It’s been years since I’ve been to a first-run movie theater. You know, the kind where you save for weeks, get a sitter, wait in line with your home-computer printed tickets and your $30-worth of snacks that could arguably feed and saturate Rhode Island?
I can sense you are rolling your eyes.
Go right ahead and roll ‘em whilst I complain about something that a majority of planetary humans (including myself) find enjoyable — "the movies."
There we were, on a Saturday evening, herded into a line that snaked around the lobby of the multiplex like an errant garden hose, waiting to see James Cameron’s Avatar in 3-D.
It was my husband’s turn to choose the movie.
I, after all, made the final decision for "Up in the Air" at the $6 per-ticket theater as a Valentine’s Day treat. Now, while I would argue Jason Reitman’s comedy drama offered a far better (albeit depressing) story for less than half the price of Cameron’s predictable, epic sci-fi adventure, it wasn’t what anyone could rightly call romantic.
I know you probably don’t believe me right now, but I really do hate to complain about things I love.
And I love seeing movies in movie theaters. I love sitting next to people I don’t know and having a shared experience without ever having to speak. I love the hours of chat it can provide later, should the movie prove either interesting or insipid. I really do.
And yet I know why it takes a production going totally over the top to get us out from behind the small screens in our own isolated little lives.
Even without the excuse of children and limited leisure time, "dinner and a movie" is so far from being an affordable night of entertainment that even the phrase "Dinner and a Movie" should have already become a relic of a bygone era.
Now that a person pays the equivalent of two days’ worth of groceries for snacks and drinks, and is then held captive by advertisements we’ve successfully (thanks to TiVO and DVR) eradicated from our small screen lives, the movie experience doesn’t hold the same appeal.
Nothing short of epic will cajole us out of our cocoons.
I would not have dragged myself from the house if it weren’t for the nine-foot-tall blue creatures sticking it to the imperialist marauders, and the optical illusion that the miraculous mayhem was all happening from the seats next to me … for that one can be sure.
And yet, as I sat there in the packed house, seemingly a part of the movie itself, all I wanted to do was take off the stupid glasses and just watch.
It wasn’t just that the offending set of specs were at once slipping off my face AND digging into my head, but they seemed to act as a barrier between me and the film.
Sure, I supposed it was cool for a minute that it felt as if *spoiler alert* the ashes from the devastated world were floating over my head and into my hair, but after a short while the scenes just played out like expensive parlor tricks. My own imagination was obsolete.
As we were leaving the theater there was only silence between us.
"You hated it didn’t you?"
"I didn’t hate it. … I just think of it as an epic music video. After a while it’s not really that special it’s just three hours of special effects."
My husband, poor guy, just wanted to see the widgets and gizmos and watch the technical marvels, and NOT think about real life for a while.
"There’s nothing wrong with that."