Grabbed the Wifey this weekend and decided to see the new Ryan Gosling movie, First Man, at the Farmingdale Multiplex. Gosling portrayed Astronaut Neil Armstrong in his quest to become the first man to walk on the moon. The trailer showed vivid scenes of Armstrong’s eye-view of the moonscape as he opened the hatch of the L.E.M and began to descend the steps and into history. There was no doubt in my mind that this was, what I like to call, a “Movie Theatre Movie.”
Some movies are just made for the big screen. If you want to wait and see the new Adam Sandler comedy On Demand, I’m with you. But movies made to take your breath away must be seen in the theatre. Movie theatres are made for big stories that are told not only in words and music, but pictures.
Movie theatres have come a long way in the last few years. Gone are the days of walking into a packed theatre and searching for two open seats together. No more settling for the first row out of desperation, only to have to wear a neck brace for the next few days.
The experience of buying reserved seats online and walking into the theatre at show time, knowing exactly where you are going to sit, is liberating. Reserved seating has eliminated the time-honored tradition of “saving” seats for your dopey friends that haven’t arrived yet.
Not only is the sound better and the projected image spectacular, you get to experience the movie with a room full of people, who are reacting to it at the same time you are. Shrieks of horror or full belly laughs make it a truly communal experience. Back in the ’40s and ’50s, this was what people did on a Saturday night.
I’ve gone back to the theatre recently to see movies like Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters and Jaws when they returned to the big screens in celebration of their release anniversaries. I saw a marathon of all three of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies (almost seven hours) and took my kids to see all the original Star Wars movies on the big screen. I once went solo to a midnight showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark, just because I could. Why would a seemingly rational person do this when these movies are available in his living room at the click of a remote?
Because I love going to the movies.
Please don’t invite me over to watch a newly released movie from your Fire Stick or on some black-market DVD you bought for five dollars. I don’t want to put up with bad audio, or a disclaimer that appears every 15 minutes. I don’t want to be watching the movie, only to have it stop working. If it’s a movie that I want to see, I’ll just go to the theatre, thank you.
After we settled into our comfy, reclining seats and enjoyed the previews, the feature presentation was about to begin. As is customary, the house lights came all the way down and the audience quieted for the show. Instead, a giant image of a quite sincere Ryan Gosling appeared. He reminded us that a movie is made with the help and expertise of hundreds of people and thanked all of us in the audience for choosing to see this movie in a movie theatre. I had never seen anything like that before. The lead actor of a premiering movie, thanking the audience for going to a movie theatre to watch a movie.
Personally, he didn’t have to thank me. I love going to the movies. You just can’t forget the first time you saw the Tyrannosaurus Rex in Jurassic Park, on a 50-foot-high screen, in a theatre full of people, all holding their breath at the same time. It’s what makes going to the movies magical.
So, the next time I don’t answer my cell phone, it isn’t because I’m avoiding you. It’s because I’m off the grid, lost in the world of imagination that only a movie theatre can provide.
Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a 2018 Press Club of Long Island award-winning columnist and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.