Let’s Go to the Movies

21 11 2007

Last night one of the other interns, Ang, and I went to see Lions for Lambs.

As we were sitting in the theatre chatting before the movie, Ang suggested that I write a blog about the experience of going to the movies. I loved the idea. As anyone who knows me or reads this blog consistantly will tell you, I adore movies. Given the opportunity I would spend most of my paychecks at the theatre. Some people don’t like movies as a ‘date’ thing or a ‘social’ thing because you don’t really talk to one another. I disagree. A movie seen together is one of the best experiences possible, as I shall attempt to show you in what follows.

For most people, the decision to go and see a movie results from one of three things; boredom, interest in a specific film or pure desperation as one seeks to find somewhere to go on a date. Each motivation results in a seperate movie exprience so I will break down the discussion in order to address all.

Movie experiences that are motivated by the ‘we’ve nothing better to do’ mentality.

We’ve all been there. It’s a lazy Saturday morning or a slow Friday night. You’re sitting around probably staring at friends or family while aimlessly fiddling with a pencil. The paper is spread out in front of you and the Entertainment section catches your eye. Suddenly inspired, you sit up a little and suggest (with just the right amount of boredom in your tone) that “we might go to the movies”. You see everyone’s ears perk up briefly so you push on, “I’ve heard that _____ is good.” Someone else is bound to object and the dance of movie genres begins. Action vs Comedy, Indi vs Blockbuster. After a period of time (differing depending on how many people are there and how cranky they are) something is decided on. You scan the movie times and realize that you have to get to the theatre in 20 minutes or wait another two hours.

At the news everyone jumps out of their seats and scampers. If they’re teenagers, half of them get on their cell-phones to let their parents/other friends know and the other half are wildly looking for their purses/wallets/keys/brains. If you’re with family it’s a fist fight to get to the sinks and brush your teeth. Your dad is tapping his foot (he’d already brushed his teeth and is fully dressed) while you hunt for your jeans.

Eventually everyone gets out the door. The rush to do so has energized tired bodies and shot some adrenaline into indolent systems. The car ride is bound to be loud and the driving erratic.

Once at the movie theatre you argue about where to sit and jockey to sit by the person you want to be by. (No-one wants to sit next to the mouth breather or the stranger with the dred-hawk.)

People settle in, though, and enjoy the movie. Whispering probably occurs and angry stares from fellow patrons are a given.

The car ride home is even louder as people argue about the relative worth of the movie. Everyone, though, is glad to have gotten out of the house and done something.

The ‘interest in a specific film’ motivation.

This one usually only applies to people who are movie people or who have a special love of a particular genre. Ie, Jake loves Indiana Jones and couldn’t be kept away with wild horses while Jeremy goes in for comic-book movies. I like special effects films in particular and am able to enjoy plotless visual extravaganzas with utter abandon. (Indeed, I become frustrated when people want to debate about VE movies like they were art or political commentaries. Just enjoy the ridiculous amount of money spent on explosions and leave higher ideals out of it!) 

With this sort of experience the most important factor is company. I once sat next to Ashley Lewis while watching Matrix Revolution. I was thrilled because the visual effects were incredible. Ashley, who has slightly higher ideals and much better taste, didn’t stop mocking it the whole time. I think I finally threatened her with viscious pummeling if she didn’t shut up.

You simply cannot see a movie that you are really interested in with people who are half-hearted or who dislike the genre. If you wonder why you never seem to enjoy movies as much as you would like, take careful stock of the company you keep. It makes more of a difference than you would think.

The goal is to find someone who is interested and has similar taste/emotional investment as you. That way, when it is over, you are able to discuss the movie ad infinitum without being bored or frustrated. If the movie stinks, you can rant together and if it was lovely you can sit in perfect mutual silence while the credits role.

—For those of you who, at this point, think that I am WAY too into this I suggest YOU write a blog about something you are passionate about and see if you can keep it under 500 words.—

And finally, the ever-present date movie.

