I've seen three movies in the theater this week. I love seeing movies in the theater. I can't believe people actually thought that, with the advent of the VCR, people would stop going. Some films absolutely must be seen on the big screen, in total darkness, with booming sound and vivid picture and uncomfortable armrests and people talking and sticky floors and people making out and the smell of fake butter on the popcorn. Okay, not all of those things are positive. But they're all part of the experience, an experience I embrace and adore.

I once had a conversation with an actor friend and movie buff about going to the movies. (I'm sure he doesn't recall the conversation. I'm not even sure if he remembers who I am. Nevertheless.) I can't remember the exact film we were discussing, but he was recommending it to me and I was telling him I hadn't seen it because I didn't want to go by myself. I was much younger at the time, and opined that movies weren't any fun if you didn't have someone to go with. On the contrary, he said, some of the best movie-going experiences of his life were solo efforts. I still thought it was weird.

I don't now. Since I work so many nights, I often have time to catch an early showing of a movie before heading to work in the evening. There are lots of benefits to this: an empty theater, cheaper tickets, the feeling that I'm doing something useful with my day instead of lazing around the house doing nothing or clicking the Stumble button on my web browser until my eyes hurt. Anyway, I don't care how lame it makes me look.

Watching a movie by myself means I don't have to worry about whether my date is having a good time (or what she's thinking about me, or whether I should try to lift the armrest and cuddle with her -- don't even play like you don't think about that). It means I don't have to talk to my buddies about how awesome that scene was (although sometimes that's fun too). It means I don't have to recite each actor's entire IMDB filmography by reflex. (I can't help it. I know it's annoying, but I seriously can't stop myself.)

It means I can enjoy the film, envelop myself in the story being told, and I can allow my thoughts to bounce around the inside of my own noggin and not worry about explaining them or sharing them or arguing about them with someone else who might not have my same taste or feelings. (And there are very, very few people who have my same taste or feelings.)

There was a brief time in my early college career when I considered studying film rather than journalism. I took the Intro to Film class, and while I barely paid attention in lecture (although I remember liking the professor, an older man with a Ben Stein-like voice and equally dry wit), and rarely prepared for lab, I loved the deconstructive process involved. My TA for the lab section (whose name I've long since forgotten) had such a passion for good cinema, and I have since discovered and seen many films on my own that I remember her telling me about. And I loved going to the tiny theater classroom in one of the science buildings on campus to watch required screenings of classic films, most of which I haven't seen a second time but have stayed with me nonetheless.

Eventually, my practical nature reasserted control over this secretly romantic and artistic Layton lurking beneath the surface of me, and I realized I could never make a living with a film degree and stuck to the journalism. (Mind you, considering the present state of the journalism industry, that reasoning seems less reasonable in retrospect.) In any case, it's probably better than I remain a committed movie lover and fan, rather than a participant, in the same way that I think I prefer to remain an amateur musician and music appreciator rather than a professional performer.

Still. There's a part of me that continues to catalog song choices ("That song would make for a great moment like this") and consider camera angles and lines of dialogue and character interactions in a sort of non-committal yearning way. Not that I actually have an idea or concept, or have ever done anything like write a single page of a script or treatment or storyboard or anything like unto it. Because I don't, and probably never could or would or will.


Maybe someday.

2 Response to cinema.

  1. Eliza says:

    You should talk to my roommate, Rachel, she loves movies.

    I see no shame in going to a movie by yourself. I love going to restaurants by myself. A table for one is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening. After all, how could I find a better date than myself. ;)

    Oh and by the way, unless you're already touching the girl (holding her hand or have her arm around her) don't lift the arm rest. What you do is sit down where the arm rest is already up then if she puts it down leave it down. Now if the arm rest is already down then you grab her hand or put your arm around her and then when the moment is right just ask her if she would like it up. Chances are it's bothering her just as much and this shows her know that you are worried about her comfort (even if it is for selfish reasons).

  2. Eliza says:

    I mean your arm around her not her arm around her. Sorry!