Thursday, 11 March 2010

Take Me to the Pictures

Is venturing to the cinema still an event or do too many of us now take it for granted?


  1. Ah, how I miss the drive-in. There is one back in my home town that stands just about the same as it did the day it was build except they don't use speakers anymore they have their own radio station, but the poles where the speakers used to be still remain. It's a flawed place to see movies, the screen was designed to accomidate fullscreen movies so when you go there today you can watch some of the movie reflected on the trees of either side of the screen, but I wouldn't want it any other way.

  2. Hiya Mike,

    I was being more 'symbolic' in regards to my choice of image, as in do we take going to the cinema for granted nowadays - does it generate the same level of excitement for as many as it once did?is it an event or merely part of the general routine?...but then I didn't really make any of this clear did i?!:)

    Out of interest, do you have any specific film memories from the drive-in?..seen any particular classics, blockbusters, bad films?

  3. Ha, I'm a writer at heart and a stickler for the details so asking me a question like that maybe keep me here all day. The town in question is Hanover, Ontario. My hometown is Walkerton, ON, about 15 minutes away. It was my last summer between high school and university and me and my then girlfriend decided we just needed to see Spider-Man 2 at the Hanover Paramount Theater. It played to a packed house (it's only one screen, small and still uses, oh my god, real film projection!). After that we decided that we would go see movies every week despite whether we wanted to see them or not. So we'd go to the theater for cheap night on Tuesday and hit up a double feature at the drive-in on Sunday nights. It was great fun. I remember one time, for reasons unknown, we locked our doors going to the concession stand and returned to discover the keys were locked in the car. We had to wait by the gate for my dad to drive a spare set over to us. I also used to love their all-nighters on Sunday nights of long weekends where you got four movies for 10 bucks (Canadian). Those were the days. Now I live in Toronto, go to school and can't afford the time or money to go to the theater as much as I would like to. It's tragic really.

  4. Haha well your anecdotes are very welcome here anytime

    Lovely story, thoughts on the Spider-Man series (we can skip number 3 if you like!)?

    And is Toronto as good as many people say it is or do you find yourself missing the more laid-back (I assume) towns of Ontario?

  5. Considering how poorly the economy is doing, many families are going to the movies more now. Sure, ticket prices has soared in the past few years, but it's a better economic alternative than spending hundreds or thousands of dollars for a vacation.

    But as whether or not moviegoing is still an event, it depends on the movie. Some are definitely event movies and some are just ones people take for granted.

    I still consider moviegoing as a event, though. I don't go too often, but I love to go. Once every two months or go I'd go to the movies and I'm usually pretty excited, even though I'm not too excited for the film (I go with my teenage friends; do the math).

    Avatar was an event. I personally didn't dig it (and I saw it months later), but a lot of people saw it on opening night and it raked in billions of dollars worldwide.

    I saw The Dark Knight the afternoon of its released. Loved Batman Begins. That was certainly an event for me, at least.

    But I'd say most people take it for granted. They go every week. And they just don't treasure the experience anymore.

    Interesting discussion, though.

  6. weirdly, i find it to be an event when i go alone, but not with others..

  7. You summed it up nicely Marcy - alot of people just go because there's little else to do in their towns or they're just 'bored' (dirty word) but I suppose at least people are going - it's better than nothing...

    To fund all these interesting auteurs and indie projects, we need the blockbusters to do well but then their (increasingly) shoddy quality is proving a bad influence over pop culture or maybe i'm being a tad cynical..but it seems for every Avatar or Dark Knight, there are a few Transformers 2/Twilights/Saws...

    Interesting perspective Kid - I suppose when you're alone, your thoughts obviously become alot more intensely focused on the film in question, thus it becomes an event?

    But then again, going with friends can become a great shared experience and an event or is it just one part of an evening out for you and your friends?

  8. Interesting discussion that has started here. Personally I cherish going to the theater. If I had the time and money I'd see every movie in the theater. That's how films were made to be seen. I like going and being immersed in the screen and not worrying about anything else for the length of the running time, whereas at home there are constant distractions.

    Also, I agree that there needs to be blockbusters in order to fund indie films, it's just unfortunate that blockbuster has become sort of a dirty word, especially recently with the quality going down with every passing week. The only problem with this though is that it's sort of a catch-22 in that blockbusters may get the indies made, but they also propel studios to churn out more and more blockbusters. If you followed it, the story about the UK theaters almost boycotting Alice in Wonderland is an interesting one because they thought it would be no loss to them because they have more 3D movies lined up than they have screens to play them on.

    I once used this quote in one of my posts (I've forgotten which one) but George Lucas once said that multiplexs were the future of movies because now you could go and see a big film and smaller ones all at the same place when in reality, although this is sometimes the case, the opposite has happened where studios are simply churning out more movies than ever before to ensure that they are filling up as many of those screens as possible every week. That's one of the reasons why big movies have gotten so horrible: they're safe bets, thrown together lazily, that don't make time to take risks.

    But I think I've gotten off course a bit here. Yes I think movies still are events if the movie is good enough to rise to that level (I suspect Iron Man 2 might), and I still get excited for the big summer tentpole movies and still hold out hope that they will get better as gimmicks like 3D will wear off. Maybe Avatar will show filmmakers that character and story still do matter.

    P.S. Spider-Man 2 is still my favourite comic book movie although Dark Knight came close to dethroning it.

  9. I completely agree Mike...if I had the time and money, I would visit the cinema most days of the week.

    It's a lovely escape, although curiously enough, influenced by the right type of film (subject-wise and quality), one is able to consider and face up to one's 'real life' issues more than one does outside the cinema.