Friday, May 30, 2014

Silence is Golden...

The Facts

He loves going to the movie theater. She prefers watching at home.

His Side

Every movie lover knows that the best way to watch a film is in the theater. Yea, it’s more expensive than renting in Redbox or waiting for it to hit Netflix, but it’s the best way. I’ll even back up my opinion with cold, hard facts. Here we go…

First, the screen is bigger and the sound is better. Some people have huge projectors with a top of the line Bose sound system and comfy chairs at their homes (totally jealous of that, by the way), but I bet only the elite few have the same capabilities of IMAX at their house. Not all films are shot in IMAX these days, but it’s still a fact that your local theater almost assuredly offers better sound and picture than you have at your home. And, for some films (like last year’s “Gravity”), you HAVE TO see it on a big screen because the visuals are so breathtaking.

Secondly, you get to see the film sooner. Waiting for a film to hit Netflix, Redbox, or (worst case scenario) TV is a horrible option. This is especially true for highly anticipated movies that have a lot of buzz. Not only do you miss out on the social media conversations about these films, you also risk hearing or reading spoilers. Someone at work may assume everyone has seen the new Robert Downey Jr. movie since it did 13 billion dollars in the domestic box office it’s opening weekend (in case you don’t know, that’s a ridiculous number even for a film starring Robert Downey Jr.). With that assumption, your co-worker may blurt out something to the guy in the next cubicle over about how you find out at the end that the whole thing was just a dream (the worst twist ever). So, if you wait until the movie comes to a more accessible home media platform, you risk months of that… it’s not worth it.

Thirdly, and most importantly, seeing a film with a crowd is a unique experience you cannot duplicate anywhere other than in a packed theater. Yes, you risk there being some jerks that won’t shut their mouths or their cell phones. You also risk getting the back of your seat kicked or having a smelly person plop down beside you because he doesn’t understand the unspoken rule of leaving at least a seat between you and any person you don’t know personally. The annoying laughter that goes on too long and makes you miss the dialogue after the joke is another risk you run. But, there’s just something about seeing a movie with a crowd… it’s intangible most of the time. Here are two times when seeing a film with a crowd greatly changed the viewing experience.

I was watching “The Is The End” and I found it to be very funny. The cast is great in that film and they are clearly having a good time on camera which translated to me having a great time watching them. Upon a second viewing of the film in my home, I realized it’s a very dumb movie that is rather dull. Seeing this film with a crowd was an enjoyable experience but watching it at home wasn’t. That’s such a strange phenomena to me. But, I guess I thought the film was funny because everyone else was laughing. What that experience says to me, though, is that watching a dull movie with a crowd in a theater can make that dull movie entertaining. That’s powerful.

I’ve seen a lot of movies in theaters and at home, but one moment in a theater watching “Silver Linings Playbook” will stick with me forever. I drove 30 minutes to see this film in theaters. For some reason it only opened in limited theaters but I really wanted to see it, so I made the effort. During the movie (it’s my favorite of 2012 by far), near the end, something happens in the film (which I won’t mention for risk of spoilers) and the entire theater erupted in applause and uproarious laughter simultaneously. It’s not like one person started clapping and the rest of us joined in… it was natural and organic and just thinking about it gives me chills. It’s no secret that films affect us emotionally and this affected a large crowd all at the same time. It was an unreal experience and is something that I love about film.

Going to the theater to see a movie is the best way to see a movie. It’s more expensive and you risk dealing with annoying people, but it’s worth it. On a big screen surrounded by a crowd is the way films are made to be watched and you can have some amazing experiences watching them this way.

Her Side

It’s no secret that my husband is quite fond of movies. I might even go so far as to say that he loves them. If you were to ask him what his idea of a perfect day would be, I’m almost positive it would include movie watching of some type, whether it be at home or in the theater. His preferred method would definitely be to experience a movie in a room that has sticky floors from the superfluous amounts of Icees and soft drinks that have been spilled on it, a room that can accommodate you and your 200 closest friends, and a room that has a screen the size of a building with speakers that encompass your entire being… you guessed it, he loves the movie theater.

