Yesterday afternoon we suddenly decided to go to the movies. Why? Because we can, folks. We’re retired!
We’d better enjoy the cinema while we can, though, because for the life of me I can’t imagine how these people stay in business. We arrived to find two people in the theater, and then one more drifted in part way through the previews. Granted, it was Wednesday afternoon and we rarely go on the weekends, so maybe the seats are packed then, but somehow I doubt it. Of course, the latest phenomenon locally of purse snatchers crawling through the dark, empty rows might put be putting a damper on attendance.
A whole generation has grown accustomed to the cheaper choice of staying on the couch and watching their own giant screen. It’s too bad, too, because some movies just ask to be projected into ten foot images. No one is producing movies with the grandeur of Laurence of Arabia any more, but the Oliphaunts in the Lord of the Rings can’t have the same impact on a TV screen.
There’s also the whole suspension-of-disbelief thing. You can’t lose yourself in a story when people are trooping in and out of the room, or calling “Who ate all the chips?” from the kitchen.
I also wonder if people are losing their ability to cooperate with the whole social compact of sitting silently with strangers, showing consideration for someone else. Go to any theater and listen to the repeated reminders, pleas, and warnings about cell phone usage.
The movie we chose was one that required the full darkened-theater, wide-screen experience. Hail Caesar is a delightful homage to (and comment on) the glory days of the cinema. You’ve got your panoramic shots of suffering slaves in the desert, madcap hoofers, and intricate aquatic choreography. And lots of big names, most of whom play against type and come and go, one after the other. It’s just plain fun. Go see it.