Going to the movie theatre isn’t what it used to be. Maybe I’m just old, but the whole experience has lost its magic these days.
I remember standing in long lines to see a movie. Sometimes I would practically be dancing in place as I waited—I was that excited. Once in the auditorium, finding exactly the right seat, seeing the trailers for upcoming features, getting the buttered popcorn just exactly right, sharing the electric buzz that the rest of the audience felt—that’s what movie going is all about.
A few weeks ago, some friends and I went to see The Hobbit. We weren’t late by any means, but the theatre was already packed. I don’t mind that too much; it adds to the thrill, right? When we found our seats, we also found that the kids sitting behind us had apparently never been to a theatre before.
They didn’t realize that kicking the chair in front of you is rude. They had never been taught that talking during a film is frowned upon. They also had never learned how to whisper. They spent the whole three hours anxiously awaiting the appearance of Benedict Cumberbatch. (I’m a fan, too, but I don’t swoon at the mere sighting of his name.) If you’ve seen the movie, you know what frame of mind they were in by the time the credits rolled.
This experience was not an isolated incident, and it didn’t take place at a run-down establishment, either. The floors weren’t sticky. The seats weren’t in disrepair. It is just the way things are now.
Netflix and other services like DirecTV are hearing these complaints and answering. I love watching movies at home, and I’m blessed to have a huge screen for better viewing experiences. I love that I don’t have to hear other people chatting about what’s happening in the movie, or worse—what’s happening in their social life.
Mostly, though, I’m sad that the magic of the theatre is fading into a memory. I like to share those memories with my kids, but it breaks my heart that they can’t share that kind of experience. Change happens. Life goes on.