Going to the movies in New York takes time, money, and effort, so why make the trek all the way to the theater? You can just curl up with your laptop and have the exact same experience, right? Wrong. Alex Avvocato, lover of movie magic, makes a case for getting your lazy butt out of bed and going to the movies.
I love Netflix. Netflix is your best friend in times of need (read: that night you don’t go out because “you have that midterm paper to work on”). It makes you feel like you’re not really alone, curled up with maple peanut butter and forgotten research articles lost somewhere under the pillows. Hulu is a great runner-up, too, and HBO GO yet another option for the discerning online-TV watcher. Whatever your chosen provider, the tradition of TV/movies on your lap is a time-honored one that speaks volumes to our shared values as Columbians. We sit in our rooms and watch Game of Thrones, not having to speak a word to another person for at least 44 minutes.
What that little red loading screen has made us forget is that the art of staring at a screen was originally a communal experience, shared with your friends, family, and whatever other scary people frequented your local movie theater, like these:
Watching a movie was a trial, a series of obstacles to be traversed until you could settle down and tune out. Remember when you *couldn’t* lie down for the entire duration of a movie, when there were chairs for that sort of thing (and you had to silently battle with your neighbor for possession of the armrest)? Remember when most of the snacks you carried were the sticky bits of popcorn collected under your shoe? Remember when every time you had to pee, you actually missed part of the movie and your friend had to loudly whisper the missed plot to you, garnering angry hushes and the occasional thrown Bunch-a-Crunch? Come to think of it, remember Bunch-a-Crunch? And cookie dough bites? When is the last time you paid nine dollars for 13 gummy bears? Let your lame suburban childhood come rushing back with that first whiff of chemical popcorn butter.
Procrastinating in the presence of others also provides multiple forms of entertainment. Depending on your position in the movie theater, you’re either witness to a coat-covered moment of passion, or are in the middle of one. Maybe multiple, if you’re seeing Prometheus, anything starring Miley Cyrus, or a penguin documentary. You’ll at least catch a glimpse of that awkward preteen pair in the lobby on a “date,” looking around them in fear of others observing their awkwardness. And if you’re really lucky, a fight over seat-kicking will break out between a toddler’s mom and several elderly ladies, or you’ll sit next to that person who gasps and whisper-shouts warnings to the doomed character. There’s nothing that compares to a mid-rate cinema in terms of anthropological study sites.
If you’re a true artist, you’ll even have mastered the solitary movie theater experience. This works best in the mid-afternoon with subtitled movies when you are feeling contemplative about your existence. You’ll know you’ve done it right when you have a life-changing conversation on the nature of love with the old man sitting next to you. But if it’s sassy audience commentary you’re after, opt for Twilight or anything with Ryan Gosling in it.
Sure, the current going rate for even the stickiest theater is on its way to $20+ a ticket– but you have a few more years to try and sneak in with the under-12 discount. And what price tag can you put on the experience of being surrounded by
equally awkward people who still haven’t subscribed to Hulu Plus fellow film-lovers? You’re rejecting the ironic/loner/hipster/apathetic/robotic/all of the above culture, and embracing the American dream! Collectively! Being in the moment! The Real Experience!
And it’s all worth it for that moment when a sullen Kristen Stewart walks down the stairs to do something sullen and vampiric and the sassy lady in the front of the theater screams, “SHE. BOUGHT. HER. DRESS. AT. PAYLESS!!!” You’ll be passing off that comment for the next three years as your own.
Just don’t be one of those people who claps at the end of the movie. Those people suck.