There was a time where movie theaters were king. Back in the day, any time somebody wanted to see the new talkie, they grabbed the kids, sprayed their hair with pure carcinogens, hopped in their horribly gas inefficient car, and drove to the theater. It was perfect. That is, until the advent of home video came along and knocked theaters of their perch.
The years after home videos arrived spawned better televisions, better audio systems, and higher resolution video formats. In most cases, streaming a movie now is more convenient than a theater, with little to no loss in quality of video or audio. However, many movie loyalists that would argue the theater is still the best way to enjoy movies.
I first encountered this idea through movie review channels on YouTube. Before this, I’d never considered anything other than the content of the movie would be a part of the movie watching experience. But after I got a driver’s license and got to watch movies in theaters more often, I began to think the same. Going to a theater to see a new movie was a way to connect with friends, and it was always exciting to hypothesize what would happen in the movie during the dreaded trailers. It was an event, something for my group to get together for, even a subject to discuss when we hung out afterwards. There is something about watching a big event with other people that isn’t replicated through Netflix on the couch.
I still feel this way, and as a cinema major, it is a relevant argument in the movie world. I see it most when discussing film with people who don’t watch a lot of movies. There are many young people who are perfectly content staying at home, and generally these people don’t really care about movies beyond the occasional Marvel movie or something to turn on for noise while they do their homework.
I think this commonplace makes me feel included in a group of people that has more than a passing interest in movies. Peers that feel the same as I do when it comes to movie theaters are people I can trust to talk to about movie recommendations or upcoming films. There’s a part of my identity connected to movies, and I take pride in enjoying them in a theater environment.