This is a subject we differ on greatly. To him, going to the theater to watch a movie is a relaxing experience. To me, it’s just the opposite. Now, I don’t want to make it seem like I’m an antisocial person, but I tend to err on the side of not being social. Although, to be a bit more specific, it’s not that I don’t like being social; it’s that I don’t like the huge crowds. This isn’t because I’ve got a bad case of anthrophobia… people just sometimes annoy me and, for some reason, that annoyance is magnified by an almost infinite amount once I step foot into a movie theater. So, you can call my “issue” what you want, but you know what I’m talking about.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people prove how sparse common sense and manners are these days. If I’ve just paid a small fortune to sit in a movie theater with tons of other people I don’t know, the experience had better be amazing. I don’t take kindly to people imposing on my movie going experience even if it’s not my ideal place to be.

This is where the real problem comes in. Nolan can usually get me to agree quite easily to go see a movie with him (as long as it’s not scary, because he’s learned that they don’t mix well with me). I like to make my hubby happy and accompanying him to see movies is just one of those things that fills up his love bank (something we learned about in our premarital counseling days… uh, 9 months ago…). We sneak our favorite candy in with my large purse that Nolan always makes fun of since it’s comparative to a small piece of luggage (only a slight exaggeration) and then the previews begin. To me, the previews mark the beginning of the movie experience, which also means that you need to shut your mouth and put those pesky cellular devices away. Strangely enough, it seems that the majority of other movie goers do NOT agree with this sentiment.

You can find me sitting there brooding at the fact that the surrounding people are carrying on normal conversations with those they accompanied to the theater. Um, hello… why pay an arm and a leg to have a conversation with your friend if you can have that same conversation for FREE at HOME. I just don’t get it. Nolan oftentimes has to talk me down from reprimanding the people around us for interrupting the previews. Although, let’s be honest, I’m all talk and no action. I would NEVER actually approach anyone in the theater; people these days are crazy!

By this time, as I’m sure you can tell, the movie experience has been anything but relaxing for me… and the feature presentation hasn’t even started yet. Normally, conversations trickle out as popcorn begins to stifle the previous chatter. BUT sometimes, there is that pesky person who thinks their conversation is so much more important than the movie or they can’t risk putting down their phone for fear of missing an ever so important Facebook notification. If you’re a lucky one and the people around you get the hint that a movie is starting, awesome! But let me introduce you to the next annoyance… the person who doesn’t understand how to keep it down appropriately. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a theater, attempting to watch a comedy (we all know these are the best choices) and there is that ONE person that thinks the movie is far more hilarious than it actually is… even when it’s a ridiculously funny one. Yep, they decide to do the hyena laugh and turn the experience into something reminiscent of the olden days of silent films for you. There is such a thing as a courtesy laugh - it’s short and relatively quiet. And, even if you haven’t mastered the art of said courtesy laugh, the fact that everyone is silent around you should be a good indication that you need to cut it out. Can I get an “amen”?

Since I’ve been burned quite a few times at the movie theater, I’ve come to expect the worst out of these situations. With pretty low expectations, things can’t get any worse than what I’ve prepared myself for. This means that I’m sometimes pleasantly surprised by the common sense and manners folks display and am left enjoying the whole movie going experience… that is unless Nolan has picked out a horrible movie that leaves me begging for the two hours I just spent in the theater back (but we all know he’s such a great judge of movies, so that NEVER happens!).

Nolan is slowly learning that movies aren’t my idea of relaxation and I’m realizing more and more just how relaxing they are to him. The fact that we can meet in the middle on something we both have strong and polarizing opinions about is a true testament to our relationship. Filling up each other’s love bank is what we’re all about. After all… who doesn’t love a full bank?!

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