters are important is because I believe, no matter what the film is, the movie theater is a more immersive, and overall better way to experience it. I don’t feel I need to make the case for movies such as Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum as with these films the argument is much more apparent. Obviously, these movies are going to be more impressive and enjoyable on big screens with great sound. But I also believe my statement about theaters to be true for all films, including smaller films, quieter films, and dialogue-driven films. While I stated earlier that many people today own large 65+ inch televisions and things of that nature, I do still believe people, especially young people, who are more anti-movie theater tend to watch things primarily on smaller TV screens, or, and perhaps more realistically, laptops, tablets, and phones. Also, there is the simple argument to be made that at home the movie you are watching is without a doubt not getting your full attention like it would in a theater. This is not the fault of the viewer necessarily, but if you are watching a movie at home you have your phone with you, your laptop perhaps with you, you may live with people who can cause a distraction as well. All of these things limit one’s ability to become truly immersed into the world that the filmmaker has created on screen in the same way you can in a movie theater. It’s harder to focus on what is happening on screen while you’re swiping through bumble, listening to your roommate and his girlfriend fight in the next room, and preheating the oven for your disappointing dinner of DiGiorno pizza and 8 Natural Light’s.
Also, one of the more ironic, but great things about movie theaters is that in today’s world one of the few places left you can go to really unplug and get away from everything is a place whose main commodity is giants screens for you to go and stare it. They are one of the few places left in society where checking your phone is actually universally discouraged, and I fucking love that. (Side note if you go on your phone in a theater I’m in I will be instantly filled with a irrational, yet strong hatred towards you) (Side-side note the funny thing about phones in theaters is you think it would be young people but it’s ALWAYS an elderly woman who has no idea how to turn her brightness down.)
Lastly, and I’ve saved this for last because it’s going to be one of the more ridiculous/hottest takes I’ve ever written, but: Movie theaters are basically the same as going to church except actually entertaining and minus all the parts that suck. Movie theaters are a place where crowds of people go and sit to feel emotions, learn something, support or praise something, and have a shared experience as a group. However, the stories told in movie theaters are actually entertaining, and unless the movie is based on a true story you don’t have to deal with a bunch of people in the audience thinking what they are seeing or hearing actually happened. (I have no idea if this argument is valid seeing that I’ve been to the movie theater hundreds of times over the last few years but couldn’t tell you when the last time I went to church was. You can draw your own conclusions for that.)
In closing I want to say that it’s 2020 and I still go to the movie theater many, many times in a given month. Depending on the time of year it could be 3-4 times a week. Am I broke and does it sometimes make no financial sense to do so? Yes. Do I often worry about how I don’t have any real hobbies? Yes. Should I probably get some? Yes. But we’re getting off topic. I know there are many anti-movie theater people in today’s world who only go maximum 5 times a year. I also know that there isn’t much I can say to convince them to come to the side of believing that movie theaters are still important, the best way to see a film, and worth spending the money and that’s okay. Mostly because they’ve started putting bars in movie theaters now so we win. Cheers.