It’s October 21, 2015, and I’m sitting in a dimmed theater with my friends, Chris and Hali, counting down the minutes until the screen will light up with our feature presentation. My only focus is on the next four hours…and the guy three rows down who decided to wear an orange vest and keeps talking about the DeLorean he’s repairing in his mom’s garage.
AMC was showing a “Back to the Future” trilogy marathon on the day Marty McFly went back in time, to the day the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series. I remember the adrenaline racing through my body as the opening credits began to play, the sound my straw made as it grazed the bottom of the cup for any trace of Cherry Vanilla Coke left. I thought, “Wow, is this how movies are supposed to make you feel? If it is, why doesn’t everyone come to the theater?”
With so many ways to download and subscribe, theater seats are collecting dust and losing audiences to the convenience of streaming and staying home. But, I refuse to let the bigwigs at Tubi TV and 123Movies win.
Whether it’s re-watching a classic like “Dirty Dancing,” or experiencing the opening weekend of “Jurassic World,” going to the movies should remain a distinct and glorious pleasure. The distractions of everyday life—especially constantly updated group chats and lawn mowers—are gone. Here are seven reasons to head down to the local movie theater this weekend (or tonight), put your feet on the headrest of the person in front of you like an annoying asshole and experience the magic of pure, uninterrupted storytelling.
1. BOOZE. Now I’ve Got Your Attention.
The time has finally come when you can get buzzed (or plastered) while watching a movie. Of course, many moviegoers have been sneaking alcohol for years; as a film-crew employee, I’ve cleaned up my fair share of miniature vodka bottles. But now, liquor is available for purchase at hundreds of theaters across the country.
AMC Theaters has upgraded many of their facilities in recent years with MacGuffins Bars and Lounges, allowing guests to “Sip Some Showtime Fun” during their experience. They have a vast selection of beer, wine and specialty cocktails, often themed to represent current blockbusters playing that weekend. Their latest creation, the Gauntlet, is inspired by the newest DC hit “Wonder Woman.” The cocktail combines cherry-pomegranate grenadine, homemade lemonade, vodka and blue curacao.
2. FOOD, Need I Say More?
People love complaining about movie-theater food prices. They aren’t wrong; food prices rise constantly, but the issue is that no one stops to think, “Why?” Movie theaters make almost no money off ticket sales; those profits go directly back to the production companies. The only revenue for months is concession sales, which keeps their prices consistently high.
Theaters have combatted the high prices by offering a variety of new, delicious options for their guests. They still offer the traditional popcorn, soda, nachos and a variety of candies, but many have also added hot dinner options like burgers and chicken tenders. They’ve also incorporated healthier options into their menus, like pretzels with hummus, herbal teas and sliced veggies.
Or, just bring your own. There’s no shame in sneaking a box of Milky Ways in the waistband of your underwear. I feel you.
3. Avoid Spoilers and Be the First
Don’t get caught up by the social media haters who want to spill every juicy detail about the latest theater finds. Go out and experience the film for yourself and form your own opinions. If there’s an especially intriguing movie, see it on opening night. Award yourself bragging rights by being the first to see it and share your opinions loudly and proudly.
I especially love the previews/trailers before the feature presentation. While I’m so sick of Maria Menounos and her First Look, the following trailers offer an inside perspective on what’s coming to theaters. It’s the perfect time to unwrap your Airhead Bites and become a movie critic.
4. Support What and Who You Love
If you enjoy a particular director, actor or film franchise, watch it in the cinema. It’s no secret that tickets are expensive, but they can drop to incredibly reasonable prices if you know the right times to go. Or, just do what I do and date someone who works there so you get free tickets.
In Hollywood, the success or failure of a film is heavily, if not solely, reliant on its performance in the theater. No producer is going to care about or even see your glowing movie review on your blog; they care about one thing—box office gross statistics. Be heard with your dollars; let the hotshots in Hollywood know what you loved and what you wished had never been made. If you don’t, theaters will get coated in crap rom-coms and low budget, half-ass horror flicks. I really can’t live through another “Pixels” or “Bad Santa 2.”
5. Film Is Made For the Big Screen
As convenient as it may be, James Cameron did not intend for you to experience “Avatar” on your phone while waiting for your sister’s soccer practice to end. Movies are made to be watched in the theater.
While the prospect of a warm bed and bowl of Doritos might be inviting, filmmakers envision audiences experiencing their creations in the setting of a darkened theater, accompanied by a surround sound speaker system. When the DeLorean hit eighty-eight miles per hour in “Back to the Future,” would you really see some serious shit if you were watching on your measly Sony, forty-inch screen?
6. Get Off Your Ass and Be Cultured
Sorry, but in my opinion, people who download movies illegally have about as much cultural sophistication as Lindsey Lohan’s laundry hamper. There’s a world beyond your couch and computer screen, just get out of your house and experience it.
Sitting in front of a screen that’s not your own can be refreshing, and the prospect of never having to worry about a poor connection or buffering is a wondrous feeling.
7. Experience Movie Magic
It’s cliché, but the “magic of the movies” really exists. I fall in love with movies over and over again, in red recliner seats with a Cherry Vanilla Coke sandwiched between my thighs. Every decision, from where to sit to how much butter to slather on my popcorn, is meaningful and precise.
Movies are relentless, powerful and unapologetic. You are surrounded by a support network of fans, critics and occasionally a guy who wandered in because his ride was late. The entire theaters’ reaction breathes new life into the film, from the shocked silence after a suspenseful climax to a sigh of relief at its resolution. You laugh together, hold your breath together and live together.