photo by personalcreations
Today let’s take a break from food and talk about one of my great loves: movies. Not just movies in general, but specifically the act of going to the movie theater, which for me is a night and day experience to watching anything at home. Now, I can understand the impulse to stay in and rent something (or binge watch a new TV show); it can be hard to make the case for going out when ticket prices have doubled; popcorn, candy, and a coke cost as much as dinner out; and audiences now check their phones or text during the show. It’s maddening, especially the phone usage. People who use their phones during a movie (other than in the case of an emergency, obviously) make me see red.
But even considering every comfort home could offer, to me there’s nothing that can match the experience of going to the movies. In the theater you can’t multi-task, can’t pause it to change the laundry, or scroll through Instagram — all things that take you right out of the experience. Being in the theater means committing. Being in the dark, eyes on the big screen, with nowhere else to go but on the ride of the story. For someone like me, with a busy mind and a busy body, a theater is the only way to truly watch anything with full-attention.
My parents started taking my brother and me to the movies when we were very young–and not just to family-friendly Mrs. Doubtfire and Free Willy, but everything. The older I got, the more I loved going. Some families would go to church every Sunday, but our sanctuary was the Regal Cinema in Bellingham. So it made sense that after my dad died, my mom and I both took seats in one of the 14 theaters there, and found an escape watching movies. Like just about everyone in 1997, we became obsessed with Titanic, and saw it dozens of times that year. But it took on a special significance for us, almost as this 3-hour respite from the grief, or maybe just a place to cry. It was strangely healing for such a heartbreaking time. I haven’t seen Titanic again since I saw it with my mom back in early 1998. I don’t know that I will, not because I don’t want to, but because I’m scared it’ll change the memory I have of that time with my mom.
When I first met Daniel in 2003, he wasn’t the movie lover he is now. I remember him saying that he liked to watch bad movies to laugh at them. I was stumped by that. Who liked bad movies? But over the years, maybe through the film classes we took, maybe through me rubbing off on him (wouldn’t I love to give myself that credit), maybe just through growing up, he came around, loving them easily as much as I did. Today he has this enviable, almost encyclopedic knowledge of film, and our shared movie love is one of my favorite parts of our relationship. What I love even more than that? If Daniel is ever home in Massachusetts anywhere near my mom (are you in Massachusetts? She will find you), they’ll go to the movies together.
Do you still enjoy going to the movies? What was the first movie you saw in the theater?