If the first thing that comes to mind when asked about your feelings for the movie-going experience is “overpriced snacks” and “rooms that reek of booze and shame,” then congratulations; you might just be the worst person ever. The modern theater may be bogged down with overt commercialism and corporate indifference, but some things just can't be squelched by big-name bullshit, and the essence of going to the movies is one of them. Step back into the past by about 50 years and see if you can't picture the archetype cinema venue: Overlapping tones of rich orange and variations of red and yellow neon stripes and blinking bulbs like stars in the wind-blown sky above the droves of heavily bundled film enthusiasts. Pristine white prisms overlap overhead, adorned with vintage, solid black text, proclaiming the features of the evening. Singing, dancing and stand-up all take a backseat to the blissful escapism of a silver screen, immersed in a comforting, dream-like darkness and hypnotized by a second world projected in front of you.
I recently attended a showing of Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, starring Ryan Gosling. Don't expect any pivotal descriptions of the movie here-- I'm not in the business of spoiling movies, especially ones as fantastic as Drive-- but just know that it has replaced Hanna as the second best film I've seen all summer, creeping up right behind Super 8. Ryan Gosling has, in my opinion, delivered a performance that warrants an Academy Award nomination, and the world will totally implode on itself if that doesn't happen.
But what makes this film special for me personally is that it reminds me very much of Steve McQueen's Bullitt, a film me and my father shared our enthusiasm for; after all, it was one of those classics that every father should show to his son. Watching Drive gave me a film to pass down to my future children, should any survive. Drive has created a modern car chase classic in an age where such a film is in desperate need.
Standing in line sucks, be it at Disney Land, Subway or a public restroom. But something about the columns of people at a theater is inherently different. Maybe it's because you all want the same thing, all of you tied together into mutual friends, if only for a night, and in pursuit of the same goal: To see a kickass movie. There is a reason why there's never been a fight during the Pro Bowl, and that same reason ties into the essence in the air when waiting to purchase a ticket. Some may say that if you piss someone off when in line, you'll never hear the end of it when the movie starts, that one disgruntled individual going out of his way to make the next two hours nothing short of hell, exacting a vendetta against you in the form of an open cup of Coka-Cola going upside your head and all of over your now-ex-girlfriend. But people who are that paranoid have no business in a public place, let alone a theater.
|I'll bet his favorite movie is Shakespeare in Love, the little prick.|
|"Ha Ha-- Oh honey, I wish you could be Renee Zellweger!"|
"And Tom, I'm glad you haven't seen what I'm doing with the man next to me! Popcorn?"
If excitement was a drug, everybody would be too messed up to see by the time a movie started. It's not enough that, when finally seated with your popcorn and Reese's Pieces, you get to see previews of more potentially Earth-shattering blockbusters, giving you and your friends a list of future flicks to see. And once it's over and the room dims, you remember why you're here in the first place, and, if you chose your movie right, you'll be glued to your chair even further. It's a miracle that nobody has a heart attack when in a theater. Oh wait, never mind.
It's a known fact that even if a movie is “iffy,” you'll still be riding a near-mandatory post-movie high when you exit the theater and stumble into the evening air, your legs most likely numb and knock-kneed like a newborn deer after playing boulder for so long. It isn't really until the next day that you actually review the movie without your inner-self screaming “Fuck yeah!” every minute. Maybe you'll sort of regret those five dollars which could have gone towards so many other worthwhile things like...seeds or, like something at Subway (okay, so it today's economy there's not that many practical uses for a fiver.) But that doesn't matter because, it reality, going to the movies is a one-day experience, an experience which will be preserved long after all other physical media is liquidated.
|Gateway Film Center, Columbus OH|
Tom gripes about movies quite a bit, but on his off-days he re-slays the undead alongside Diamond Jack. Learn the tools of the trade (literally) at Jack's Highly Classified Zombie Survival Guide. It isn't considered murder. It's re-retirement.