I used to work at a movie cinema for 6 years. I loved my job – serving thousands of customers, cleaning cinemas, training staff and making friends. It was a behind the scenes view into a place that for many see as a treat. I wanted that job for a really long time. I remembered being a kid and that experience of going to the movies being so exciting and something to look forward to. The experience of such anticipation and the smells of popcorn associated fill your senses as you get to get to enjoy something new.
In a world where content is just pushed out and saturated in the concept of movie franchises, there is so much film content to devour. Even the concept of home entertainment has changed, from going to borrowing videos and DVD’s from rental stores to being able to pay a monthly payment for as many films and TV shows possible of various platforms.
So why even go to the movies anymore?
The comfort of our own homes, we can sit in a blank entranced stare and consume whatever we want, whenever we want. The idea of a film spectacle has now only become glorified for franchise events such as Star Wars, Marvel movies and popular literature-turned-film, fanatic crazes such as Fifty Shades of Grey or Harry Potter.
Over the past few months, I’ve made an effort to try and go to as many films as possible and get an array of different viewing experiences. I saw three films with very different experiences.
Spider-man: Far From Home
As a Spider-man nerd, I was very excited for this film. I went alone (as I usually do) and as I was definitely involved in the film, I was able to look around me and notice my surroundings. I was in a recliner theatre, with popcorn and a drink of Pepsi that could fill three bladders, and I sat in a very close-to-the-screen seat as there was a lot of groups of people all talking. Films like this are very social events with a massive cult following. With a franchise with over 20 films in the same universe, it is like the format and frequency of how comic books are consumed is now on par with how these films are received by audiences. Not to mention – hype. Hype is a massive reason why films like this carry so much cultural weight. I know plenty of people with absolutely no clue about the ins and outs of these characters, however can still engage with it on some level – mostly because of the social significance.
Toy Story 4
I saw this with a friend in a cinema I had never been to before. The cinema looked older and was very dank as you entered. I looked around at the people around me and realised – there isn’t a single child here. For a film that is aimed towards a young audience with such vibrancy and young humour, it was filled with nostalgic teens and adults who grew up with nostalgia for these characters. Personally – I was moved and grabbed by the film. I believe a lot of it was because of nostalgia, and that experience of watching this in a cinema and remembering when I first saw the original films was an absolutely wonderful experience. It reminded me of that joyous feeling I had when I first fell in love with the movie going experience.
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
I went to this alone in a cinema in Newtown. I don’t have a lot of friends who would be interested in a Tarantino films, hence why I went out of my way to go to one of my favourite cinemas. I used to go there with my mum growing up, we would go to the Italian restaurant next door beforehand and go see an indie film that would leave us both in a state of “WTF?”. The movie was great – the cinema wasn’t even perfect; a very small screen, I was seated towards the middle in a very long shaped cinema, however, this totally went away as I was completely in the movie. It wasn’t busy, however all those in there were quiet and I was able to just be immersed.
It’s these experiences you just don’t have alone at home. Sometimes a movie at home with a friend, girlfriend, boyfriend or family can be really nice and cosy. However, the cinema is a place where you can completely soak up and experience something so vivid subconsciously. I can remember times I went to the movies many years ago, and if I think hard enough I can remember things like the first time I held a girls hand, the first time I cried in a film, the first time I was truely terrified by a film. There is something so unique about going to a place, seeing a movie that is new and engaging with a story that is an isolated escape from the life we live. Regardless of a good film or a bad film, there is so much more to that experience. Next time you go, think about it and look around. You’ll see so much more.