by Adam Riske
Focus, Paddington, A Most Violent Year and the above poster for It Follows, which is really fantastic.
9. Arcades – I have not kept up with video games. I’m a Sega Genesis and old school Nintendo man myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to tear shit up at the movie theater arcade. In fact, this might be the only place (besides the once-a-year stop to Gameworks or Dave & Busters) where I play video games. It’s a great time waster and I get to shoot aliens with giant machine guns, play basketball and drive cars really fast. What’s not to like? Funny story: I was once with a girlfriend at a movie arcade playing The Fast and the Furious and all of a sudden we both smelled poop. We looked at each other wondering if the other one had just shit their pants (which, in my book, and should be in yours, is a deal breaker). To our relief, we looked over and there was a toddler standing next to the game.
7. Dining In – If you would have asked me a year ago, this would have been on the worst list but I’ve become a fan of the dine-in theater, probably because there’s one that’s a three minute door-to-door walk from my place. That’s always convenient when I either a) don’t want to get in the car to drive to a movie or b) haven’t eaten lunch or dinner yet and want to see something. The food is usually bad and the prices are expensive (for what you are getting) but there’s something about eating pizza in the dark that is just worth trying out. One drawback is the servers who come in during the movie to give you the bill or ask if you need anything. They are often good about finding a slow spot in the movie to do this, but I had a couple of occasions where a server came in during an important moment or during the climax and that was obnoxious.
Interstellar, Furious 7 or Avengers: Age of Ultron than in a theater with a huge screen and ear-pounding sound. You can never replicate that type of experience at home and it makes going to the movies feel like, well, GOING TO THE MOVIES! A couple other bonuses of mega screens is that they usually seat upwards of 300 to 500 people, so there’s room to spread out and avoid sitting in front of or behind other moviegoers and you get to see trailers on a huge screen. I especially like that for IMAX 3D presentations. 3D IMAX trailers are maybe the only time I like 3D because it’s over and done within 2-1/2 minutes, which is just enough time to think the technology is cool before growing tired of it.
5. Trailers – Many people don’t like trailers (spoilers, etc.) and some even avoid them altogether, but I am not one of those people. I like seeing footage as soon as possible. It helps me get excited for a movie. For me, even bad trailers are good trailers because they become memes I can make fun of. For example, I think I saw the trailer for The Hundred-Foot Journey 20 times last summer. I hated it at first but then I slowly began to realize that I could expertly mimic the old man in the trailer who says “I will turn the music down, but I WILL TURN THE HEAT UP!!!!” I now say that at least once a week and it has enriched my life.
3. You’re Out of the House – I love watching movies at home, but a problem I have is I can never decide what to watch so I waste the time I could have watched a movie instead searching for what movie I want to watch. It’s a mindfuck. With movie theaters you are a) leaving the house and b) limiting your choices thus making it easier to make a decision. At home, I have thousands of choices between my DVD and Blu-Ray collections, my Netflix queue, my DVR, cable stations, library rentals etc. and it’s exhausting. It feels like work sometimes or a list of movies I have to get through. With movie theaters, there are often two or three choices I can make each week for what I want to go see so it’s easy to decide. Plus, if I see it in theaters, that’s one less movie I have to plan on watching later at home (unless it’s really good and I buy it, in which case I’m screwed again). It’s a vicious cycle.
2. The experience – This one ties into #6 and #3 a bit, but honestly “going to the movies” is a big part of who I am. It feels weird to admit this, but a movie theater is a big part of my identity. It’s a safe place where I can forget what’s going on in my life for a few hours (not that my life is bad; it’s not) and become invested in the plight of characters on-screen. Going to the movies informs my opinions on topics that I might not have had an opinion on, helps me empathize with others and is a social gathering with friends and family. It’s a quintessential part of life and I would never trade that for anything. There’s only one thing better than this, and that’s…….
Coming next week are the 10 worst things about the movie theater experience. But before that, do you agree with my list? What did I leave out? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!