An Ode to the Cinema

I love going to the movies. I’ve forgotten how much I like it. As I prepare for graduate school and the big cross-country/crossing borders move, I’ve been doing my best to preserve all of the money I make at my summer jobs. With all the preparation it took to set those jobs up and now the mess of getting both schedules to jive together, I’ve been missing the normal time my mom and I put aside to go hole up for hours and multiple afternoons in the cold darkness of our favorite movie theaters.

Movie theater in a theatre.

Movie theater in a theatre. Win.

Thankfully my mom has also noticed the cinema withdrawal and made it a point that we go as a family to see Mud. I would get into discussing the film, but in this case, I just want to appreciate something without dissecting it to bits about why it worked and why it didn’t. It might be a surprise if you know me and my critic tendencies, but it does happen from time to time (especially when I’m burnt out from adjusting to new work schedules). The point of the story is that my parents missed me and it was great to spend time together. And even better to finally get back to the cinema.

With DVR and Netflix, I watch so many movies on smaller screens. Even worse, I watch them in bits and pieces and from parts in the middle before hitting record and looping back to the beginning. This works sometimes and I am so thankful for these new pieces of technology which allow me to access films I would never be able to see. But they take away from the whole experience of actually immersing in a story line and blocking out the rest of the world. Even with my hyper-focus, I find it hard to forget my other tasks and the outside world when I’m watching my computer screen or the family television in the center of the bustling house. I check email and tumblr without second-guessing myself now. I feel like my hands have to always be moving.

There’s also something great about going to the movie theater: the other audience members. Sometimes, this isn’t true. When the couple in front of you decides to use the dark space to pretend they are alone or the dumb teenager won’t turn off his bloody cellphone and it lights up the entire theater. Other times you find yourself laughing harder because the old man behind you chuckles at everything. Combined, it makes the film funnier in ways you couldn’t have expected. Or at least that’s what happened to me. When the trailers were over, my mom turned around and even said to the older couple, “You’re our kind of people.”

In the end, it’s also about spending time with my family or friends that I care about when I go to the movies with them. It’s time away from every other worry to focus on sharing a story, an artistic experience together.

I think it is worth shelling out the extra dough to see the summer blockbusters or indie surprises in the way they were meant to be seen: in the comfy red chairs in the cold, dark cinema.

Theatre red curtains

Red curtains.

Note: I have to designate cinema instead of theater here. I haven’t set foot (YET!) in a theater this summer, but I have been to the movie theater a few times. It’s the theatre nerd in me that needs to designate the difference between the two genres and their spaces.


About austinausten88

Playwright in love with Classic films, afternoon tea, and Noel Coward. She recently graduated from Rice University. In the fall, she will be exchanging her English major undergraduate status for that of Theatre & Performance Studies graduate student.
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