There is nothing like being immersed in the pitch black darkness of the movie theater. The plush red seats, the smears of butter on your fingers as you dive in for more popcorn, the feeling of complete anxiety when you have to pee right at the climax of the movies. Nothing compares. And it saddens me to think that in this day and age more and more people shy away from this truly unequivocal experience to simply stay at home. For reasons that I could only assume. Maybe out of cheapness, to save a few dollars or laziness, to not have to get up off the couch or merely, a lack of sentimentality.
To me, that is what the movie theater is, a place of nostalgia. A place to get lost. Lost in the film you are seeing, lost in the characters lives, lost in time, lost in space. The movie theater so uniquely creates this feeling of the thrill of an adventure mixed with a sense of complete serenity.
As your eyes are engulfed by the larger-than-life screen in front of you, it feels as if there was no past and no future, only the present moment. Whatever worries about that stupid thing you said in class the day before or what homework is due tomorrow fades away as the opening credits advance on that amazing screen. There is only the present, living moment to moment with the characters in the story.
That awareness of being that a movie theater creates cannot be replicated anywhere except in the presence of that magical screen. It is surely not something that a television screen at home can recreate, it is most definitely not something that a mere laptop screen can come close to replacing.
Now, do not get me wrong I still do the late-night 2 A.M. Netflix laptop-on-the-bed binge watch sessions (a mouthful, I know), but those are run-of-the-mill nights reserved for whatever latest series caught my eye. The two situations are incomparable to one another because the experiences they create are unequal in every way possible. The only thing they truly have in common is that you are both watching something and that is about it.
The last movie I saw in theaters was Luca Guadagnino's "Call Me By Your Name" right before Christmas and right after the New Year. Each time the ticket cost 12 dollars exactly, I paid in exact cash because it is a sin to not pay in cash if there is no change involved.
Each time I brought my own water bottle but bought popcorn. Each time I sat through the movie in awe, cherishing each moment on that gargantuan screen, lost in time, lost in space. Both times, as the movie ended and the credits rolled on the screen there was a collective silence in the theater, a simple moment of connection between me and everyone else in there.
Knowing we had just gone through a whole story together, that for one moment in time we were able to live these different lives with these different characters. A collective knowing that it was only in a setting like a movie theater that this experience could have happened. At the late night, double-feature picture show.