I read something recently which began something like, “Do you remember when you first saw…?” (fill in the blank with a title of a movie). This got me to thinking. Movies used to be community events. I’m not the first to notice this, but your community would wait (especially if it wasn’t especially urban) until a hyped up movie came to a local theater. Everyone would see it and it was all that they’d talk about for days. The internet makes all of that rather obsolete. Even the part where you were the less popular sort who had to wait for the film to be shown on television to get in on the fun. You can set up an account to see the movie at home while those who aren’t afraid of Covid go to the theater. Or you may be like me—so busy that years pass before you get to it. Hopelessly behind.
There is definitely a benefit to being able to catch a movie you missed at the theater when it’s convenient to do so. You might be a bit late to the party, though. And, depending on your tastes, you may be watching the movie alone. I can’t recall having ever gone to a theater alone until recent years. Once when my wife was away, pre-pandemic, I went to a local theater to catch the latest Annabelle movie. Since I’m an early person the theater was pretty empty—at least one guy and his girlfriend, or a girl and her boyfriend, depending, were there with me. Maybe a couple others I didn’t know. Nobody to talk it over with. Like bowling alone, I suppose. The last movie I saw in a theater, The Conjuring 3, I was literally the only one there.
I did recall the first time I’d seen the movie in the article. I was watching with headphones on, sitting in my bedroom. Sometimes it’s the living room. I do recall my reaction, which is, after all, what the article is about. Still, it was a movie that was watched without discussion, without seeing the reactions of others. Watching it was, nevertheless, an enjoyable enough experience. An intellectual one, even. But as a former teacher I still have this haunting sense that if there’s no-one with whom to exchange information, remembering that first time becomes somewhat muted. I suppose that’s why I keep this blog going. I can interact with others on the internet and, collectively, recall seeing our movies together. Attempt to be part of the discussion.