Today is my partner’s thirty-ninth birthday. We never do too much for his birthdays, really, in part because he’s simply not a social person and never has been. And that’s okay; he doesn’t have to be, I suppose. (I think he’s a little beyond healthy, but that’s a different conversation that I won’t be having here.) But something we might have done, in a different time, was go to a movie. It’s something we routinely did for celebrations, even after the kids were born, simply because it was an easy thing to do that didn’t require much more than figuring out a babysitter. For now, though, we and everyone else are missing that simple enchantment.
But what else would you call it? You walk through a door and are transported into another world. That’s magic even if we know how it’s done. I can and do watch movies at home, but it’s not the same. Even last night, when I watched Working Girl in the dark after the kids had gone to bed, it still wasn’t quite as easy to slip into the movie’s world. In a theatre, there are fewer distractions. It’s a special place. All it exists for is to be a portal.
I do not believe there is One True Way To Watch A Movie. There are dozens, hundreds—maybe as many ways as there are people. Honestly, I believe everyone has more than one way. Because I love watching a movie in the theatre, but I also love watching an old favourite with friends who can laugh and point out details we’ve missed. I love sharing movies with my kids, watching their new reactions to things I’ve loved for years. But I’ve lost several of those in this time, and I would be sad to lose yet another.
I read someone yesterday talking about how the theatrical experience is unsustainable because the theatres have to overcharge ridiculously for concessions in order to pay their bills. And goodness knows I could write a lot about how Hollywood accounting is causing problems. Because there’s such emphasis on movies’ doing well in their first week, the week where the studios get almost all of ticket sales. And that harms the theatres. It’s depressing, really, that the industry seems determined to drive itself into the ground.
Right now, we are staying at home and staying safe, and I’m watching Anne of Green Gables on DVD instead of watching whatever was supposed to be on the big screen right now—I’ve honestly forgotten. But, yes, I’m looking forward to the day when we can buy our ticket, walk down that hallway and into that door, and sit down to be transported into another world.