I love movies. I used to love seeing movies in movie theatres.
I’m not sure when, exactly, my love of movie theatres turned to extreme dislike. I think it was about the time that I started getting ticked off by the general public.
As a rule, I don’t like people. An individual person, I don’t mind. Even two or three, I can handle… but people in a group, or worse, a crowd? Not so much. I really don’t do the throng thing outside of religious events, and even then I don’t really care all that much for the jostling.
People, or rather my antipathy towards the great unwashed, ruined the movie theatre experience for me.
People whispering, people talking loudly as if the movie theatre was their own living room, people walking around and blocking the screen… I couldn’t take it anymore.
And the line-ups! Standing in line to buy a ticket. Standing in line for a popcorn and Coke. Standing in line at the bathroom. It felt like I was going to break out in a cold sweat.
There were a few nice things about movie theatres. Air conditioning. That was nice. Also, the wide-screen was really big and if the scene was shot just right, you were able to get that queasy feeling in your stomach like on a roller coaster. For example, watching Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back at the University Theatre in Toronto, when the rebel base scout ships flew out in the morning to see if Luke and Han Solo were ok, the way they swooped up and down over the snow-covered hills… and you saw the landscape from the pilot’s point of view… I could feel my stomach do flip-flops. That was cool.
Other than that, there’s not a heck of a lot I miss about the big screen experience, except the big screen. The garbage you have to go through in order to experience it is, for me, not worth the effort. The sticky floors alone are enough of a turn-off.
Two things sank the last nail into the cinema coffin for me. The VHS tape and cell phones. Watching videos at home, albeit on a small screen, was a vastly more comfortable and less irritating experience all around. And if anyone has ever heard a cell phone go off in a movie theatre only to have the recipient take the call and carry on a conversation, often giving the caller a play-by-play description of the film… no other case need be made for watching movies on DVD in the comfort of your own home.
So, I will buy a big bottle of Diet Coke, fire up some Orville Redenbacher Original Gourmet Popping Corn (I don’t own a microwave), curl up in my comfy wingback armchair… and sigh happily as the movie begins.