I actually think that movies are a good idea for dates. (Keep in mind I have limited experience with dating; VERY limited.) It’s a casual atmosphere where you are freely given multiple topics of conversation. Infinitly preferable to sitting in a fancy restaurant where the only things to talk about are white tablecloths and snooty waiters. Places like those leave people grasping for conversation and feeling awkward. There is nothing awkward about movie theatres.

Picking a movie is, in itself, a task. Sometimes it’s fun- you might both know that you want to see a particular movie. And sometimes you have to do the dance of ceding to the other person’s wishes when they are trying to defer to yours. If the guy is worth his salt he’ll let the girl pick and if the girl is even halfway decent she WON’T pick a romantic comedy. (Gag me with a spoon!)  Best case scenario there’s something not too bloody but not too mushy that is mutually enjoyable. Kids movies are good for that. Sometimes it’s even more fun to go to a kids movie or a bad movie just for the joy of making fun of it.  

Before the movie you get to buy snacks (which will probably be shared which is always good bonding) and lament the unavailibility of Raisinets and Goobers. You learn basic things like soda preference and salty vs bland popcorn. (Very important to movie people!)

Once in the theatre, another dance ensues. You don’t want to sit in the very front, too uncomfy, and suggesting the back row gives the wrong impression. Do you sit middle-close or middle-back or middle-middle?!

As you wait for the movie to start you can talk about the piped-in music, the ads on the screen or the other patrons. Awkward pauses are almost unheard-of in these situations.

Previews give you more information about the person next to you than you might believe possible. If you both freak out and get really excited about the same movie it’s a really good indication. If he practically applauds at the upcoming J-Lo or Celebutante movie you can pretty much end the relationship right there. If she  sounds genuinely thrilled with an upcoming Rocky installment, you might as well get on one knee and propose. That girl is rare and should be held on to.

The movie itself can be pretty much discarded. If you want to remember it you’ll have to go back and see it again. You’ll probably be too disctracted by the knowledge that your arms are 2 cm apart on the armrest to pay attention to the plot. The fact that you can catch the other person’s facial expressions out of the corner of your eye is infinitly more interesting than the best-written thriller. It’s only when the relationship has progressed and become more comfortable that you will be able to actually WATCH films together, so don’t even try at this point.

After the movie it’s the same deal- you have built-in coversation topics and the drive home will actually be interesting. Plus, if it went well, there’s always that new blockbuster coming out the next weekend.

So there you have it, movie experiences according to Meghan. I could go on, but I think that that’s a pretty extensive list for one day. Best of luck with all your cinematic adventures and I will see you at the movies.  

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7 responses

22 11 2007
Mother Smith

Well dear I think you have pretty much nailed it!!
In High School I dated a guy who liked to do just as you suggested….dating via the movie theater. I can’t remember one movie we saw, but he always like to go out for pie after. And if you think about it it was cheaper than “dinner and a movie”.

22 11 2007
walkingintherain

He sounds like my kind of guy. Though, I’m really a cake person rather than a pie person.

Thanks for reading my blog! I love you guys!

23 11 2007
sean

Infinitly preferable to sitting in a fancy restaurant where the only things to talk about are white tablecloths and snooty waiters.

If she sounds genuinely thrilled with an upcoming Rocky installment, you might as well get on one knee and propose. That girl is rare and should be held on to.

These are just two of the lines that had me laughing out loud as I read this. Very fun stuff 🙂

By the way, since your such a movie buff, what are your top 5 movies of all time?

23 11 2007
walkingintherain

I’m glad I made you laugh out loud! That is quite literally one of my favorite things about writing this blog. Thanks for the support and you will find the answer to your question above.

23 11 2007
Jennifer James

You forgot the ubiquitous “my sister really is dying to see this movie and no one in KC will go with her, so she had to come all the way out here and go see it at 11 oclock her time, which is 2.3 hours past her regular bedtime, and fight to stay awake through the whole thing.”

I like that kind of movie.

23 11 2007
walkingintherain

What movie was that?!

23 11 2007
Jennifer James

Um! Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix! Duh!

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